Welcome to YDWA: Benton-Franklin Young Democrats! They became an official chapter of the Young Democrats of Washington March 2013. If live in either Benton or Franklin County and want to get involved email them at BentonFranklinYoungDemocrats@
“We became organized back in March and started with a kick off party. The first participation we had was taking part in a forum on immigration. We joined the discussion and focused on visibility of our group. We ramped up the visibility by taking part of the local Cinco de Mayo celebration. We took some big hits over the summer by losing our Chair at the start and then our Finance Director and Communications Director throughout the rest of the summer. We had to focus on growing our group but still managed to volunteer at many events.
We had a great time participating in Mid-Columbia Pride in July! We marched in the parade and then staffed a table with information about our group and free candy and pens. Benton Franklin Young Democrats then participated in the “Hope for the Homeless” event that helped connect homeless people with services available to them in this area. We were also one of the founders of the Coalition for Affordable Healthcare here that did many events to promote the Affordable Care Act, culminating in a very successful Rally for Affordable Healthcare to celebrate the launch of the ACA. We helped out with the campaigns of Democrats running in local elections (There were just two and both were in nonpartisan races), and were happy to report that both of them won!
We had a Thanksgiving potluck with special guest Richard Reuther. He was running an exploratory committee to be the 4th CD candidate and run again Doc Hastings in 2014. The meeting allowed us to discuss with him and his campaign the issues we saw as important to the young people in our district. We were given an opportunity to have a fundraiser at a local Democrat event but instead decided that we could use the opportunity to raise money for a local charity. We are looking forward to presenting Elijah Family Homes, an organization that provides support and housing for people recovering from addictions, with the donation as our way of giving back this Holiday Season. Throughout the year we also participated in everything the Benton County Democrats, Franklin County Democrats, and Tri-City Democrats took part in. This included their fundraisers (like the Harvest and Holiday parties), community events (like the Benton-Franklin Fair), celebrations (like the annual All Democrat Picnic), and volunteer sessions (like with Habitat for Humanity). We have maintained a presence at every meeting of any kind of Democrat group in the area and will continue to do so in the future.
In many ways this first year has been a tough year and we had many more ideas we wanted to accomplish that did not come to be, but it was still a great year for us. We really wanted to put on an education forum last fall but had to postpone it. We look forward to putting it on next summer and establishing Young Democrat group at our 3 local colleges (Columbia Basin College, Heritage University, and WSU Tri-Cities). This area of the state is very conservative and we understand that to change that is going to take a lot of hard work but we are up to the challenge!”