Meet Your Candidates for the 2022 YDWA Elections

The Full List

In alphabetical order, by position:

YDWA President

Andrew Mark Carlos
Matt Kanter
Vlada Palanciuc

YDWA Executive Vice President

Nick CastroLang

Vice President of Communications

Stephanie Powers

Vice President of Events & Education

Tanya Lavoy

Vice President of Government Affairs

Paul Charbonneau
Vlada Palanciuc

Vice President of Membership Engagement

Matthew R. Lang

Vice President of Operations

Winter Cashman

Vice President of Technology

Rachid Erekaini

National Committee Representative (non-female gender identity)

Arne Nelson

Eastern Region Director

KJ January

Candidate Statements


Andrew Mark Carlos

Andrew Mark Carlos candidate photo

My fellow Young Democrats,

My name is Andrew Mark Carlos. I am a community organizer and proud Democrat asking for your vote for your next President of the Young Democrats of Washington! As a D.A.C.A. Recipient who is active in our political process, I know how it feels to be pushed aside, but I’ve proved them wrong with the support of my chapter here in Spokane County and that is the support I want YDWA to bring to every chapter and member across Washington State under my Presidency.

YDWA used to be a toxic environment for people who looked like me and live in my part of the State. As your President, I will make sure that we make institutional changes to fix that so that all Young Democrats in our State will thrive!

I have the leadership experience to bring meaningful reform to our organization.

Currently I serve as

  • the Young Democrats of America – Pacific Region Deputy Director
  • on the Washington State Democratic State Central Committee 
  • the Spokane County Democrats Board Secretary
  • Spokane County Young Democrats’ Co-Chair
  • YDWA’s outgoing Vice President of Communications (appointed)

I see the lack of communication in YDWA as an institutional problem. You only interact with who you know and we need to make sure that everyone is informed and takes part in the conversation. 

As your President, I will change that by:

  • Visiting all chapters at least once a year which will be the first time in our 90 year history. As an Eastern Washingtonian, I think that that is a problem!! I want us to fully support the College Democrats and the High School Democrats by helping their recruitment, voter registration efforts and programming on campuses
  • I also want to ensure that YDWA can finance any ambitious projects our chapters want to pursue by properly filing with the PDC, so we can fundraise and receive funds from campaign surpluses and Democratic leaning organizations. This includes fundraising for the 2023 YDA Las Vegas Convention! I also want to increase our $2,000 statewide operational budget to $500,000 by the time I finish my Presidency. No one should miss out based on their income level! We joined the Young Democrats to advance ourselves and I will make sure that your time is worth it!
  • I promise to help all our chapters with chapter building by bringing YDWA closer to the rest of the Young Democrats of America and make use of their valuable resources like the Chapter in a Box! We must also reach out to local and State organizations here in Washington State so that they can help us recruit the leaders of tomorrow, today!

Should I get the honor to serve as your President, it will take every one of us to fulfil this ambitious agenda I have set out. I will need your ideas, your lived experience and your support to make real and meaningful change over the next two years that works for all of us!

Matt Kanter

Matt Kanter candidate photo

In Democratic politics you hear a lot of value statements. Politicians and Organizations on our side will say things like “I stand with this”, “I believe in this”, statements from people who are supposed to support us. It’s not the party or candidates, these statements come from organizations we’re a part of.I want to ask you, when was the last time you got a value proposition?

A value proposition means someone is working to deliver something of value to you, experience, growth, equity, not in vague concepts, but in actual deliverables. Some of us get from our chapters, some don’t, and some don’t have a chapter anymore. I think it’s time that the Young Democrats of Washington made a proposition to you. Justifying why our organization is worth your time.

This comes at a time when the supreme court is currently drafting up the logic to take away rights from women and female bodied individuals, and creating a logical framework that will be used to take away rights from every community. Everything we do in politics has to have meaning and impact now more than ever, we can no longer afford empty promises.

I am someone with disabilities, mental health conditions, has experienced antisemitism, and didn’t complete my BA untill this year. Young Dems was the one space where I could be as qualified as anyone else. I had the opportunity to run endorsements, board meetings, serve on a coordinating committee for a state convention, and lead innovations on virtual programming during the pandemic. In my seven years with the Young Democrats, that’s what helped me move from a tele-salesman, to the director of programs and education at a statewide nonprofit. Those skills and experience are what brought me to where I am today. It is my pledge to you to bring opportunities like these to more Washingtonians than ever before.

We’ll work to break past fundraising ceilings and create innovative programs to train our peers. By working to bring programs like these to our organization we can create opportunity statewide, and develop the leaders who will take over as party leaders, elected officials, and professionals who’ll bring us to the progressive future we need. We can’t guarantee these will all happen tomorrow, but the work starts today.

As a two-term chapter chair, former mayoral appointee to the Seattle Disability Commission, and someone who’s served on various other committees; I understand the difference between people who have the title, and the people who do the work. I have demonstrated throughout my time I’m willing to do the work to create opportunities, I’m not just in this for the title

Everyone running for board this year is exceptional and as we restart after our loss of chapters during the pandemic, we will move towards progress. I want to connect with you. Please email me directly at, thank you for being a part of this movement, and I look forward to what we will create together.

Vlada Palanciuc

Young Dems of WA should be a linkage between people interested in political issues and the tangible ways they can get involved in shaping those issues. I’m particularly excited to use government engagement as an avenue for increasing participation from young dems in the Washington area who might not have a local chapter to affiliate with or may want to get involved in politics but may be hesitant to join a formal organization like young dems of wa. By providing opportunities for engagement via working with local lawmakers, providing information about current legislative issues, and even resources for engaging in these activities independently, will increase the amount of people wanting to be part of young dems. Having been the Vice President of High School Dems of WA, I learned the importance of having structure in different levels of organization. I am excited to increase how closely we work with the local chapters we already have, expand the number of local chapters, and provide more opportunities for engagement to members that don’t affiliate with any local chapter.

Executive Vice President

Nick CastroLang

My name is Nick CastroLang and I am asking for your vote to be the next Executive Vice President for the Young Democrats of Washington. I’ve been involved with the party since 2008. I know if we want to make the lasting changes we need, we need leadership dedicated to building community together.

My extensive campaign, nonprofit and public service experience has given me the necessary skills to help lead YDWA. Whether it was on the Obama campaign in 2008 as a recent high school graduate, my degree in political science or my 5 years in public health as a local health district employee, I have the necessary training and skills to navigate these difficult times. During the pandemic our local Spokane County Young Democrats become Chapter of the Year in back to back years for YDWA. One of those years, I was the Chair of the organization.

Now as a father of a 2 year old who is a type 1 diabetic and a 7 year old, headed into 2nd grade and depends on our great public school system, I know that Democrats and Progressive leaders are the only ones willing to fight for policies that make my children and many other children’s lives better. Whether it is capping the cost of insulin or standing up to right wing conservatives who want to ban books, Progressives and Democrats are fighting back. I believe YDWA has a huge role to play and I would love the opportunity to help lead YDWA into a better future for us all.

Thank you for reading my statement and being a part of the Young Democrats of Washington. I hope to work with you in the next chapter of this organization, whatever the context. I also know if we build a strong community, we can build a foundation that will lead YDWA into a future of strength and power to accomplish whatever we set our minds to. Let’s do this together.

Vice President of Communications

Stephanie Powers

Stephanie Powers candidate photo

Hello everyone! My name is Stephanie Powers and I am running for VP of Communications of the Young Democrats of Washington. You may remember me from the 2019 YDWA convention where I was 6 months pregnant and cried on the microphone in front of everyone! I have since then had that baby and another. Which is one of the reasons why I have chosen to run! I want a better party and future for mine and everyone’s children. And for ourselves! At a time like this, it is important that us as Democrats convey the message that we will not back down and we will fight for the rights of peers and beyond. To relay our message and provide resources via social media would be an honor and privilege I would not take lightly. We need to be vocal in our opposition and social media is a huge tool to use for that. I am very well versed in Twitter and Facebook, and I’m even getting into TikTok thanks to my younger friends! All of these platforms have been instrumental in conveying a unified message and I welcome the challenge of navigating that. As someone who has managed people for over a decade, and am currently the mom to two young children, I have the skills to pull together a cohesive and effective vision to present to the masses. It is extremely important that we do not sit on the sidelines during this time as our reproductive rights are in jeopardy. As the transgender community is under constant attack. As the systemic racism in every facet of our country’s foundations continues to destroy the lives of black and brown communities. I would be relentless in the fight for all of these causes, and would manage a team to feel the same. I believe in our fight, and it has been, and would be as VP of communications, one of my highest priorities. As a mother, activist, friend, and human being, it is the only choice I have. I can promise that to all of you.

Vice President of Events & Education

Tanya Lavoy

Tanya Lavoy candidate photo

My name is Tanya Lavoy (she/her), and I am running for Vice President of Events & Education to bring my depth of experience to YDWA. I would bring a unique perspective to this role having served as a former candidate for city council, campaign staffer for a state senate race, and current legislative staffer. I am also a Precinct Committee Officer (PCO), Emerge alum, a member of the King County Young Democrats. As a PCO, I’ve knocked doors and made phone calls to help flip and maintain the 5th LD state house seats and 8th Congressional District. I’ll bring that same dedication and enthusiasm to this role.

As a former candidate and campaign staffer, I have a deeper understanding of what sorts of trainings and speakers might be effective, especially for young folks considering running for office. As a legislative staffer, I also have insight into how Olympia works and policy actually gets passed. I have had the opportunity to build relationships across the state with a variety of elected officials, official and campaign staffers, local party leaders, and advocates. I plan to use those relationships to help empower other Young Democrats.

I currently serve as the First Vice Chair and Membership Chair for the 5th District Democrats. In that role I have helped plan and run meetings and events in a virtual environment, including chairing meetings as needed. I also helped set up a Discord server for our younger (and young at heart) members to help build community within that organization. I recognize the tech tools that we now have at our disposal to better stay connected remotely and to improve accessibility, but also the need for in-person interactions when possible.

This role would require working closely with other Executive Board members on shared projects and I am ready to jump in as needed to help get things done. I am finishing up the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program at The Evergreen State College, so I have a firm background with backcasting, SWOT analysis, and dealing with differing leadership styles in a team setting.

I am looking forward to the opportunity to engage and educate Young Democrats across the state!

Vice President of Government Affairs

Paul Charbonneau

Paul Charbonneau candidate photo

Here are my goals as your VP of Government Affairs:

  • Create and maintain an organized Bill Tracker for YDWA members to actively view and provide feedback on.
  • Create a networking program for various YDWA members to meet and have coffee with their legislators and local elected officials to demystify networking for Young Dems and have electeds hear from more Young Dems.
  • Continue the lobbying partnership between YDWA and Washington Low-Income Housing Alliance.
  • Expand to build a lobbying partnership between YDWA and the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
  • Boldly communicate our platform to elected leaders across the state to both build relationships and apply pressure on legislation when necessary

I’m thrilled to bring my unique experience and connections to the Vice President of Government Affairs role and lead effective lobbying efforts for YDWA! I’ve already committed to work with the outgoing board member in this position and make the transition as smooth as possible.

I currently serve as a Councilmember in the City of Newcastle, work full-time as a political fundraiser for a progressive fundraising firm, and sit on the National Alliance on Mental Illness’s Washington state public policy committee.

As a leader of lobbying efforts for a branch of the largest mental health nonprofit in the country – I train a diverse group of people with an array of lived mental health experiences to lobby their legislators. I also work diligently to set our policy platform and strategize on which focal points will move the needle on improving our mental health system.

I’m ready day one to plan an effective lobby day and work with Young Democrats from every part of our party’s “big umbrella” – teaching them how to effectively advocate for the issues that disproportionately affect young people.

As a 25 year-old and the youngest elected in King County – I raise my voice in rooms full of older electeds and fight every council meeting and regional committee to make sure the concerns of young people are not ignored. I’ve become a de facto advocate for young people in government by being the only young voice at the table, and I’ve embraced every part of that role. I’m proud to have championed creating an AAPI commission in my city, affordable housing reform, tenant protections, and improved working conditions with unionized labor for Newcastle city-staff.

I’m eager to apply my experience advocating for young people to a larger scale on the YDWA board. I’ve actively engaged with YDWA over the last two years, and some of you were able to hear my passion for this work as I spoke and represented the Washington chapter at the 2022 National YDA Conference. As a certified mental health peer counselor, I work diligently to lead by listening. I’ll work hard to listen to you and Young Democrats across our state, and represent our shared values boldly in all aspects of Government Affairs.

Vlada Palanciuc

(statement above)

Vice President of Membership Engagement

Matthew R. Lang

Matthew R. Lang candidate photo

Hello friends,

As your current VP of Government Affairs. I am proud of the work I’ve done in this role, and I can’t wait to support the new VP of Government Affairs in building on it.

My focus is shifting though. The pandemic has been hard for everyone, especially young people. We have seen our chapters hit hard by the challenges of virtual organizing. We’ve seen negative mental health affects on our members, and waning capacity as we all fight to survive in this ever-changing world. It’s time for us to reset and move forward as an organization: together.

I am drawn to this role because of my 5 years experience as the Lead Organizer of the Transit Riders Union. My job was to ensure that all of our members were being outreached and engaged, and that new members were being brought into the fold. In my time at TRU, I helped the organization grow from 150 to nearly 500 dues paying members who regularly participate in phone banks, outreach, canvas days, fundraisers, socials, and campaigns.

My mission as your next Vice President of Membership Engagement is the following:

  1. Re-connect across all existing chapters and chapters that have not re-chartered during the pandemic, and aid in the expansion beyond the current 6 chapters.
  2. Build sustainable communication infrastructure that ensures continued engagement with and by our members, and reduces the barriers to participation.
  3. Shepherd new chapters through the on-boarding process into the YDWA structure.

I will make trips across the state in order to learn from chapters about the issues each individual one faces. I will work with chapters to create their own individualized success plan, and make vital connections across chapters that are dealing with similar issues. In this way, we can collaborate and support each other. There is nothing that anyone has to do alone, especially when many of us are facing the same challenges. This includes reaching out to chapters that have become unchartered during the pandemic, and bringing them back into the fold.

I’ll meet people where they are at, and find out how to best communicate with them. I’ll work to combat the historical problems with intra-organizational communication in YDWA. We have communication happening across a wide variety of mediums, many of which are inaccessible to our membership. I’ll consolidate our efforts and move us forward post-pandemic.

Young Democrats should be a powerful force throughout WA. I am currently working on outreach to build a new Yakima County Chapter. My eyes are set on working with Region Directors to grow more chapters in rural areas that often receive less attention.

Success in these goals is paramount to the health and longevity of our organization. I believe we can attain them. Thank you for taking the time to check out my campaign materials, and I hope to earn your vote so that we can continue building together through YDWA.

With love,
Matthew Lang

Vice President of Operations

Winter Cashman

Winter Cashman candidate photo

I am running for Vice President of Operations because I carry the experience and values to excel in this position. Since joining the 11th Legislative District Democrats in 2019, I have taken on leadership positions ranging from the WSDCC to the “fun committee”, an event coordinator position for putting together social events for the LD and encouraging participation in local events for outreach. I also am a founding member and current Vice President for the Renton LGBTQIA+ Community where I have been in charge of putting together membership meetings, regular social events for our members, as well as an annual Pride event working with local businesses and government to celebrate queer communities.

My core values are queer liberation, dismantling white supremacy & settler-colonialism, and democracy, which I work everyday at pushing for in myself, my community, and this nation. Putting together inclusive events, and an inclusive organization, requires us to carry these convictions, willingness to be critical of ourselves, and openness to new ideas especially from under-served and marginalized communities. My values and experience will help drive success in this position; can I count on your support?

Vice President of Technology

Rachid Erekaini

Rachid Erekaini candidate photo

Hello WA Young Dems,

My name is Rachid Erekaini and I ask for your support in serving our org as Vice President for Technology.

I’m relatively new to YDWA, but I’ve been active for the last two years with LD48 Dems (serving on the E-Board and LD’s Endorsement Committee) and also currently serve as the At Large Director for East King County for KCYD. Outside of party politics, I also currently serve on the Redmond Human Services Commission.

While I’ve spent the last 4 years working in the tech industry (currently working at Meta in Seattle), I spent most of my early career out of college working in Democratic politics, spending time interning and working as a session aide in Olympia. I’m passionate about helping engage Young Dems and growing our capacity from a tech-standpoint to be more impactful in supporting progressive causes and candidates.

I’m seeking this position as a way to do that work. I want to continue my work helping engage young Democrats in our state and put my career experience in tech and product management to work for Young Dem organizations at the state level, especially in places outside of King County.

If elected, I promise to do my best to be “bridge-builder” for organizations and the way we utilize tech to help prevent burnout when it comes to setting up and running chapters, as well as being a connector to resources and helping other E-Board initiatives where I can. I’ll always be responsive and follow through on commitments I make to the organization.

Thank you and I’m really looking forward to working with you all in some capacity this year!

National Committee Representative (non-female gender identity)

Arne Nelson

Arne Nelson candidate photo

I have competently served the Young Democrats of Washington for 3 years on the national committee. I started by serving as proxy to two national meetings before being formally elected.

I have built a network of connections and influence that spans the country. I am glad to bring this network to bear for YDWA.

As the longest continually serving board member I shall continue to share my institutional knowledge with the rest of the board and support new members as they take on board roles for the first time.

Last year Shayna and I worked hard to bring the largest delegation to a YDA convention in over a decade. We ensured that a person’s ability to attend wasn’t impacted by a lack of financial resources.

I was confirmed last December as the Chair of the YDA Select Committee on International Affairs. In this role I have worked to ensure YDA is represented at the International Federation of Liberal and Radical Youth. I’ve authored and sponsored a resolution dealing with the humanitarian crisis and coup in Myanmar. I led a diverse delegation from YDA to the IFLRY General Assembly in Athens, Greece over last Thanksgiving. I additionally brought Yevheniia Fedotova, VP of IFLRY and Ukrainian political activist, to speak at our last committee meeting about the situation in Ukraine and how to best support the Ukrainian cause.

I helped plan the upcoming Pacific Region Retreat by scouting locations and dealing with vendors directly.

I ask for your vote to ensure Washington continues to have strong and competent representation on the national level.

Eastern Region Director

KJ January

My name is KJ January and I am asking for your vote to be the next Eastern Region Director for the Young Democrats of Washington. I’ve been involved with the party since 2018 and know if we’re going to make the lasting change our communities need, we’re going to need to build community with each other.

As the daughter of military parents I have always taken pride in my work ethic, responsibility, and accountability. I have used my Psychology Degree from EWU, to consistently find ways to improve the lives and environment of those in my community through empathy and problem-solving skills. Growing up as a student-athlete I know that with many hands make light work, and being a captain of these teams I have vast experience striving to encourage team members to be the best they can be.

During my time working with students in the multicultural center at Spokane Falls Community College and families at the Martin Luther King Jr. Family Outreach Center it has allowed me to find creative ways to advocate and amplify the needs of the community. In addition, as a caretaker, working with intellectually disabled teens and the elderly has given me further insight into communities unheard.

Continuing my advocacy work, I’ve worked to empower members of my community through civic activism in 2018 working with the Washington State Democrats as a Field Organizer, eventually transitioning to the Constituency Outreach Manager during the 2020 election cycle. She worked to politically empower communities of color, the LGBTQIA2S+ community, and other disenfranchised populations across the state.

These experiences led me to my work today, as the current Director of Advocacy at Spectrum Center Spokane, an intersectional, intergenerational LGBTQIA2S+ non-profit. I’ve had the pleasure to sit on multiple boards locally and statewide adding the QTBIPOC/neurodivergent perspective. Using what I’ve learned through this I will work to bring folks to the table and provide a platform for change. Because I know when we show up we can make a difference.

Thank you for reading my statement and being a part of the Young Democrats of Washington. I hope to work with you in the next chapter of this organization whatever the context.

Since You’re Here….

We Want You!

Your voice, your values, and your experiences are powerful tools. You don’t have to have previous political experience to make a difference! Immediately after concluding our Virtual Elections, our new Vice Presidents will start seeking Directors to fill out their Departments. Keep checking back on our website or social media for more info!

Join us for Virtual Events!

Whether we are training the local community to use vital democracy-saving tools or just getting together for a game of Jackbox, you’ll find it on our events page.

Start a Caucus!

Whether you’re passionate about a cause or want to engage Young Democrats with similar interests, starting a caucus is a great way to take collective action! A caucus is a group of YDWA members united to promote an agreed-upon cause. Caucuses re-charter every year, starting right after elections.

For more info, click here.

Mike DeVine

Mike DeVine

I'm great in small doses!

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.