The Young Democrats of Washington is led by the President, with several Vice Presidents who each lead a Department. They all serve on the Executive Board, along with our National Committee representatives, and WSDCC Representative.
Born and raised in Western Washington, Matt Kanter has worn many hats. He’s held a variety of roles at tech giants, large non-profits, political organizations, and small businesses. He currently is the Director of Program, Education, and Outreach at NAMI Washington.
Matt proudly served as the Chair of the King County Young Democrats in 2017 and 2020, and worked with an incredible board to rebuild the organization. He also served on the Seattle Disabilities Commission and currently serves on the Advocacy Committee for the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Anti-Defamation League.
Identifying as a non-traditional student, he originally completed studies in Culinary Arts at the Lake Washington Institute of Technology before completing his B.S. in Business Management recently. He’s completed the Institute for a Democratic Future fellowship; the Get Engaged program with the Accelerator YMCA and the City Seattle Office of the Mayor; People’s Academy for Civic Engagement with the City of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods; Advanced Leadership Development Program with the Greater Seattle Jewish Federation; and the Glass Leadership Institute with the Anti-Defamation League.
After living in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle for 6 years, Matt moved back to his hometown of Redmond during the pandemic to be near his family. In his freetime he likes to cook, travel, catch Pokémon, and spend time talking to you about the opportunities in store with YDWA!
You can reach Matthew here.
Nicholas CastroLang, Executive Vice President
Nicholas is a 32 year old public health worker, husband, and father of a 7 year old daughter and 2 year old son. He’s spent over 10 years in the political world in Spokane and Eastern Washington, working on congressional, legislative, and local races, in addition to statewide initiatives. He also has experience in the nonprofit sector and as a public employee. I’m a proud union member and strong advocate for workers rights!
You can reach Nicholas here.
Winter Cashman, Vice President of Operations
Winter Cashman moved to Seattle from Grand Rapids in 2015 and now lives in Renton. Winter is a founder and vice president of the Renton LGBTQIA+ Community, and also serves on the executive board of the 11th Legislative District Democrats.
You can reach Winter here.
Madysen McLain, Co-Vice Presidents of Membership Engagement
Hello! I’m Madysen, and I’m the VP of Membership Engagement for YDWA. I currently live in Gig Harbor, but I grew up in a small Eastern Washington town named Hunters. I’m a Coug (WSU class of 2021) and I studied journalism. After graduating, I wrote for a small, weekly newspaper in Western WA for a little over a year.
Then in April of 2022, I took a leap and joined Adison Richards’ campaign for State Representative as his campaign manager. Together, we ran one of the most competitive State Rep races in the state. Although we ultimately lost by 600-ish votes, I’m thankful to have had the experience of running a campaign. I wouldn’t have imagined being able to knock on 5,000+ doors in the span of seven months (rain or shine). I really enjoyed canvassing, attending community events, and recruiting new volunteers. My love of working with volunteers led me to join a nonprofit that provides resources for seniors on the rural Key Peninsula, where I’m the volunteer and transportation coordinator. I’m also involved in the 26th Legislative District Democrats, where I was elected as a State Committee Member. To relax and reset, I enjoy trying new recipes, hiking, camping, and playing fetch with my roommates’ dogs.
I’m excited to get to know the many Young Dems across the state as the membership engagement Vice President!
You can reach Madysen here.
Leiyomi Preciado, Vice President of Government Affairs
Leiyomi Preciado is a proud Filipina, Mexican, Indigenous American Transwoman who resides in Kitsap County. As a Certified Peer Counselor, Leiyomi has assisted organizations attain greater understanding of Gender Dysphoria while reinforcing evidence based practices and trauma informed care for LGBTQIA clients. Leiyomi is also one of the first transwomen in Washington State to run for elected office and has been a part of various local, state, and national agencies’ board of directors.
You can reach Leiyomi here.
Stephanie Keen, Vice President of Communications
Stephanie Keen is a 32 year old mom from central Washington but currently residing in Kitsap County. She has lived in every region of the state, and learned a lot from it! Most of Stephanie’s political experience comes from working in Spokane which made her more passionate than she ever imagined. As a mom of two, she is determined to do everything she can to push our country in the right direction, by way of her own actions and how she raises her kids. There’s nothing that makes her happier than helping people and she’s so grateful to be apart of such an amazing opportunity and organization.
You can reach Stephanie here.
Rohana Joshi, Vice President of Events & Education
Rohana is a high school student in the Snoqualmie Valley. She holds positions in a variety of non-profit organizations such as Empower Youth Network, to promote youth living better lives through a higher standard of education and mental health resources, and Future Political Leaders, a a non-profit dedicated to inspiring youth to enter politics through nonpartisan initiatives. On the side, Rohana throws javelin and discus for her track team, and is a huge Swiftie. Rohana stands for the youth that cannot stand for themselves and believes that equity in education is the first stepping stone to a brighter future for our nation.
You can reach Rohana here.
The Party Affairs Department is lead by the Executive Vice President, who manages the relationships with the Democratic Party at all levels. All members of this department serve on the YDWA Executive Board.
Olivia Heersink, National Committee Representative
Olivia Heersink is one of the two national committee representatives. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Idaho and spent a number of years working as a newspaper reporter before first getting her start in Idaho politics and then later in Washington. Currently, Olivia is a communications specialist with the Washington State Senate Democrats and lives in Olympia. In the fall, she will start an online master’s program in strategic communication at Washington State University.
You can reach Olivia here.
Austin Christoffersen, National Committee Representative
Austin was born and raised in Las Vegas by his single mother who worked as a cocktail waitress living pay check to pay check. Austin grew up seeing the wealth inequality first hand and knew he wad to do something to make sure that everyone has a fair shot. He came to Washington in 2022 to work as the Operations Manager for the WA-Dems Coordinated Campaign, and now serves as the Clerk of the King County Regional Homelessness Authority. He lives in Seattle, where he is happy to call his home!
You can reach Austin here.
Kati Durkin, Washington State Democratic Central Committee (WSDCC) Representative
Kati Durkin was born and raised in Boise, Idaho, where she also received her BS in Political Science and International Relations at Boise State University and minored in Mandarin Chinese. Kati also briefly lived abroad in Shanghai, where she studied Mandarin and Chinese foreign policy. Before moving to Mount Vernon, she owned her own political consulting firm in Idaho where she contracted with labor unions, conservation organizations, and Democratic campaigns at every level from school board to statewide.
Kati now works as a Lobbyist for the Washington Federation of State Employees/AFSCME Council 28, where she fights for pay, benefits, and workplace conditions for Washington’s state workers in every agency and community. She works with legislators and state officials from every end of the political spectrum, and has successfully advocated for the passing of policy that protects victims of domestic violence, increases employee access to unions, and allocates resources to where they are most needed in our state. She was also a part of the team that passed the most significant employee cost of living package in recent history during Washington’s employee recruitment and retention crisis.
Outside of work, Kati serves in national leadership for the Young Democrats of America, antiques for vintage fiestaware, and is a Mariners season ticket holder (mostly for the food). She lives in Mount Vernon with her boyfriend and their dog, Daisy.
You can reach Kati here.
Zachary Cohen, College Democrats of Washington (CDWA) President
Zachary Cohen is the current President of the College Democrats of Washington and chair of Western Washington University Young Democrats. He is 20, a third year student at WWU and will be graduating in the spring of 2024. Zach got involved with Young Democrats to organize young people in Bellingham to elect Democrats and turn every seat over from red to blue. After graduation, Zach hopes to continue his work in campaign work and community organizing.
You can reach Zachary here.
Jonnika Kwan, Washington High School Democrats (WAHSDA) President
Jonnika is the current Chair of Washington High School Democrats. She is a sophomore at Holy Names Academy. One of her top priorities is engaging more youth in politics through advocacy and outreach. It is crucial to have youth voices present in politics as the laws being passed today will shape future generations. In addition to youth advocacy, she is passionate about women’s rights and climate justice.
You can reach Jonnika here.