Candidate Statements for the 2018 YDMA Convention

President

Rebecca Pinn

I am Rebecca Pinn and I am humbled to be running for President of the Young Democrats of Massachusetts
 
Over the last year as the YDMA Secretary, I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with my YDMA colleagues on various initiatives that have built a stronger foundation for our organization to ensure we run more effectively in the coming year. Some initiatives include developing our mission statement, collaborating with our communications director on re-designing our website, working closely with our vice president and policy director on revamping our platform, updating our bylaws and charter to better reflect the needs our growing organization, and supporting and advising our chapter and caucus chairs.
 
As President, my goals are to empower our chapter chairs and caucuses, ensure we are endorsing and supporting progressive Democratic candidates, advocating progressive values both inside and outside the Democratic party, and building a bench of future politicians, organizers, and activists. 
 
I would be honored to have your vote and serve as the President the Young Democrats of Massachusetts.
 

Vice President

Rob Cohen

For the past two years I have had the pleasure of serving as the Vice President of the Young Democrats of Massachusetts, and I hope that you will consider giving me an opportunity to continue my service. Over the past year I have seen this organization grow thanks to the incredible work of our board, and more specifically, the chapter and caucus leaders who have driven our expansion beyond the Greater Boston region. During the next year, I want to work with the chapters to continue that growth, and also foster more interaction between regions. Furthermore, with our regional chapters growing, I want to see the YDMA host more events with those chapters outside of Boston. 
 
I want to make sure that this organization can serve as a stepping stone for people looking to get more informed and more involved. The YDMA has always provided social programming, which serves an important purpose in building networks and relationships, but has at times lagged in providing more substantive programs. I am hoping to expand on our previous efforts to host informative discussions and forums that allow members to gain insights from policy makers, advocates, and scholars.
 
I hope that I can count on your support, and look forward to continuing to work on behalf of the Young Democrats of Massachusetts in the next year. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out either by email (RJCohen2010@gmail.com) or phone (508-333-8768), as I pride myself on trying to be as accessible as humanly possible. 
 

Treasurer

Frank Ulip

I would like to submit my candidacy for re-election as treasurer of the YDMA. I have worked to faithfully maintain all appropriate financial records over the past year, filing with OCPF, and updating the board on our financial status each month. One major goal I have for 2018 is to create a clear budget for the entire organization, allocating funds to each chapter and caucus to maximize growth heading into an important election year.  I look forward to working with our Fundraising Director (recently moved under the treasurer) to raise additional funds for the organization going forward.
 

Membership & Outreach Director

Melissa Schapero

I have had the pleasure of serving as your Membership & Outreach Director this past year. After my first full year with YDMA, I’ve learned (and accomplished) a great deal as we continue to improve our outreach and opportunities for our members. I’m committed to the Young Democrats and the Democratic Party, including serving as the secretary for our South Shore chapter and as the vice chair for Ward 3 of the Quincy Democratic City Committee. I am a clinical data analyst and have been able to utilize these skills in this role. I’ve worked with the Mass Dems to procure VoteBuilder access for our organization, which we will be able to use for chapter building in the coming year. I have worked hard to expand our outreach in the community through marches and rallies as well as community groups.   I’ve worked hard to improve inclusion in our organization, which includes getting our caucuses up and running, particularly the Black and Latino caucuses. I’ve also started holding Virtual Meetings, which I would like to continue doing on a quarterly basis. Virtual Meetings allow our members who cannot get to events physically. If reelected, I will work hard to improve the opportunities we provide our membership, like the Running for City Council event I organized in January. I will continue to work to improve our membership tracking with all chapters and caucuses, ensuring we have accurate information for all our members and are able to keep them informed of all opportunities.
 

Secretary

Caesar Nuzzolo

Since becoming a board member of the YDMA I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of many exciting projects as Technical Director and Communications Director. From creating and maintaining the new ydma.org, rebuilding our communications strategy, and planning our organization’s digital infrastructure with my YDMA colleagues on the Communications Committee, we’ve greatly expanded our organization’s outreach capabilities and I’m excited to watch it continue to grow and serve our members. I’m running for YDMA Secretary to build on the progress we’ve made and help the organization continue to grow. As the YDMA Secretary I’ll work to better utilize our digital tools to reach our members, expand our membership and promote the organization, and work closely with our Chapters and Caucuses to help them grow and collaborate.
 

Political Director

Chris Addis

My name is Chris Addis, I currently live in Cambridge, and I am running to be the next Policy Director. This past year I’ve had the pleasure of serving on the YDMA board as an at-large member where I’ve met a bunch of new people from within and outside the party and learned the inner workings of how this organization operates.  I’ve also had the opportunity to help elect some exciting new progressive young Dems (and Dems young-at-heart supported by YDMA) to state and municipal offices this past year. I think my background in campaigns, my intimate knowledge of the Massachusetts political landscape (I work at the State House), and my drive to ensure the progressive millennial voice is heard make me an ideal candidate for Political Director, and I hope you will consider voting for me at the convention, thanks for reading my statement!
 
 

Liana Ascolese

My name is Liana Ascolese and I’m a candidate for YDMA Political Director. I’m new to this organization, but have political organizing experience, from College Democrats of Massachusetts to campaign manager for City Council candidate Alanna Mallon. 
 
As President of the UMass Amherst Democrats, I hosted speakers like Congressmen Joe Kennedy and Jim McGovern, as well as Deputy DNC Chair Keith Ellison, allowing students to engage with national party leaders on campus. I organized volunteer trips to New Hampshire in 2016, while also coordinating local opportunities, like phone banking for State Senator Eric Lesser.
 
As the Chair of CDM Women’s Caucus, I established partnerships with NARAL Pro-Choice America, bringing 60+ students to NH for a weekend canvass, Emerge Massachusetts for a Boston-based panel on young women running for office, and Planned Parenthood for a reproductive rights lobby day. The Women’s Caucus advocated for a bill to establish a sexual assault campus climate survey, which led me to co-found the Every Voice Coalition, a group which is still actively (and successfully!) lobbying for the passage of this bill.
 
Recently I was campaign manager for City Councillor Alanna Mallon. It was a first campaign for both of us, and I was able to navigate Cambridge’s uniquely complex rank choice voting system, and now continue to work for Alanna as her legislative aide.
 
I want to help YDMA members engage with the Blue Wave of 2018. I have the experience to make this happen, and I look forward to meeting everyone at the convention.
 

Policy Director

Isaac Silberberg

This year YDMA has made a lot of progress in policy, and after taking over the position midway through the year I look forward to bringing more stability and impact to the position this year. 
 
We made progress in each of three key areas: we built relationships with government officials, with policy advocates and experts, and gained a better understanding of our members’ priorities. We met with elected officials including Speaker DeLeo (discussing economic development, education, and transportation), Attorney General Maura Healey (with a big emphasis on net neutrality), as well as several state legislators and municipal officials. YDMA endorsed the Safe Communities Act and the Great Neighborhoods campaign. We also overhauled our platform for the first time in nearly 10 years. 
 
This coming year, I want to build on our successes to bring more YDMA members into the policy process and make our voices heard. I want to expand the policy committee to have regular votes on policies to endorse, and a concerted strategy to build relationships with more elected officials. The policy team will also build its capabilities to perform specialized advocacy, such as testifying on Beacon Hill and submitting amicus briefs to the courts when appropriate. I want to work with the chapters to coordinate actions across our membership, maximizing our voice when there is an issue we decide to be heard on. 
 
 

Solomon Steen

Some of you may know me from the 2017 Massachusetts Democratic Convention in Worcester, where we passed a platform amendment I helped author committing our party to a criminal justice reform plan that would redirect funds from incarceration to community investment. Others may know me from my 2018 forums: the Gubernatorial forum on intersectional women’s issues moderated by Lydia Edwards; or the racial justice forum moderated by Sheriff Steve Tompkins. Perhaps you met me at the statehouse on lobby day for the Safe Communities Act. But any of you who have met me know I am committed to building broad coalitions to advance an ambitious policy agenda for our party that is as inclusive as it grounded in best available data. As your next Policy Director, I hope those of you who have yet to meet me will come to know me as a tireless advocate for including more young people from all backgrounds in our policy making process and ensuring our voices are pushing together for legislation that advances our shared dignity and prosperity: our Commonwealth.
 

Technical Director

Michael Bakshi

I would be honored to have your vote, and look forward to working with you this year on policy together. 
 
I am announcing my intention to run for Technology Director at the Young Democrats of Massachusetts. Why have I chosen to run for this position, you may ask? My career is the technology industry, and I want to apply the skills that I've learned throughout my professional career to helping progressive
political organizations. I’m also on the tech committees at ProgMA and ORMA. My membership on these committees allows me to experience, to test the latest and greatest technologies in use at each respective organization, and to streamline their processes. I plan to introduce what I’ve learned to YDMA.
 

At-Large Director (4 seats)

David Perelman

My name is David Perelman, I am a Democratic State Committee member, HFA 2016 Alumnai, and Former YDMA National Committeeman and Disability Caucus Chair from 2015-2017.
 
I am currently working for the Rhode Island Dems 2018 Coordinated Campaign and reside in Lexington Massachusetts with an anticipated move to the South Shore, Attleboro area in the near future. As someone who has served the Young Democrats, at the national, regional, state, and local chapter level, I have plenty of experience to offer the board in the 2018-2019 year.
 

Michael Dooley

I, Michael Dooley, am announcing my candidacy for At-Large Director.
 
As the current chair for NVYD, I have started and grown our chapter, to be one of the largest and most active in YDMA. In the last year, we have been successful in helping elect progressive Democrats Jim Hawkins in the State House and Paul Feeney in the State Senate despite being in a predominately Republican district. I am looking to taking the accomplishments our chapter has achieved and implementing them statewide.
 
I have 3 main objectives for the upcoming year:
 
Fundraising
In order for the YDMA to have a transparent budget and how our money spent, we need to greatly increase our fundraising efforts. Through raising more money, we can continue to host and expand our events and activities as well as ensure all members can participate.
 
Chapter Growth
Strong chapters ensure our message is being spread. I have experience with this and I am committed to using that experience across our chapters statewide.
 
Policy
Our platform represents who we are and our progressive values. I remain committed to being on and contributing to the Policy Committee.
 
 

Hanna Switlekowski

My name is Hanna Switlekowski, and I’m running to be re-elected as one of the At-Large Directors. It has been so great being on the e-board over the past year, where we have increased our overall membership, started new caucuses regionally, and been at pretty much every rally you can imagine since January 2018.  
Currently, I work as a the Legislative Director  for State Senator Paul Feeney. When I’m not at work, I’m the Chair of the Sharon Democratic Town Committee, an appointed member of the Sharon Finance Committee, and a community representative serving on the Jewish Community Relations Council.  This year, I have had the pleasure of serving as vice chair for the YDMA Women’s Caucus, as we are growing into a dynamic group of ‘nasty women (and allies)’. I look forward to continue bridging my involvement between the caucus & the greater YDMA community as an at-large director, where I can support other board members, as we work cohesively together to help grow our community of strong, diverse millennial democrats into the future.