Pioneer Valley Young Democrats work to protect, add to progressive voices in region’s city halls

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 1, 2011
Contact: Kevin Gilnack, Communications Director
kgilnack@ydma.org, 617.506.9670

 

BOSTON – With municipal elections around the corner in more than 50 Massachusetts communities, the Young Democrats of Massachusetts (YDM) and Pioneer Valley Young Democrats (PVYD) are working to create more progressive representation at the most local level of government across the Pioneer Valley and reminding residents to get out to the polls on Tuesday.

“There are a lot of great candidates who have fought for the issues we care about – job creation, healthy communities, and constituent engagement that includes young people – it would be a terrible loss for our communities and the Commonwealth for us to lose their representation. I hope that everyone gets out and votes in their local elections on Tuesday, Nov 8,” said YDM Chair Elaine Almquist.

As part of their effort to support endorsed candidates, members of YDM have volunteered in the field, hosted and attended fundraisers, and registered their chapter members and members of the communityto vote. YDM plans to turn out their members to the polls and help their endorsed candidates do the same.

“Students and young professionals play a critical role in our communities and our economy. It has been great to see so many members getting involved through campaigns and other civic engagement. I think the track records of our endorsed candidates speak for themselves and have a lot of people excited to get out and vote on Tuesday,” Almquist said.

Municipal elections are being held Tuesday, Nov 8 in Springfield, Northampton, Holyoke and 50 other Massachusetts communities. Polls will be open 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. 

 

YOUNG DEMS WORK TO RE-ELECT AMAAD RIVERA IN SPRINGFIELD

The Young Democrats of Massachusetts (YDM) and Pioneer Valley Young Democrats (PVYD) are proud to announce their endorsement of YDM Board Member and Springfield Ward 6 City Councilor Amaad Rivera for an at-large seat on the council.

Rivera is running at-large after a partial term representing Ward 6. He earned the Ward 6 seat January of 2011 when Keith W. Wright resigned mid-term as the next-highest vote-getter in the 2009 race. 

“He has been a proven leader on the Board of YDM and as a city councilor in Springfield, and I know there is much more he will do to move the city forward with a full-term. I hope everyone will get out and vote Amaad Rivera for Springfield At-Large City Council on Tuesday, Nov 8,” said YDM Chair Elaine Almquist.

A life-long Springfield resident, Rivera has worked throughout his personal and professional life to improve the lives of Springfield residents. Prior to becoming the councilman for Ward 6, he served as the Director of the Massachusetts Alliance of Predatory Lending, where he worked to pass the historic statewide Housing Omnibus Bill that reduced foreclosure, extended protections for tenants and gave greater rights for people who were victims of predatory lending.

According to Almquist, “Rivera earned YDM and PVYD’s endorsements for his life-long advocacy on issues of social and economic justice and his personal and professional history of empowering youth to take on tough issues.” 

[Ed. Note: see below press release on Rivera endorsement for additional background]

 

YOUNG DEMS BACK ADAMS,  FREEMAN-DANIELS IN RE-ELECTION BIDS

The Young Democrats of Massachusetts (YDM) and Pioneer Valley Young Democrats (PVYD) are proud to announce their endorsement of Northampton At-Large City Councilor Jesse Adams for re-election and Ward 3 City Councilor and PVYD Member Owen Freeman-Daniels.

Since earning his seat on the Council in 2009, Adams has worked to create a stronger healthier community in Northampton, founding and organizing Northampton Jazzfest, supporting the purchase of Bean and Allard Farms to create more athletic fields and locally grown food, and protecting the local water supply by closing the landfill and purchasing watershed land. 

“Jesse has been exactly the kind of strong, forward-looking leader that Northampton needs. He’s worked hard to engage with constituents and fulfill exactly the type of campaign promises that help create better neighborhoods and opportunities for young people,” said YDM Chair Elaine Almquist.

Adams was raised and educated in Western Massachusetts earning his bachelor’s degree in English from UMass, and his law degree from Western New England College. Adams is a practicing member of the Northampton legal community.

Also earning endorsements from the Young Democrats is Northampton Ward 3 City Councilor Owen Freeman-Daniels, a member of PVYD and the treasurer of and an advisor to Jesse Adams’ City Councilor At-Large campaign in 2009.

Freeman-Daniels is a Northampton native who has spent his entire life in the Pioneer Valley. He earned a BA from Amherst College in 2011 after graduating Northampton High School.

In 2006, Freeman-Daniels bought a condominium in Ward 3 and became actively involved in the community in which he grew up. Soon after moving to the neighborhood, he joined the Ward 3 Neighborhood Association, where he was eventually elected Vice-President. He also became active in the local schools, volunteering for the Northampton Education Foundation (NEF) AlumNite fundraiser and their Endowment Distribution Committee, which recommends numerous grants that have enhanced our public schools.

Freeman-Daniels has knowledge of the financial issues pertaining to public employees, families, and small businesses. He works in the financial services field at a local, independent firm.

 

YOUNG DEMS BACK THREE FOR CITY COUNCIL, ONE FOR SCHOOL COMMITTEE IN HOLYOKE ELECTIONS

Among the endorsed candidates is freshman Holyoke City Councilor Aaron Vega – one of the first Latino at-large councilors — who worked throughout his first term to create a cleaner and greener city, foster economic development, and engage citizens in the political process.

Vega earned the Young Democrats’ endorsements “for his tireless work to make Holyoke a better community and his efforts to improve education and employment for young people,” said Almquist.

The Young Democrats aim to add a new voice to the council and in the corner office with their endorsements of Alex Morse for Mayor of Holyoke, Brenna Murphy for at-large councilor Holyoke City Council and Devin Sheehan for Holyoke School Committee.

“These candidates represent the new face of politics in Holyoke. All of them have strong records of reaching out into the community, talking with previously marginalized constituent groups, and making changes that help move their communities in a better direction,” Almquist said.

ALEX MORSE 

Alex Morse served two terms as student representative for the Holyoke School Committee, he is the founder of Holyoke For All, the city’s first LGBT non-profit organization, and for three years he sat on the Massachusetts Governor’s LGBT Commission. He served as President of the Holyoke Youth Commission, where he brought the National Kids Vote Program to Holyoke and started a basketball league for out of school youth in partnership with the Holyoke Parks and Recreation Department and the YMCA. 

He also worked with the Massachusetts Public Policy Institute, Health Care for All, and the United Teen Equality Center in Lowell to write legislation to provide more mental health resources to youth across the state. Alex has also worked with community residents in Holyoke to plan the annual “Stop the Violence” Basketball and Volleyball tournament for youth and families to promote peace and nonviolence in the community.

Morse has also worked for Tapestry Health in Springfield and the Northfield Mount Hermon Upward Bound Program, of which he is also an alumnus. Since 2007, Alex has been a Youth Career Counselor at CareerPoint in Holyoke, where he helps young people access employment and education, works with the business community to identify youth employment opportunities, and manages youth summer employment programs throughout the City.

BRENNA MURPHY

Brenna Murphy is a member of the Pioneer Valley Young Democrats and a legislative aide to State Rep. Michael Kane. Working for Rep. Kane, Murphy has learned to navigate municipal and state government and works to ensure residents have a strong voice in government.

Murphy is running on a platform to increase local jobs by improving education, public safety and the attractiveness of downtown to small businesses. She campaigned on working with other officials to address the causes of high dropout rates such as drugs, teen pregnancy, gang violence and homelessness.

She has deep roots in the community as a life-long resident and recent homeowner. She graduated from Holyoke High School in 2001. She earned her Associate’s Degree in Psychology at Holyoke Community College prior to earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at Boston University.

DEVIN SHEEHAN

Former YDM Board Member Devin Sheehan is running his first re-election campaign since winning election to the Holyoke School Committee in 2009. Serving on the Finance and Operations Subcommittee, Sheehan has been a vocal proponent for students, parents and taxpayers. Sheehan has worked to ensure that administration officials spend every dollar wisely through a series of hearings.

“Devin’s commitment to transparent, cost-effective government spending to ensure we maximize how we spend our education dollars is exactly the type of leadership we need at a time when resources are limited and so much work remains to improve our education system,” said YDM Chair Elaine Almquist.

Sheehan attended Holyoke public schools from kindergarten until he graduated from Holyoke High School in 2001. As a former student, he credits his education for many of the opportunities he has had in life. Sheehan sees his role on the School Committee as an “honor of being able to give something back to the youth of the City of Holyoke.”

While at Holyoke High School, Sheehan served as student representative to the School Committee. He graduated from Franklin Pierce University, where he served as a representative to the Curriculum Committee, which was responsible for reviewing and approving new courses and changes for the university. Prior to working in the finance industry, Sheehan was employed as a manager in the tourism industry with responsibilities for balancing his department’s portion of a multi-million dollar budget and supervising 150 full-time and seasonal employees. He has a degree in political science with a focus in educational and social policy.

The Young Democrats of Massachusetts is a partisan political organization with over 3,000 members mobilized to create positive change across the Commonwealth.  Our members are the leaders of today: Democrats under the age of 36 committed to getting Democrats elected and promoting progressive legislation.  We are the future: now.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 1, 2011
Contact: Kevin Gilnack, Communications Director
kgilnack@ydma.org, 617.506.9670

Young Democrats endorse Rivera in Springfield City Council race

SPRINGFIELD, MA – The Young Democrats of Massachusetts (YDM) and Pioneer Valley Young Democrats (PVYD) are proud to announce their endorsement of YDM Board Member and Springfield Ward 6 City Councilor Amaad Rivera for an at-large seat on the council.

Rivera is running at-large after a partial term representing Ward 6. He earned the Ward 6 seat January of 2011 when Keith W. Wright resigned mid-term as the next-highest vote-getter in the 2009 race. 

“He has been a proven leader on the Board of YDM and as a city councilor in Springfield, and I know there is much more he will do to move the city forward with a full-term. I hope everyone will get out and vote Amaad Rivera for Springfield At-Large City Council on Tuesday, November 8th,” said YDM Chair Elaine Almquist.

A life-long Springfield resident, Rivera has worked throughout his personal and professional life to improve the lives of Springfield residents. Prior to becoming the councilman for Ward 6, he served as the Director of the Massachusetts Alliance of Predatory Lending, where he worked to pass the historic statewide Housing Omnibus Bill that reduced foreclosure, extended protections for tenants and gave greater rights for people who were victims of predatory lending.

According to Almquist, “Rivera earned YDM and PVYD’s endorsements for his life-long advocacy on issues of social and economic justice and his personal and professional history of empowering youth to take on tough issues.” 

Municipal elections are being held Tuesday, Nov 8 in Springfield and 52 other Massachusetts communities. Polls will be open 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. 

After graduating from Bentley, Rivera completed a year of service with AmeriCorps through the Massachusetts Promise Fellowship, where he developed civic engagement initiatives for young people in the city of Holyoke, Massachusetts.  While serving in AmeriCorps, Rivera founded the KidsVote initiative, engaging over 2,200 young people, aged 18 and under, in the voting process in its first year.

Rivera directed the YouthBridge AmeriCorps program at Solutions Community Development Corporation in Holyoke, MA. Under his direction, this program created some of the most innovative practices in the state including increasing doubling the education scholarship through local programs.

Rivera later went on to serve as an AmeriCorps Program Officer for the Massachusetts Service Alliance.  At the Massachusetts Service Alliance, Rivera managed an 11 million dollar portfolio of grants to organizations dedicated to closing the achievement gap in schools, ensuring access to quality health care for all, protecting the environment, and promoting community and civic engagement. In addition, he acted as the liaison between the federal and state government to service programs all over Massachusetts. While working, Rivera went to graduate school at University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Rivera then led the National Racial Wealth Divide Program at United for a Fair Economy. In this position, Rivera worked with policy makers and organizations to implement policies that ensure economic prosperity reaches everyone.  He published research reports and presented on economic disparities across the country. While Director Rivera authored “The Silent Depression: State of the Dream 2009” and “Foreclosed: State of the Dream 2008.” His articles and publications have been featured in major media outlets including The Washington Post, The Nation, Huffington Post, Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, Democracy Now, Too Much, BET.com, CSPAN, Boston Neighborhood Network News, and numerous local radio stations.

Raised by a teenage mother whose hard work and determination helped his family rise from poverty and homelessness, Rivera learned that strong beliefs are worth fighting for. While Springfield is the City of Homes, Rivera grew up homeless.  With the support of his family and community he worked to overcome these obstacles.

Rivera has served on numerous boards and community initiatives including the Racial Imbalance committee advising the Department of Education and the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Educators Network (GLSEN). He organized the most recent LGBT Pride this year and was named one of the national Advocate’s 40 under 40.

The Young Democrats of Massachusetts is a partisan political organization with over 3,000 members mobilized to create positive change across the Commonwealth.  Our members are the leaders of today: Democrats under the age of 36 committed to getting Democrats elected and promoting progressive legislation.  We are the future: now.

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