Conn. Dems at Wesleyan
The College Democrats of Connecticut (CDCT) held their annual convention at the University on Saturday, Sept. 29. Democrats from Southern Connecticut State University, Fairfield University, Yale University, and Quinnipiac University came to campus to hear from important state and local officials, learn about campaigning, and canvass for Chris Murphy, Connecticut’s Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate.
The first speaker was Gary Holder-Winfield, State Representative of the 94th Assembly District in New Haven, who was first elected in 2008. Holder-Winfield spoke about how he came to hold office in New Haven and also talked about various pieces of legislation that he helped pass in the Connecticut House of Representatives. Holder-Winfield explained that he was involved in abolishing the death penalty in Connecticut in 2009, as well as passing an anti-discrimination law for transgendered people in 2011. He also expressed the need for education reform laws in Connecticut.
“With the achievement gap in Connecticut, you have a broken state,” Holder-Winfield said.
Holder-Winfield concluded by saying that it was important for young people to get involved in politics.
The second speaker was Spokesman for the Chris Murphy for Senate Campaign Ben Marter. He talked about many issues pertaining to the upcoming election, both statewide and national. He stated that in the race between Murphy and Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Linda McMahon, the most important issues are reproductive rights and the future of Medicare.
Mayor of Middletown Dan Drew discussed both the Obama and the Murphy campaigns. He urged young Democrats to go out canvassing and campaigning for Murphy.
“This is probably the most critical election of your life,” Drew said.
Field Organizer for the Chris Murphy for Senate campaign Emily Smith instructed students on the methods and courtesies of canvassing.
Once the speakers were finished, the members elected new officers for the CDCT board. Nicole Hobbs, a Yale junior, was elected President, and Yale sophomores Eric Stern and Emma Janger were elected Treasurer and Secretary. Wesleyan Democrats President Michael Linden ’15 was chosen to succeed Ben Florsheim ’14 as Vice President of the CDCT.
“I’m glad to pass the position on to another Wesleyan student, who I don’t doubt will find it as rewarding as I did,” Florsheim said.
In the afternoon, the CDCT members canvassed in Middletown for the Murphy campaign.
“[We] were able to knock on a couple hundred doors and talk to a bunch of voters about the Senate race, and drum up support for Chris [Murphy],” Florsheim wrote in an email to The Argus.
Florsheim also mentioned the accomplishments of the CDCT during his tenure as Vice President.
“I was able to make connections with people involved in Democratic politics both in Connecticut and at the national level that I never otherwise would have made,” Florsheim said. “During my tenure with [Former President of CDCT Zak Newman], we worked to make the organization broader by encouraging all of the colleges in the state to open or reopen their college Democrats chapters. [We] tried to advance CDCT by taking the first steps toward founding a PAC, introducing the use of social media to connect with other College Democrats of America chapters as well as candidates and elected officials, and getting involved in legislative work such as Governor Malloy’s push for education reform.”
The CDCT plans to continue working on local, state, and national issues and elections with Democratic candidates.