Op-ed: Investing in the next generation of leadership

Photograph courtesy of Young Democrats of Nevada

By Maria Nieto Orta

September 8, 2023

Young people are living through a transformative period in time in which every other news cycle points to a new historic occurrence. From feeling the impacts of the climate crisis, getting hit with skyrocketing tuition and student debt, expecting a shooting in any public space, to having fewer reproductive freedoms than the generation before us – there’s no telling how historic events will impact our well-being.

Amid the uncertainty, one thing remains clear to us: We need to invest in the next generation of leadership.

This is why the Young Democrats of Nevada are steadfast in our mission to engage and educate young people within the democratic process. We know that a prosperous future is guaranteed with young leaders at the helm. We’re in the halls of Congress, leading the conversation on gun reform, and are not afraid to challenge stagnant leadership.

Our volunteer-run organization recently hosted the annual Young Democrats of America National Convention which brought over 700 young leaders from across the country to Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada. Not only did we shine a spotlight on important issues and provide young people an opportunity to network with national leaders, but YDNV broke organizational fundraising records by bringing in more than $180,000+ to drive down costs for convention goers while increasing the quality of the experience.

In the months leading up to our national convention, YDNV also quadrupled its general members and now boasts over 515 statewide, doubled our Executive Board members to 21 members, all of whom are young diverse political strategists, and activated our membership in the NVDems officer election to elect a new slate of leadership that aligned with our vision.

As we close out 2023 and head into another hotly contested election cycle, we’re ramping up our efforts. Our state affiliate is the first in the nation to bring on an Executive Director. By tapping in Tanner Hale, a young Democrat and the former YDNV president who rebuilt the organization, we’ve made room for new leadership within our organization resulting in the first DACA-mented Latina (myself) to step into the president’s position.

There is a lot at play in the upcoming election cycle and we’re determined now more than ever to make certain that our impact is felt. We’re not interested in lip service or false promises, but rather in investing in the next generation of leaders who will be the agents of change. Anyone willing to work with us is welcome at our organization, otherwise, we’ll do it ourselves because Young gets it done.



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