Gay Democrats elected to lead Young Democrats of America

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The National Stonewall Democrats (NSD) congratulated a newly-elected leadership of the Young Democrats of America (YDA) on Tuesday, July 24, including two openly-gay Stonewall Democrats who will now lead the organization as President and Executive Vice-President through 2009.

"Young voters are the new base of the Democratic Party, and we are proud that the Young Democrats of America support equality for LGBT families and have placed their faith in the leadership of two great Democratic leaders who happen to be gay," said Jo Wyrick, NSD executive director. "The future of our party now has an opportunity to demonstrate to all Democrats how fully engaging our community is politically viable and smart."

On Sunday, July 22, David Hardt (Texas) was elected as President of the Young Democrats of America with 93% of the delegate votes during the organization’s national convention in Dallas. Also elected the same day was Chris Anderson (Tennessee) as the organization’s Executive Vice President.

The election of Hardt and Anderson mark the first time that the Young Democrats of America will be led by an openly-gay leadership team.

The Young Democrats of America GLBT Caucus also elected its new leadership on Saturday, July 21, including the election of NSD Board Member Kyle Bailey (Georgia) as Caucus Vice-Chair. Bailey also serves as President of the Atlanta Stonewall Democrats.

The other elected GLBT Caucus officers include Rachel Kau-Tayler (California) as Caucus Chair, Rob Hudson (Florida) as Caucus Secretary and Byron LaMasters (Texas) as Caucus Treasurer.

The Young Democrats of America have undertaken a dramatic outreach to LGBT Democrats over the past several years. Congruently, the National Stonewall Democrats have also increased their outreach to LGBT Young and College Democrats.

NSD has established youth scholarships for national trainings, including the "Keith Smith Fund" designed to honor the outreach work of former NSD Board Member Keith Smith of Oklahoma. Over the past two years, young leaders within the Stonewall Democrats have also established Stonewall Young Democrats chapters across the country, which serve to organize LGBT Youth within the Democratic Party.

As the official youth arm of the Democratic Party, YDA mobilizes young people under the age of 36 to participate in the electoral process, influence the ideals of the Democratic Party and develops the skills of the youth generation to serve as leaders at the local and national level. YDA has 43 chartered states and US territories with over 1,500 local chapters.

In 2003, members of the National Stonewall Democrats authored and passed language adopted by YDA which declared the organization’s support for civil marriage for same-sex couples.