Indiana Young Democrats denounce actions by Republican House Caucus

February 18th, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Yesterday was quite the day in Indianapolis. The actions of some members of Indiana’s House Republican Caucus displayed disrespect and racism towards Statehouse colleagues. That disrespect extends to Hoosiers across the state who elected their representatives to speak on their behalf. Some members of the House Republican Caucus attempted to mute the voices of those voters today.

“Firstly, the Indiana Senate passed legislation handing more money to charter schools, stripping public schools of their resources and funding. Additionally, the Senate Education and Career Development Committee this year failed to consider legislation that would have prevented charter schools from using Hoosier tax dollars if they discriminated against students. Last, but certainly not least, the Indiana House considered and passed racist legislation meant to further segregate our public schools. Thank you to Representatives Porter, Summers, Smith, and Jackson for speaking out and standing up to this legislation,” said Indiana Young Democrats (IYD) President, Arielle Brandy.

Policies can be racist and House Bill (HB) 1367 is a racist bill. Despite a bipartisan rebuke of HB 1367, the bill passed and is now headed to the Senate. The unwillingness of certain members of the House Republican Caucus to listen when members of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus attempted to share their experiences of racism was also racist. Representatives Eberhart and Lucas, and some of their colleagues, intentionally avoided listening to their peers in a racist and unprofessional manner. We hope they will learn and improve from this experience. As acknowledged by Speaker Huston, the discourse in Indianapolis this legislative session has clearly fallen short of the Honorable titles bestowed upon members. That must change if we want to tackle the numerous problems facing our state today. If we won’t listen to each other, we cannot attempt to tackle these issues in earnest. 

IYD President Arielle Brandy continued: “It’s my duty as President of this organization and a member of IYD’s Black Caucus to clearly state the outcomes that must follow today’s displays of racism. The Republican Party has done nothing to show that they’re engaging, supporting, or empowering Black Hoosiers.

  1. The Indiana Young Democrats urge the Indiana Senate to reject the racist legislation that is HB1367.
  2. The behavior today on the House floor from some Republican Caucus members was unacceptable and we demand a formal apology from them to Indiana’s Black community and IBLC members.
  3. We would also like to reiterate Rep. Robin Shackleford’s call from last May for the Indiana House of Representatives to undergo racial bias training before sine die. This training should also take place in the Indiana Senate.” 

Indiana’s legislators must possess the decorum and civility that comes with being a public servant. Indiana’s residents deserve to live in a state that works on behalf of all Hoosiers. The Indiana Young Democrats will continue to speak out against injustices.”


Indiana Young Democrats leadership announces bid for Young Democrats of America

Feb 10th, 2021

Bid signals continued emergence of Indiana Democrats on the national political scene

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Indiana Young Democrats, the leading political youth arm of the Indiana Democratic Party and the official state-chartered unit affiliated with the Young Democrats of America (YDA), announced that its President and former Pete Buttigieg Indiana state director, Arielle Brandy will join a slate of candidates to run for Secretary of the national group. 

“Over the last 12 years, I have been committed to the mission & vision of IYD, inviting Young Dems to have a vision beyond being just a “red” state. I’ve seen the growth of our chapters, built a legacy of empowerment within our org, and expanded our branding, communications & messaging alongside a talented team of YDs who believe in my vision for youth in the Democratic Party,” stated Arielle Brandy, President of Indiana Young Democrats. 

With democratic control of the House, the Senate, and the White House, the slate of candidates calling themselves YDA Reimagined are pledging to bring the organization back to its core mission “to elect Democrats up and down the ballot, champion progressive values, and empower the next generation of progressive leaders.” The slate also includes candidates from Minnesota, Alabama, Nevada, California, and New York.

“By creating a culture of inclusivity, accountability, and transparency, I have experienced the successes and hard truths of what it means to truly keep a chartered unit and its members organized, engaged, and highly respected. I look forward to my run as Secretary of YDA, joining a slate of talented Young Democrats from across the country and representing the Hoosier state,” said Brandy.

Indiana natives and members of IYD have continued to step into leadership roles across the national organization including: 

  • Austin Matheny, YDA Environmental Caucus Chair
  • James Wells, LGBTQIA Caucus Chair
  • Dyna Martinez, Vice President of the Latinx/Hispanic Caucus and Vice-Chair of YDA Legislation
  • Matthew Kochevar, National Rules Chair
  • Zach Shartiag, YDA Deputy Secretary and Jewish Caucus Political Director

In a year where Indiana Democrats are gearing up to reorganize and elect new leadership from county chair to state chair, Indiana Young Democrats are continuing to step up to the plate as leaders in the party. Last month, Gary native and Vice President of Indiana Young Democrats, James Wells, formally announced his run for vice chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party. If elected at the March reorganization meeting, his goals include clearly defining the party’s message to Hoosier voters, supporting the growth of local party organizations, and recruiting the next generation of diverse and inclusive party leadership.

“I come into this race knowing that while things look bleak now, I see this enthusiasm and energy in the state that is ready to be organized and mobilized to campaign up and down the ballot for better policies that lead towards better government and better communities for all of us in Indiana,” said Wells. 

IYD has benefited from national momentum as Indiana’s own, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a supporter and former member of IYD, became the first openly gay appointed cabinet member of the United States as Transportation Secretary. The former campaign manager of the Buttigieg campaign, Mike Schmuhl also announced a bid for chair of the Indiana Democratic Party today. 

Just last year, IYD raised over $13,000 and gave $12,000 to nearly 30 young Democrats running for state and local office. The organization as a whole grew with two new county chapters and one reactivated county chapter. The organization’s membership, financial growth, and continued national leadership growth signal an uptick in interest among young people in politics and particularly the Democratic Party.

IYD is the premier youth-led grassroots political organization in the state of Indiana. As the official youth caucus of the Indiana Democratic Party, IYD mobilizes young people between the ages of 14 and 35 to participate in the electoral process, influence elections, promote the ideals of the Democratic Party, and develop the skills of the youth generation to serve as leaders on local, state, and national levels.

Young Democrats of America has over 150,000 members nationwide, and chapters in 48 states and U.S. territories. 


View press release toolkit for images 


January 7th, 2021

Indiana Young Democrats issued the following statement today in response to the terrorist activity in Washington D.C.:

“On Wednesday Georgia officially elected the first Black Senator and the first Jewish Senator in their state’s history. Nationally, Reverend Warnock will be the first Liberal Black Senator from a former Confederate state since Reconstruction. Jon Ossoff will be the first Jewish Senator from the South since the 1800’s.

“While yesterday should go down in our country’s history as a testament to the strength our country finds in its diversity, it will long be remembered for other reasons.

“We saw domestic terrorists, abetted by a sitting President, successfully siege the Capitol and delay the election of a President-elect. Yesterday was the first time that the Capitol has been breached since the British invaded the building in the War of 1812. This was an attack on our democracy and a coup tacitly supported by President Trump and the Republican Party. As representatives of Indiana, Mike Braun, Jackie Walorski, and Jim Banks enabled this attack on our republic by White Nationalist terrorists.

“White Nationalism has risen through the passive support of President Trump over the last four years. These events are the culmination of Trumpism, but are the tip of the iceberg of White Nationalism. Our democracy didn’t fall, this time. What we have seen is that Black Lives Matter peaceful protests for racial justice have been deemed as violent, but after seeing what has transpired today, we know that this portrayal is deeply rooted in white privilege. The injustices against Black people in America have been disregarded by the very people who have sworn to protect them and be held accountable as their representatives, President Trump included. We see where he and many Republicans stand after their refusal to peacefully transfer power to the Biden-Harris administration. As Young Democrats in Indiana, we are committed to racial equity in this country, calling out White Nationalism for what it is, and holding those accountable for their threats against our Democracy.”



Dec 22nd, 2020

          In January 2017, I went to a meeting at the Democratic Headquarters in St Joseph County, not knowing what to expect. I wanted to get involved in politics, but I didn’t know how. During the course of the meeting, I stood up and told my healthcare story. While others were still talking, Tony Flora leaned over and “whispered” while handing me his card: “You seem like you’ll be here a while. I’m Tony Flora with the AFL-CIO of Northern Indiana.”

          It turns out he was right. I have been here a while, and I will continue this fight for him. At the time, I lacked confidence and knowledge in the political system. Just his simple act of handing me his card, as if I was somebody he needed to network with, gave me confidence when I needed it most. Our continued conversations over the next few years gave me knowledge in politics. It also taught me that his abrupt introduction was so very Tony of him. I am so sad about his passing, but I know that his fight lives on in so many others he has inspired like me. Though older than our 35-year age limit, his advice, education, and unwavering support of the St. Joseph County Young Democrats has earned him an honorary young-at-heart membership status. His legacy will live on through our work.  Rest in power, dear friend.


Jennica Liberatore

President of St. Joseph County Young Democrats

2nd District Chair of Indiana Young Democrats



I’ve always been baffled when asked “Why did you decide to get politically involved?” because I never felt I had a choice. Each of us is impacted by politics, from paying rent to working to riding the bus to attending college. To be aware of the political factors that impact our day-to-day lives is to be outraged, to take action, and to enact change. As the saying goes, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”

Young people are especially impacted by politics at every level, as we will be around to see the furthest-reaching ramifications of the decisions made today. On top of this, many young people are particularly vulnerable to some of the most egregious challenges Americans face: a broken health care system, absurd costs of higher education, poverty wages, skyrocketing housing costs, systemic racial injustice, the devastating effects of climate change, and much more.

It’s no secret that voting rates are low for young people, and I see a distinct and legitimate lack of faith in the electoral system from my peers, including frustration and disappointment with the Electoral College, lack of ranked-choice voting [when voters are allowed to vote by ranking the candidates in order of preference], and elected officials. Those factors all contribute to the feeling that it doesn’t make a difference whether we vote or not. I won’t claim that the process is always fair or transparent or inspiring, but it’s our responsibility (and in our best interests) to improve it, and greater engagement from young people will change the shape of our nation.

This August was the centennial of white women’s suffrage, and it was only 55 years ago that the Voting Rights Act guaranteed voting rights to people of color. Today, it’s undeniable that voter suppression of Black Americans persists, from voter-ID laws to insufficient polling places to voter roll purging. The right to vote is not to be taken for granted, and the social responsibility lies heavy on each of us who are able to do so.

That being said, voting alone is not going to solve the countless injustices in our nation, particularly for people of color, LGBTQIA+ people, people with disabilities, low-income people, and women. It is also the responsibility of each of us to enact change with our own skills, interests, abilities, and experiences. That can take the form of volunteering with a campaign, joining a constituency caucus, donating to a candidate, taking to the streets as an activist, running for office, and much more. Our democracy depends on that diversity of approaches, and it is predicated on citizens exercising their right to vote.

It’s important to remember that there is much more on the ballot than the candidates for U.S. president (as important as that is), and that local elections have concrete and immediate impacts on our lives; so don’t disparage the entire ballot out of a belief that Indiana will vote for Trump. Last year, a Bloomington City Council race was decided by 23 votes, and in 2018 a mere 26 votes separated two judicial candidates. Voter turnout for those respective races was around 15% and 20%, respectively.

Why do we vote? We vote because it’s our privilege, our right, and our moral imperative. We vote because people of color and women and activists have fought for that right, yet so many still experience disenfranchisement. We vote out of love and rage.

Kaisa Goodman, 27, serves with Indiana Young Democrats (Ninth District chair), Ninth District Democrats (deputy chair—training), Monroe County Democratic Party (treasurer), Debs Foundation (board), and Hoosier Women Forward (board). She works as special projects manager for the City of Bloomington Department of Economic & Sustainable Development. Goodman previously worked as Monroe County Democratic Party executive director and managed electoral campaigns for Mayor John Hamilton (2019) and City Councilmember Dave Rollo (2015).


July 9th, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS, IN — The Indiana Young Democrats (IYD) announced today that the organization endorsed the platform recommendations of the DNC Environment and Climate Crisis Council, being the third state to sign on alongside California and Michigan.


The DNC Environment and Climate Crisis Council is a permanent entity of the DNC, or Democratic National Committee. The Climate Council “was established to push the Democratic Party to take bold and urgent action addressing the climate crisis and other environmental issues. The Council is recommending a sweeping set of policies for inclusion in the new four-year 2020 Democratic Party platform,” according to their website.


The platform includes a number of major policy proposals and is largely geared towards developing working-class jobs. The platform proposes “establish(ing) a federal Just Transition Task Force to develop a program supporting communities and workers impacted by the climate crisis and the transition to renewables, and fund the program.”


Indiana Young Democrats Communications Director, Austin Matheny, believes the platform recommendations provide an opportunity for environmental advocacy groups to bridge an existing divide with working-class Americans. “The issues facing communities of color, our native communities, our global economy, our national security, working-class Americans, and our environment have been seen as separate issues. What I think we’re seeing now during the COVID crisis is that people on all sides of the political spectrum are saying “Whatever is happening now just isn’t working for anyone”. Climate change is a bigger economic threat than Coronavirus, and we have tens of millions of unemployed Americans right now. This climate platform, and electing Joe Biden to enact this platform, can take on the issues jointly facing working-class Americans, communities of color, native communities, and our environment.”


Indiana has two Young Democrats of America National Committeepersons, Dyna Martinez and Matthew Kochevar, who support the recommendations as well.


Dyna Martinez had this to say: “I am so excited to support a bold, progressive, and transformative proposal. The science and data does not lie. We know that climate change disproportionately affects marginalized communities. This is not just an investment in our economy and the environment but an investment on our futures. I am looking forward to the DNC enacting  these ambitious policies and working with the Biden campaign to make sure that these are priorities moving forward. I’m extremely proud of the leadership our executive board has taken on supporting such recommendations.” 


Matthew Kochevar is encouraged by the bold plans being put forward. “Climate change is the single greatest crisis young people and future generations face on this planet. It has and will continue to affect every person on this planet, but most harshly indigenous people, people of color, and low income people who long suffer from policies that greatly affect their health and well being. For a person to attain their goals in life and for all of us to achieve as individuals and as a community we must have a planet that we can live on. The DNC Environment and Climate Crisis Council’s recommendations for the 2020 Democratic Party platform set the right policy goals for conquering this crisis. It sets bold action to address years of dithering inaction by policymakers that will be based on science and data, will grow a new sector of the American economy that will provide high quality, family-sustaining jobs and will re-grow the ranks of our labor organizations, and will address the long history of environmental injustice faced by so many Americans. I encourage the Platform Committee to include these recommendations into the party platform for approval by the Democratic National Convention.”


Michelle Deatrick Council Chair said UN a statement:

The DNC Council on the Environment and Climate Crisis is thrilled to have earned the Indiana Young Democrats’ support. Hoosiers know we need to act on climate now. Despite nearing 100,000 clean energy jobs, Indiana has the top carbon emissions per capita in the Midwest.

Environmental justice and frontline empowerment can uplift communities of color from Gary to Indianapolis. A renewable energy transition can create tens of thousands of good union jobs, making use of the state’s abandoned automobile industrial infrastructure primed for a second life. Mitigating against climate change will protect Indiana’s family farmers faced with extreme flooding and factory farms destroying bottom lines while polluting waterways.

I am so grateful to the Indiana Young Democrats for their endorsement of our ambitious national platform recommendations. These are winning issues for Democrats, key to both leading the way on climate action and regaining the state’s Democratic congressional and state house majorities. We look forward to working now and in the future with IYD and many other youth Democratic groups across the country, from the Young Democrats of Michigan and California, to the College Democrats of Minnesota, to the Young Democrats of America’s Hispanic and Veterans’ Caucuses–and many more. Together, we urge the DNC to adopt our bold platform and lead Democrats to victory in November.

The Climate Council recommended platform will be voted on at the 2020 DNC National Convention, which is being held remotely while based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Convention and vote on the platform recommendations will occur from August 17th through August 20th. The platform can be found at

You can also go to their website and publish your support the platform recommendations: 




June 17th, 2020


Democratic ticket for governor calls for young leaders at the table

INDIANAPOLIS, IN — The Indiana Young Democrats (IYD) announced today that the Democratic Gubernatorial candidate, Woody Myers, the Lieutenant Governor candidate, Linda Lawson, and the Attorney General candidate will be attending the virtual convention. These nominees will address the attendees during the lunch event at the convention in which the public will be able to hear and interact with each nominee. Senator Eddie Melton will be moderating this event on June 20 at noon. 

Dr. Woody Myers was born in Indianapolis and raised in Martindale-Brightwood, Woody is a proud 3rd-generation Hoosier. Myers received his Bachelor of Science and his Master’s in Business Administration from Stanford University, and his M.D. from the Harvard Medical School. Myers is married, lives in Indianapolis, and has five children and two grandchildren. 

“Linda Lawson and I are excited to join the Indiana Young Democrats this Saturday to discuss the importance of building a more inclusive Indiana through accessible healthcare, strong public education funding, and criminal justice reform,” said Dr. Woody Myers. “We welcome Young Democrats to the table as leaders in our state and we look forward to including their voices when we’re elected.”

Linda Lawson was elected to the First District of the Indiana House of Representatives in 1998. In 2012, she became the first woman elected by the House Democratic Caucus to serve as the Floor Leader until her retirement in 2018. Linda currently lives in Nashville, IN with her two best fur friends, Sophie and Hank.

“Linda Lawson is a champion for social justice and equality, workers, and public

schools. Linda is no stranger to leading the way for women,” said Arielle Brandy, President of Indiana Young Democrats. “As Indiana’s Democratic nominees, we are grateful to hear about their vision for Indiana and we as Young Democrats are committed to joining them in this fight and look forward to hearing them address us at convention.”

The Indiana Democratic Party will announce results from the Party’s contest for Attorney General June 17 at 6:30 P.M. Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody will be joined by the Party’s nominee after the final tabulation of the votes is completed Wednesday evening. The Indiana Young Democrats are bringing speakers and panelists from across Indiana and even working with national partners like Run for Something, Rust Belt Rising, and Planned Parenthood to hold this virtual event June 20. Over 240 attendees are expected, with Pete Buttigieg, Christina Hale, and Josh Owens being one of a robust line-up of high-profile speakers and trainings.

Myers and Lawson will address the attendees beginning at 12:00 p.m. More information about the convention is available online at the Indiana Young Democrats Convention website.



June 15th, 2020

Democratic leaders gearing up to address young Hoosier Democrats

INDIANAPOLIS, IN — The Indiana Young Democrats (IYD) announced today that the Democratic U.S. Representative André Carson and Pete Visclosky will speak at the 2020 Indiana Young Democrats Virtual State Convention. 

Congressman Carson is a proud Indianapolis native, having grown up on the city’s east side. Now in his 6th full term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Carson has established himself as an influential leader and respected public servant, fighting for good paying jobs, economic growth, and safer communities for Indiana’s working families. 

“Having both of Indiana’s Democratic Congressman address our convention is an honor,” said Arielle Brandy, President of Indiana Young Democrats. “As Indiana’s voice in Congress, we are grateful to hear about the crucial work they are doing to protect our communities in these uncertain times. Congressman Carson is taking a lead right now as Indiana’s only member of the Congressional Black Caucus and has been on the front lines fighting for the current state of social injustice in this country. We as Young Democrats are committed to joining him in this fight and look forward to hearing him address us at convention.”

Born in Gary, Indiana, Congressman Pete Visclosky has been a life-long resident of Northwest Indiana. Pete has always fought for Northwest Indiana’s domestic steel industry, recognizing its importance to his communities and to the overall economy. 

“We are incredibly fortunate to have Congressman Visclosky join us at our convention as he prepares to retire from Congress at the end of this term,” said Matthew Kochevar, Indiana Young Democrats National Committee Representative and former Visclosky intern. “Growing up in Northwest Indiana, I have seen first hand the hard work Congressman Visclosky has done to improve the quality of life for the people in his district and throughout Indiana. Visclosky serves as a great example to young Democrats of what it means to be an effective representative and voice for the people.” 

The Indiana Young Democrats are bringing speakers and panelists from across Indiana and even working with national partners like Run for Something, Rust Belt Rising, and Planned Parenthood to hold this virtual event June 20. Over 225 attendees are expected, with Pete Buttigieg, Christina Hale, and Josh Owens being one of a robust line-up of high-profile speakers and trainings.

Carson and Visclosky will address the attendees beginning at 11:30 a.m. More information about the convention is available online at the Indiana Young Democrats Convention website.



June 12th, 2020

Former Gubernatorial Candidate will share his story with young Hoosier Democrats


INDIANAPOLIS, IN — The Indiana Young Democrats (IYD) announced today that Former Gubernatorial Candidate and businessman Josh Owens will speak at the 2020 Indiana Young Democrats Virtual State Convention. 


Owens is an entrepreneur, educator, & community activist. Former CEO of SupplyKick, a company that develops digital strategies for retailers, Josh put Hoosiers first with a minimum $50,000 salary for all team members as the company grew rapidly. Last September, he announced he would seek the Democratic nomination for governor. He is the first openly gay major party candidate to do so in the state’s history. Josh developed the leading plan to increase pay for all Hoosier teachers and fought for universal background checks, criminal justice reform, cannabis legalization, and climate justice.


“Josh Owens is new and fresh voice in our party. We are thrilled to have him join us virtually on June 20,” said Arielle Brandy, President of Indiana Young Democrats. “ After running a historic campaign committed to fighting for a better Indiana,  we  can’t wait for him to share his story and inspire young Democrats to run and win elections in our state. 


“The Indiana Young Democrats are the voices and leaders that will help flip Indiana blue. I’m excited to join IYD at their virtual convention and talk about the hope I saw from Hoosiers while traveling across Indiana this last year. We are ready for change and inclusive leadership that reflect the values of all Hoosiers, and the young Dems are leading the charge for the democratic party in our state.said Josh Owens.


Josh is a founding board member of Vote Safe Indiana, working to expand vote by mail for all Hoosiers, and the Orr Fellowship, working to keep college graduates in Indiana. Owens is married to his husband, Andy Owens. He graduated from Wabash College and earned a master’s degree at London School of Economics. He was raised in Shelbyville and previously worked at  Angie’s List and One Click Ventures. He’s also taught economics and statistics at Butler. 


The Indiana Young Democrats are bringing speakers and panelists from across Indiana and even working with national partners like Run for Something, Rust Belt Rising, and Planned Parenthood to hold this virtual event June 20. Over 200 attendees are expected, with Pete Buttigieg, Christina Hale, and Josh Owens being one of a robust line-up of high-profile speakers and trainings.


Owens will introduce the convention headliner, Pete Buttigieg during the General Session beginning at 10:00 a.m. More information about the convention is available online at the Indiana Young Democrats Convention website.




June 10th, 2020

Young Dems across the state gearing up for training

INDIANAPOLIS, IN — The Indiana Young Democrats (IYD) announced today that Former Candidate for President and Mayor of South Bend, Indiana Pete Buttigieg will headline at the 2020 Indiana Young Democrats Virtual State Convention later this month. 

The June 20 event will be IYD’s first virtual convention in its history and a chance for Buttigieg to address young people in his home state after his run for President of the United States. In April 2019 he announced his candidacy for president and in February 2020 won the Iowa Caucuses, becoming the first openly gay person to ever win a presidential primary or caucus.

“We are thrilled to announce that Mayor Pete will join us virtually on June 20. After running a historic campaign for President seeking to represent an unheard generation of voices, Mayor Pete can speak directly to young Democratic leaders looking to make change right now across our country,” said Arielle Brandy, President of Indiana Young Democrats, former Indiana State Director for Pete for America and South Bend native. “Mayor Pete has long been a supporter of the Indiana Young Democrats, and our organization is honored to welcome him back home for the 2020 Indiana Young Democrats State Convention, for the first time online. IYD longs for leaders like Pete who brings with him the new perspective of our generation.” 

“In every pivotal moment in our nation’s history, progress came because of young people leading movements, demanding action, and driving change in their communities. I’m honored to join the Indiana Young Democrats for their annual convention as we channel our energy into action and work to elect next-generation leaders who reflect the priorities, diversity, and experiences we need to meet the moment.”, said Pete Buttigieg.

The Indiana Young Democrats are bringing speakers and panelists from across Indiana and even working with national partners like Run for Something, Rust Belt Rising, and Planned Parenthood to hold this virtual event June 20. Over 125 attendees are expected, with Pete Buttigieg being one of a robust line-up of high-profile speakers and trainings. Last week, IYD announced that Former State Representative and Candidate for Congressional District 5, Christina Hale will also speak. 

Buttigieg will headline the General Session beginning at 10:30 a.m. Registration for the convention is available online at the Indiana Young Democrats Convention website.