Indiana Young Democrats leader wins big at Young Democrats of America National Convention


Aug 17th, 2021

Win 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), came back with some wins after a delegation of 21 members attended the 2021 Young Democrats of America Convention in Cinncinati, Ohio this past weekend where over 600 young Democrats gathered from across the country.

President and former Pete Buttigieg Indiana state director Arielle Brandy was elected Secretary of the national group receiving 86% of the vote after joining a slate of young progressives called YDA Reimagined. This marks the first time a candidate from Indiana has held the position of secretary since 1967.

“Over the last eight months, I have had the honor of connecting with state Presidents, National Committee representatives, and members of Young Democrats all over the country to earn their support. After a landslide victory, I am ready to step into national leadership and take YDA to the next level! I cannot wait to serve alongside some of the most talented YDs in the country. Our members will run for office, our state and territory chapters will grow stronger, and our message as young progressives will be clear,” stated Arielle Brandy, President of Indiana Young Democrats.

YDA Reimagined is 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.”

“I am really excited about the opportunity to work alongside leaders like Arielle Brandy as YDA charts a new path forward by building and investing in strategic partnerships with our state, territorial, and local affiliates. Together, we are ready to forge an organization that is bold, courageous, and unapologetic,” says Quentin Wathum-Ocama, the newly elected President of Young Democrats of America.

Brandy wasn’t the only one to take home a win.

Vice President, James Wells of IYD and former candidate for Vice-Chair of the Indiana Democratic Party, was elected Deputy Director of the Great Lakes Region of the Young Democrats of America, including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Zach Shartiag of West Lafayette was elected President of the YDA Jewish Caucus.
Matthew Kochevar, National Committeeman of IYD, was Convention Rules Chair of the YDA convention.

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, recently won a bid for chair of the Indiana Democratic Party.

The organization is preparing for the 2022 election cycle by reaching out to past candidates and recruiting progressive young Democrats across the state.

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.

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