Helping lift up young voices.
The Indiana Young Democrats (IYD) is the official youth arm of the Indiana Democratic Party and the official state-chartered unit affiliated with the Young Democrats of America (YDA). Founded as the Young Democrats of Indiana in March of 1932, IYD has existed since the beginning of the young Democrat movement that was spurred on by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Indiana Governor Paul V. McNutt (1933-1937).
Over the decades IYD members have served in helping elect many Democrats to public office and served in their administration. Those who have been elected with the help of young Democrats include Governor Paul V. McNutt and Frank O’Bannon (1997-2003), U.S. Senator Birch Bayh (1963-1981), Indiana Secretary of State Larry Conrad (1970-1978), and State Senator J.D. Ford (2018-present). IYD was also instrumental in helping Robert Kennedy win the 1968 Indiana Democratic Primary, the first major test of the New York Senator in his presidential campaign.
Recently IYD played a major role fighting to get many young Democrats elected to public office. In the 2019 municipal election nearly 80 of the approximately 120 young Democrat candidates on the ballot were elected to city and town office including many that make up the largest Democratic majority on the Indianapolis City County Council in city history.
Additionally, IYD has had the honor of hosting the young Democrats national convention three times. The first was in 1937 in Indianapolis, just five years after both IYD and the Young Democrats of America was founded. The next was in 1993 in Merrillville under the leadership of future State Representative Dan Stevenson where nearly 500 attendees gathered and then DNC chair David Wilhelm spoke at the convention. The YDA national convention returned to Indiana in 2019 when a group of young Democrats lead by IYD President Derek Camp successfully brought the convention to Indianapolis.
IYD members throughout the decades have also led on the national stage. The following have served in executive office on the Young Democrats of America, the national young Democratic organization:
Jordie D. Lewis – Secretary – 1941
Howard L. Whitecotton – Executive Secretary – 1951
Robert Pastrick – Board of Regional Directors Chair – 1961
Aldana Vellutini – Vice President – 1965
John D. Bottoroof – Secretary – 1967
Mindy Young – Executive Director – 1989
Jim Waltz – Vice President for Student & Youth Affairs – 1991
OUNG“I think what this group is doing, and what’s important, is to articulate an agenda important to young people“
David Wilhelm, Former DNC Chair – 1993
GETS IT“That shows (what happens) when you get good people involved and you get young people enthused … working at the grassroots level fighting for what we believe in.“
Evan Bayh, Former Governor – 1993
DONE“We can make a difference if we assert ourselves and make the decision that we’re going to be leaders now … we can really have an impact on our country and its political decisions.“
Dennis Eagle, Former YDA President -1993