Our Trip to the U.S.

In September and October, MCYD was proud to help host four youth leaders from Denmark as they volunteered for President Obama in Virginia & Pennsylvania, and for marriage equality here in Maryland. Below is a guest blog post from the Social-Liberal Youth of Denmark’s International Officer Henrik Andersen!

Hey guys!

August Bundegaard Aggebo, Ditte Søndergaard, Henrik Morsing Andersen and Mads Bay volunteer in Silver Spring.

My name is Henrik and I am the International Officer of The Social-Liberal Youth of Denmark. In September and October I spent a couple of weeks – alongside the President, the Head of Secretariat and the Campaigns Officer of our organization – in Maryland, Pennsylvania, D.C. and New York volunteering in and following some of the work you guys did in the Obama campaign.

So first of all: Congratulations! We have been anxiously following the presidential election ever since we returned to Denmark. What a relief that Obama was reelected! And with such a wide margin. You can be proud of yourselves – good job!

We learned a lot during our stay in the U.S. We were surprised, intrigued and (we have to admit) a bit confused by the way you run a campaign in the States. So you might be interested in some of the differences between what we experience at home and what we experienced visiting you guys.

President Ditte Søndergaard at the Marylanders for Marriage Equality office in Silver Spring
First of all, you guys have fixed election dates – we don’t. There has to be an election every four years but in the four year term, the prime minister can at any time call for an election. Therefore, our campaigns usually last no longer than three weeks – which we find is more than enough. How you guys pull off several months of hardcore campaigning is still a mystery to us. We are impressed.

Secondly, every single citizen in Denmark is automatically a registered voter. The average percentage of turn-out for a parliamentary election is well into the 80’s. Therefore, it surprised us how much time you guys spent getting out the vote and activating potential supporters.

Thirdly, it was interesting taking part in a campaign where the margin of undecided voters was as small as it appeared to be in this election. We spent a lot of time phone banking, canvassing and finding potential supporters. The use of canvassing and phone banking is very little in Denmark and the openness of the voters was a bit surprising.

In general we had a very nice trip and we tried to contribute as much as possible. We learned a lot and still got to see the “mandatory” touristy stuff. So once again: Thank you very much for giving us this opportunity!

MCYD Members at WUSA 9

Member Valeria Carranza at the 9 News Now studio

On Thursday, August 30th, MCYD members Aaron Kaufman, Valeria Carranza, Abe Saffer, Laurie-Anne Sayles and Chris Bradbury, visited the WUSA 9 NewsNow studios to watch Governor Romney accept the Republican nomination for President, and provide their reactions to his speech to be shown on the eleven o’clock news.

Featured in the video, Aaron Kaufman says something many Americans wanted from the speech saying, “I want to hear about polices, not warm and fuzzy tired phrases.”

You can see the full news clip here.



Press Release: Young Democrats Testify in Support of County Ballot Issues

Ben Feshbach, speaking here at the Paint the County Blue Fundraiser, testified from a student's perspective on the DREAM Act at the hearing.

The Montgomery County Young Democrats’ (MCYD) testified Wednesday night at the Montgomery County Democratic Party’s Ballot Questions Advisory Committee (BQAC) to weigh in on what issues are most important to them for inclusion on the Party’s sample ballot.

MCYD members Abe Saffer, Ben Feshbach and Jay Wilson offered arguments in support of marriage equality, the DREAM Act, and maintaining effects bargaining for county police officers.

Communications Director Abe Saffer voiced his strong support for marriage equality telling a personal story about his experience with the issue, and debunking the myth that same-sex marriage destroys marriage between a man and a woman, saying, “Ann Romney said ‘her and Mitt have a real marriage.’ Given that six states currently allow same sex marriage, means they don’t have a real marriage, or same sex marriage doesn’t destroy anything.”

MCYD Youth Rights Chair Ben Feshbach was joined by his father Rabbi Michael Feshbach in testifying for two of the state’s most heated ballot issues, marriage equality and the DREAM Act. Ben testified that, “this is economically beneficial, this is socially beneficial, and it is the right thing to do. As a student and as a Young Democrat, I strongly urge a vote for the DREAM Act.”

Member Jay Wilson shared why, as a son of a police officer, he supports policies that protected the widest scope of collective bargaining rights. In his testimony Wilson argued “if we continue to roll back these rights, it is guaranteed that we will weaken our strong middle class and our party here, just as it has happened across our country.”

“As young people, we are deeply concerned about the future these policies are creating for us,” said MCYD Issues Chair Nik Sushka. “Are we going to be neighbors that support equal rights? Are we going to be a community that educates every young person, and provides them with opportunities and skills to make our communities a better place? Are we going to protect our first responders with adequate funding, benefits, and collective bargaining rights? We certainly hope so, because we’re the ones who’ll be living here for the next 30 or 40 years.”

The three hours of testimony to the BQAC resulted in affirmative votes for all three of the MCYD’s positions. The organization will continue to support these initiatives, as well as all Montgomery County Democrats running for election or re-election, through November with weekly phone banks, debates and presentations, and canvassing.


MCYD with Rep. Chris Van Hollen

Paint the County Blue

On Saturday, August 25th, we hosted our annual Paint the County Blue fundraiser. Hosted by Dr. Jean Bailey, a member of President Obama’s national finance committee, the event was a huge success. The MCYD presented Jon Randall of Obama for American with the Dorothy Davidson award, and Karen Britto with the Young Democrat-for-Life award for their outstanding work on behalf of Democrats in Montgomery County.

Joining us in the celebration were some amazing speakers, including:

• Congressman Chris Van Hollen
• Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown
• Attorney General Doug Gansler
• Maryland State Democratic Party Chair
• Maryland’s 6th Congressional District Democratic Nominee John Delany

Additionally, over 25 local elected officials attended, as well as one surprise guest: Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson.

At the end of the day, we raised over $15,000 to help us support our elected officials and priorities for the election.

Check out the pictures from our great event.

md dream act 2

Guest Post: Help Spread the Truth about the Maryland DREAM Act

The following post was written by MCYD member Javel “Jay” Wilson, who is serving as the Issue Committee’s liaison to the state-wide Educating Maryland Kids:

How would you feel if after graduating high school you were not able to fulfill your college dreams and have a chance to embark upon a career doing something you love? Most of us would probably feel awful! Unfortunately many graduating Maryland high school students experience this discouraging feeling because current laws make achieving their educational dreams almost unattainable. This current situation is unacceptable and needs to be changed. It not only affects our Maryland high school students but the whole state.

Based on the lack of fairness in the current laws, I have decided to ensure that all Maryland kids have equal opportunity to pursue their dreams of higher education by advocating for the Maryland DREAM Act. Each student that I have met whose life is affected by the Maryland DREAM Act increases my motivation to make sure this important legislation passes the ballot referendum this November.

To better prepare myself in advocating for the Maryland DREAM Act, I recently attended Maryland DREAM Ambassador Training given by the non-partisan alliance Action in Montgomery. This training helped prepare me for dealing with many of the misconceptions and oppositions that people have regarding Maryland Dream Act.  The training has further increased my motivation and desire to make a difference in ensuring that all Maryland Kids have equal opportunities.

We must collectively take action and ensure The Maryland DREAM Act passes this November! The Maryland DREAM Act provides equitable educational opportunities to all Maryland students.  It helps make needed change and provides increased educational opportunities that may not have otherwise been unattainable.

We need your help to spread the truth and facts about the Maryland DREAM Act, who it affects and why it is good for Maryland.

MCYD Members please sign up to be a DREAM Ambassador at today and help make a change!

Javel “Jay” Wilson

Obama Banner Vote

Register by October 16th to vote in the general!

In order to vote in the 2012 general election, you must be a registered by October 16th.

Need to Register, or Change Your Address?

Register online here.

Or  stop by any one of these permanent voter registration sites:

  •  Mont. County Post Offices
  •  Mont. County Public Libraries
  •  Mont. County Public Schools
  •  Mont. College Campuses
  •  Mont. County Government Regional Services Centers
  •  Mont. County Community Health Centers
  •  Mont. County Aging and Disability Services
  •  Mont. County MVA Offices
  •  Mont. County Licensing
  •  Mont. County Register of Wills

Where and When Do I Vote?

Early voting is from Saturday, October 27, 2012 through Thursday, November 1, 2012.

Election Day is Tuesday November 6th from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

For voting on Election Day – find your polling location here.

To vote by absentee ballot – fill out an application form here.

For early voting, you can vote at any one of the following locations:

  • Bauer Drive Community Recreation Center
    14625 Bauer Drive Rockville, 20853
  • Germantown Community Recreation Center
    18905 Kingsview Road Germantown, 20874
  • Marilyn J. Praisner Community Recreation Center
    14906 Old Columbia Pike Burtonsville, 20866
  • Silver Spring Civic Building
    8525 Fenton Street Silver Spring, 20910
  • Executive Office Building
    101 Monroe Street Rockville, 20850

If you have any additional questions, call 240-777-VOTE.

Guest Post: Justice for Students in America and the MD DREAM Act

This is a guest post from Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer. He attended our May Membership Meeting featuring DREAM Act advocates Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez, Flavia Jimenez (National Immigration Forum), Shola Ajayi (CASA de Maryland), Travis Tazelaar (Educating Maryland’s Kids) and students from Justice for Students in America.

Justice for Students in America and the MD DREAM Act

A presentation I recently heard from a group of young activists with Justice for Students in America (@thejsamovement on twitter) was one of the most powerful ten minutes of dialogue about politics I ever witnessed.  These students, each of them undocumented, described their struggles as high achieving young people who wanted to go to college and could have that door closed to them if the DREAM Act does not pass.

The MD DREAM Act, to remind those who aren’t familiar, allows undocumented students who are succeeding in public school in Maryland to attend college here without having to pay out-of-state tuition, which would be prohibitively expensive for many.  A referendum on the Act will be on the ballot in November.

The JSA movement, which I know is involved in educating voters on the issue, looks similar to me in many ways to the kind of youth movement I saw three years ago when I served as President Obama’s National Youth Vote Director. I think about those high school students in Iowa who spent every weeknight and every Saturday and Sunday in a campaign office, going out knocking on doors, making phone calls, talking to their friends, wearing t-shirts, wearing buttons, making the idea of getting involved in President Obama’s campaign to change the world – a cause. A true cause for young people in that state; and when the young people in that state won, the President won.

I would love to see Justice for Students in America chapters getting organized on the high school campuses all around Maryland, and I believe that JSA is working on that goal.

This Dream Act campaign is about education and the values that the younger generation is bringing to our country today. It would not really be possible to have a chance for victory if the demographics of our country were not changing so rapidly and our community’s values changing right along with them.

May’s Report from the President

President’s Report
Thursday, May 24th

Legal Status:

  • We’ve completed the first checkpoint to becoming a legal organization. We are now officially registered with the IRS and the State of Maryland, have an official seal and can set up an associated bank account.


  •  Funds raised: $300 from Aisha Satterwhite, $250 from Ben Kramer, $250 from Nancy Floreen, Sheila Hixson $250
  • Coupled with other donations and membership dues, we have raised over $1,000 this month and are now at $1,225.49


  • 73 confirmed members as of 5/24/2012
  • +10 new paid members this month going into our Obama membership promotion

Names of New Dues-Paying Members:

  • Scott Goldberg (Renewal)
  • Andrew Goodwin
  • Aaron Kaufman
  • Ben Goldstein Smith
  • Ben Feshbach
  • Kate Planco
  • Jay Wilson
  • Laurie Anne Sayles
  • Jorge Vargas
  • Christopher Austin

Other positives:

  • We released a full-page statement on Obama’s marriage equality announcement (beating HRC + the Governor’s office), which was picked up by Maryland Juice and Patch
  • Members Max Etin, Laurie Anne Sayles & Matt Nisenoff attended a day-long Congressional Tour and met with Congress Members Sarbanes, Cummings and Ruppersberger
  • Members Valeria Carranza, Aisha Satterwhite, Dave Kunes and Nik Sushka were invited to an HRC Marriage Equality Celebration with WA Governor Chris Gregoire and MD Governor Martin O’Malley
  • Members attended with Cong. Sarbanes the Maryland Democratic Party Gala for free
  • Members attended the Young Democrats of Maryland fundraiser
  • The Issues Committee hosted an outing attended by members Barbara Henderson, Evan Greenfield, Katie Mullen, Dave Kunes, and Nik Sushka to the NARAL film and panel discussion “12th & Delaware”



Want to get more involved? Help MCYD make a difference!

Four important updates for our issue areas!

1. Marylanders for Marriage Equality urgently needs donations/loans for its Baltimore and Silver Spring offices. Email David Turley ASAP: and share a picture with us of your donation!

  • -Tables
  • -Chairs
  • -Desks
  • -Phones
  • -Computers
  • -Refrigerators
  • -Trash cans
  • -Printers
  • -Photocopiers
  • -Extension Cords
  • -Power Strips

2. Educating MD Kids (the DREAM Act coalition) will be conducting trainings for volunteers able to present their message to organizations of likely voters (PTAs, democratic clubs, etc…). Attend the May 24th Membership Meeting to learn more.

3. Montgomery Women do a First Friday Power Breakfast the 1st Friday of every month. Attend June 1st’s and meet other emerging and existing leaders in the county.

4. Get out the Youth Vote:
Know anyone coming home for the summer? Remind them to register for an absentee ballot! Want to actually register voters yourself? You need to get certified!

DaveLarryYDMConvention2012 with Obama Signs
Help MCYD get out the vote!
Membership Meeting

Send comments for the Bylaws revision by May 17th!

Membership Meeting

A call to action from Matt Nisenoff, one of MCYD’s co-chairs of the Bylaws Committee:

I am involved with the Montgomery County Young Democrats because I believe that action counts. Being involved in the political process is a civic duty which I take pride in. I also find it fun to do. I am quite humbled and pleased to be asked to co-chair the Bylaws Committee. I hope that my experience in helping with this process with other Democratic groups will be of some value to the MCYD. Of course, I need your help. In the democratic tradition of openness, I am relying on you, my fellow members, to make the Bylaws process a successful one.

Review the Bylaws and submit your comments here: