FEBRUARY 7 · PUBLIC
Featured in the South Jersey Young Democrats Newsletter, Burlington County Young Democrats President Stephen J. Steglik, pens a letter to Legacy Democrats and Millennial Democrats about how they can strengthen the Party.
“We are on the verge of a great blue wave coming, not just to Washington, but for local office as well. The Democratic Party has an opportunity to show voters their options while strengthening the party for generations to come. Now, not later, is the opportune time to blend the party with the experience and history of the legacy Democrats with the youth, energy, and passion of the new generation. Many millennials view politics as an opportunity to become agents of change, but so many of us often feel excluded from the conversation. We are asked to knock on doors and make phone calls for candidates, but when a young Democrat voices their intention to seek office it is met with a timeline far later than one would like.
To the legacy Dems, mentor us. Show us the ropes. The do’s and don’ts of the political world by adding us to the Democratic committee while reserving an opportunity to run for office ourselves. The future is arriving whether we like it or not, show us how to do things the proper way and we will continue to grow and stay loyal to those that mentored us from the beginning. We can only learn from your wisdom, which I believe is the most valuable commodity in politics.
With every new local race, add a young Democrat to the mix. One that is hardworking, hungry, and will fight for the change that so many of our communities need. One Burlington County town, Delran, did this extraordinarily well by adding one of our young Democrats to their township council in 2016. Councilman Tyler Burrell, 21 years old, has continued to hustle and make his presence known thanks to Council President Gary Catrambone. Through Gary’s wisdom, Tyler now serves his community with the experience and understanding of someone far beyond his years. Building the bench while putting young people in leadership roles will be the most valuable strategy to our party. Now it must be said, opportunity is not to be handed to us – we must work for it. For the new, millennial Democrats, you have to earn your stripes. How do you do this? Show up, work hard, and make it known you are there to serve. I’ve been involved in Burlington County politics since 2013, campaigning (canvassing, phone banking, fundraising) for our committee ticket as well as local candidates every election cycle throughout the county. Maple Shade, Evesham, Mount Laurel, Medford, Riverside, Palmyra, Westampton – I have been all over the county talking to voters about our great candidates time and time again. On many occasions I would be the only person, regardless of age, to show up for our candidates. That’s how you earn their trust and appreciation.
Furthermore, if you are hungry to run that's great but do it the right way. Get involved in your local committee, do not primary your own neighbors, and make it known you see the big picture. Work hard for the party and be of service.
Now more than ever, the Democrats need an injection of youth. We can be your greatest strength, but in return we ask for real mentorship, real guidance, and a seat at the table. If we do things right, we can have a well-functioning farm system of potential elected officials ready to provide real, positive change for constituents.” -Stephen J. Steglik, Burlington County Young Democrats President
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