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NYSYD Supports Governor Cuomo’s Excelsior Scholarship Program


The New York State Young Democrats (NYSYD) are proud to support Governor Cuomo’s plan to make college more affordable for all New Yorkers. This proposal, the Excelsior Scholarship, will provide free tuition for all two-year and four-year degrees at all schools within the SUNY (SUNY) and City University of New York (CUNY) systems – two of the largest public university systems in the nation.

Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled this initiative, the first of many prior to his State of the State addresses, alongside Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, on Tuesday, January 3, 2017 at LaGuardia Community College in Queens. The program will allow those making up to $125,000 per year to attend any CUNY and SUNY college tuition-free by paying the remaining costs not already covered by grants and scholarships.

“A college education is not a luxury – it is an absolute necessity for any chance at economic mobility, and with these first-in-the-nation Excelsior Scholarships, we’re providing the opportunity for New Yorkers to succeed, no matter what zip code they come from and without the anchor of student debt weighing them down,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement.

“Governor Cuomo has presented a solid plan to make college more affordable for all New Yorkers,” said Mike Corbett, President of the New York State Young Democrats. “The Excelsior Scholarship program will allow anyone who attends a SUNY or CUNY school to do so without the burden of debt upon graduation. As a result, the dream of a quality college education will become a reality for almost one million middle-class families. This proposal is another example of New York State setting the tone for the nation and we thank the Governor for his leadership on this issue.”

A similar plan to pay the tuition for all CUNY and SUNY students who agree to live in New York State for five years following graduation and perform a requisite number of hours per year of community service had been previously introduced by Assemblyman James Skoufis, NYSYD‘s 2016 Young Elected of the Year, in 2014. The Governor’s plan seems to draw on and expand that idea.

“I am extremely encouraged to see the Governor join our three-year effort to enact free tuition at our public colleges. For so many New Yorkers, the snowballing cost of a higher education has meant drowning in student debt for over a decade; for countless more, it serves as an outright roadblock,” said Assemblyman Skoufis (D-Woodbury). “Our students and families cannot wait any longer. Now’s the time for the Governor and Legislature to come together and heed the call from our families to live up to SUNY’s and CUNY‘s original promise: a truly affordable and high-quality experience. Let’s get it done in 2017.”

NYSYD is committed to making this plan a reality to improve the economic well-being of its current and future members. The organization calls on the members of the New York State Legislature to draft and pass a bill with the proper funding mechanisms to see this through to send to the Governor’s desk for his signature in time for the 2017-2018 academic year.

In this new global economy, a well-educated workforce has become necessary for continued growth. According to the U.S. Department of Education, employees with a bachelor’s degree typically earn 66% more than those with a high school diploma over their lifetimes.

Today, an increasing number of jobs require a college degree for entry-level work. Additionally, student loans has become the second-largest form of consumer debt and, from private lenders, can have an annual interest rate as high as 13%. This situation is preventing a new generation of laborers from entering the workforce with a decent wage and, in turn, money to contribute to the economy.

“As a college student, I applaud this proposal to make higher education more attainable,” said College Democrats of New York (CDNY) President Kevin Kowaleski. “Hundreds of thousands of middle-class and working-class New Yorkers attend SUNY and CUNY institutions, and they understand that this issue is of critical importance. For many current and prospective college students, lower costs could make the difference between realizing their full potential and falling short of their dreams. It’s time for New York to invest in our students and lead the nation on college affordability.”

Having the support of Senator Sanders, who made college affordability a hallmark of his 2016 Presidential Campaign, is testament to how this plan is something every state can model and be a catalyst to finally making college affordable nationwide.

The New York State Young Democrats is the official youth arm of the New York State Democratic Committee. It represents Democrats between the ages of 16-36 living in all of New York’s 62 counties.

Statement on the Passing of Daniel Friedman


This morning, former Ramapo Councilman Daniel Friedman passed away at the age of 30.

A young man passionate about public policy, Dan began his career at the age of 15 when he interned in the New York State Assembly. He later went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in government and a master’s degree in public policy from Pace University.

Daniel Friedman served on the Ramapo Town Council from 2010 to 2016 –first appointed to fill a vacancy and later elected to a full term. At 24, he then was the youngest elected official in Rockland County and the youngest councilman in the history of the Town of Ramapo.

Dan also was instrumental in the reconstitution of the Rockland County Young Democrats and served as its one-time President.

“Dan was a person with a tremendous heart who cared deeply about our community,” said Joseph Coe, President of the Rockland County Young Democrats. “Also ready to pitch in, he was a fiercely intelligent man who dedicated his life to improving Rockland. We will not forget you Dan.”

“We are deeply saddened upon hearing of the passing of Daniel Friedman, who was one of our own,” said New York State Young Democrats President Mike Corbett. “In addition to becoming an elected official at only 24 years of age, Dan was one of the founding members of the Rockland County Young Democrats. Without the hard work of Dan, amongst others, that chapter might not exist today. We want to offer condolences to the family and friends of Daniel Friedman in this difficult time.”

“Daniel Friedman politics aside cared deeply about the Town of Ramapo and the County of Rockland and showed it on a daily basis whether through his work at the County Legislature or during his free time helping non-profits,” Christopher Smith and Amanda Roman, Co-President Emeriti of the Rockland County Young Democrats jointly said. “He will be sorely missed by all of us.”

Following his tenure with the Ramapo Town Board, Dan Friedman continued to serve his community as a Constituent Service Representative in the Rockland County Legislature and as an adjunct professor at SUNY Rockland Community College.

Happy Holidays from NYSYD


The New York State Young Democrats wishes you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Hanukkah.

During this season of perpetual hope, let us look to unite to grow as a party and a nation.

See you in 2017!

2016 Campaign Season Recap


The numbers speak for themselves.

Doors knocked: 561,551
Calls Made: 1,311,300
Positive Identifications: 104,608
Volunteer Shifts: 1,347

That is what the New York State Young Democrats and their county chapters were able to do this year on Campaigns. Though the fruits of our labor were not as sweet as we wish they had been, we have worked harder and smarter than we ever have before – the impact of young dems speaks for itself.

Our work as a organization puts us in the same league as some of the largest unions and the numbers they are able to produce to support Democrats running for office. Through continued work and organization is my belief the issues of Young Democrats will continued to pushed forward within the Democratic party platform.

I would like to thank the leadership of the board under President Michael Corbett and Executive Vice President Tom Meier for making such Campaign efforts possible. And to thank all Young Democrats for their support in executing the campaign plan I had out together nearly 2 years ago that has led to this moment – in this holiday season all I have is thanks to give and hope for our next campaign cycle.

2016 Convention Promises Continued Growth For The New York State Young Democrats

New Executive Board Promises Democratic Party Wins In November


The New York State Young Democrats convened in Bronx, NY from May 20th through May 22th to elect a new Executive Board, marking a continued commitment for building the Democratic Party New York and engaging young Democrats across New York State. The new Executive Board officers and caucus chairs are:

  • President: Michael Corbett (Manhattan)
  • Executive Vice President: Tom Meier (Westchester)
  • Treasurer: Amanda Pizzuti (Brooklyn)
  • Secretary: Lauren Bailey (Albany)
  • National Committeeman: Sam Hudis (Manhattan)
  • National Committeewoman: Stacey Eliuk (Queens)
  • Legal Director: Dusan Lakic (Westchester)
  • Downstate Region Vice President: Patrick Jordan (Queens)
  • Hudson Valley Region Vice President Alex Roithmayr (Westchester)
  • Capital Region Vice President: T.J. Kennedy (Rensselaer)
  • Chair of Council of Presidents: Dylan Miyoshi (Dutchess)
  • Caucus of Color: Jovan Richards (Westchester)
  • Disability Issues: Seamus Campbell (Brooklyn)
  • High School Co-Chairs: Sarah Shamoon (Manhattan) and Hannah Zimmerman (Manhattan)
  • Jewish Caucus: Brent Weitzberg (Queens)
  • Labor Caucus: Christina Isnardi (Manhattan)
  • LGBT Caucus: Austin Markford (Manhattan)
  • Rural Caucus Co-Chairs: Paolo Cemedis (Chemung) and John Midwood (Dutchess)
  • Women’s Caucus: Marcia Grippen (Broome)

In addition to selecting new leadership, the organization adopted a number of reforms to how its structure. Most notably, a change to hold conventions in odd-numbered years as to ensure better coordination with the state and national parties.

“I am honored to be the first person in over a decade to be elected as President of the New York State Young Democrats for a second term,” said President Michael Corbett. “For the past two years, we have seen NYSYD become a more stable and trusted organization, both to our local chapters and the State Democratic Party. I cannot stress how vital this has been in ensuring that we take back Congress, the New York State Senate and, most importantly, keeping the White House this November. And we have already seen this with the election of Todd Kaminsky last month. While we still have a long way to go, I could not ask this endeavor.”

NYSYD Responds to Homophobic Young Republican Blog Post


I must express my disappointment on the recent post on the New York Young Republican Club (NYYRC) blog. In the article, the author was angry that the rainbow flag, a longstanding symbol of the LGBT movement, was hanging at a United States Embassy abroad. Although I would not be surprised if the Tea Party elements of the GOP expressed such views, I am quite shocked that the author was a member of my age group, one which, regardless of political affiliation, tends to be more tolerant of our differences.

According to the author, the problem stemmed from a friend of his visiting the American Embassy in London. While there, the friend took a photo of two rainbow flags draped near the entrance. While I agree such a showing might ruffle some feathers in certain parts of the world, let me reiterate that this was London. Why is this an important fact? Since March 13, legalized same-sex marriage is the law of the land in England.

The author also seemed upset that the rainbow flag flew at another embassy, but that country is Israel, where a 2009 poll shows that 61 percent support same-sex nuptials, a higher percentage than in recent surveys here in America, where 55 percent of respondents favor legal gay marriage.

The author added his objection to the high number of gay ambassadors who have been appointed by President Obama. To be honest, I didn’t know whether any of our diplomats were gay. That’s because the sexual orientation of our ambassadors is completely irrelevant to me. The only thing I care about is whether they are qualified to represent the United States abroad. Furthermore, to invoke the name of the late Christopher Stevens in this bigoted diatribe is unconscionable. It almost seems as if the author is insinuating that Ambassador Stevens was killed because he was gay.

Anyway, the post from the NYYRC blog has been removed. I am hopeful that, regardless of political affiliation, my generation will continue to strive for equality for all Americans.

New York State Young Democrats Congratulate Democratic National Committee for Moving to America’s Labor Bank


NEW YORK, NY, August 13, 2012: Today, the New York State Young Democrats (NYSYD) congratulated the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and its chair, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), for deciding last Friday to transfer its day-to-day banking needs to Amalgamated Bank, known widely as “America’s Labor Bank”. Last month, NYSYD transferred its own funds to Amalgamated Bank and has since been advocating for other chapters to follow suit.

“It is a proud day when NYSYD can say we helped lead the charge for organizations as prominent as the Democratic National Committee,” said Glenn Oldhoff, president of NYSYD. “Building a stronger New York and a stronger America requires responsible banking partners who prioritize the value of our working families. I thank Chair Wasserman-Schultz and the entire DNC for joining us at Amalgamated and for making a loud statement about the value of our party’s future. Our bankrolls are more Main Street than Wall Street, and so are our values.”

“Amalgamated Bank is pleased to be the bank for the New York State Young Democrats Political Action Committee and to join with the state’s young Democrats in their efforts to elect candidates who support the agenda of working families.” said Ed Grebow, Amalgamated Bank’s president and CEO, at the time of last month’s announcement. “Young Democrats are the future leaders of the Democratic Party and of our nation. Providing banking services to organizations like theirs is consistent with the Bank’s mission of supporting organizations aiming to improve the lives of workers in New York State and across the country. The New York State Young Democrats join a growing chorus of non-profit groups, labor unions and progressive organizations who are choosing to bank with an institution that supports the agenda of the 99% and we are proud to have their business.”

Established in 1923 by the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, Amalgamated Bank continues the progressive traditions of its founders as the only union-owned bank in the United States. Chartered by New York State, Amalgamated Bank is an FDIC insured commercial bank with $4.2 billion in assets.

The New York State Young Democrats are the official youth arm of the New York State Democratic Committee. They represent Democrats between the ages of 16-36 living in all of New York’s 62 counties.

New York State Young Democrats Transfer Funds to America’s Labor Bank


Today, the New York State Young Democrats (NYSYD) transferred their funds to Amalgamated Bank, known widely as “America’s Labor Bank”. Established in 1923 by the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, Amalgamated Bank continues the progressive traditions of its founders as the only union-owned bank in the United States. Chartered by New York State, Amalgamated Bank is an FDIC insured commercial bank with $4.2 billion in assets.

NYSYD is putting its money where its heart is,” said Glenn Oldhoff, president of NYSYD. “Our bankroll is more Main Street than Wall Street, and so are our values. In a political reality where money equals speech, unfortunately far more than it should, our organization will speak loudly for a progressive future that holds hard working New Yorkers in its highest regard.”

“I am pleased with our selection of Amalgamated Bank as a new depository for NYSYD,” said Jon Reznick, treasurer of NYSYD. “We live in an era when most banks are struggling with their reputations as well as with their books, an era where everything connected with money is seen as a way of giving your values voice. We are lucky that the only union-owned bank in the United States has many branches conveniently located near the city of New York. Our funds will be kept at a bank which actually talks about its progressive traditions on its website, and their branch manager and team at the midtown branch already know who we are as customers.”

“Amalgamated Bank is pleased to be the bank for the New York State Young Democrats Political Action Committee and to join with the state’s young Democrats in their efforts to elect candidates who support the agenda of working families.” said Ed Grebow, Amalgamated Bank’s president and CEO. “Young Democrats are the future leaders of the Democratic Party and of our nation. Providing banking services to organizations like theirs is consistent with the Bank’s mission of supporting organizations aiming to improve the lives of workers in New York State and across the country. The New York State Young Democrats join a growing chorus of non-profit groups, labor unions and progressive organizations who are choosing to bank with an institution that supports the agenda of the 99% and we are proud to have their business.”

The New York State Young Democrats are the official youth arm of the New York State Democratic Committee. They represent Democrats between the ages of 16-36 living in all of New York’s 62 counties