ASU Young Democrats to select new executive board members

The ASU Young Democrats will have a new executive board, starting Dec. 2

Coming off of a turbulent election season, the Young Democrats at ASU will be seeing new faces on their executive board for the upcoming spring semester.

On Nov. 18, ASU students Zakary Ghali and Kanin Pruter were nominated for presidency of the club, and ASU students Jesse Avalos, Alexa Rodriguez and Ivy Ettenborough were nominated for vice presidency.

The club’s elections, which will be held Dec. 2., will be ran internally, and ballots will be given to club members who have attended a certain amount of meetings and have stayed current on their member dues, ASU Young Democrats President Austin Marshall said.

Presidential Ticket

Political science senior Zakary Ghali said he got his start in the Young Democrats by networking with Marshall and the club president who preceded him.

“I have come up in the club under those two guys — phenomenal guys, great leaders, and they’ve taught me everything that I know about leadership,” he said.

Ghali said he was inspired to run for the club’s presidency because of the changing political landscape and to help amplify student voices on many issues.

“I see myself running for president because I want to continue the legacy and to also help us transition into this new phase where I think a lot of our utility is going to be changing, especially with the Trump administration,” he said. “We are going to be on point with our issues, and stay vocal about the national issues and how they apply to ASU.”

As far as internal changes go, Ghali said he wants to create a student coalition that can lobby on the state level.

“I want to build something of a coalition with the student body here, so that we can lobby at the state legislature,” he said. “I’ve worked in the state senate for two years, I’ve got a lot of experience about how it works, what kind of lobbying is successful, what isn’t and I have the support of the statewide Young Democrats.

Ghali also said he plans to integrate the club with the county and statewide chapters of Young Democrats and possibly get the club president a seat on the county board so a younger voice is more prominent during legislation.

Interdisciplinary Studies junior Kanin Pruter said he had experience working in multiple campaigns before he became fully involved with Young Democrats.

“I became involved with the Young Democrats when I first came to ASU as a freshman,” he said. “I was really involved with Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema’s campaign so I was kind of focusing outside of school at that point … after the 2014 election, I had founded Students for Hillary at ASU.

Pruter said he plans to instill a greater sense of diversity into the club by breaking the trend of straight, male presidents the club has usually seen.

“Being gay, I think it offers a little bit of a diversity there,” he said. “Those groups that may feel disenfranchised, I want to make sure their voices are heard and that they know they have a home some place on campus, and I want that to be Young Democrats, so with offering a little bit more diversity, I just want to really see more of an aggressive outreach.”

Pruter said if he becomes club president, he plans to implement a club internship program.

“I really want to focus internally ... and I really want to kind of tack on work to those positions … so that we can maybe start up and intern program with the Young Democrats,” he said.

Vice-presidential Ticket

Economics sophomore Jesse Avalos said he became involved with the club because of how welcoming it was.

“I stepped into the first meeting, and I just checked it out, and it was a very inclusive environment,” he said. “I started doing more events with them, and then through those events I ended up building a reputation of putting in the work for Young Democrats.”

Avalos said he wants to win vice presidency in order to help make ASU a diverse home for students who may feel disenfranchised.

“I’d like to hear other communities voices and seeing what they want to hear,” he said. “I would really like to be a part of pushing that initiative of hopefully making ASU a sanctuary university and basically doing more outreach for DACA students because that’s a very personal issue for me.”

Political science freshman Alexa Rodriguez said she became involved in the Young Democrats after being acquainted with Ghali and Pruter her freshman year and said running for vice presidency, win or lose, will help the club overall.

“We are made stronger by challenging each other's ideas and having more people running enables us to be more open to the people who are voting,” she said. “I felt that if I ran, even if I lost, it would help make us stronger.”

Rodriguez said she hopes to maintain the club’s productivity and reintroduce club initiatives that were put on the side because of the busy election year.

Aerospace engineering freshman Ivy Ettenborough said she became familiar with the club through fieldwork and internships during election season.

“In August, I saw a flyer at Barrett and I applied for an internship with the Young Democrats and Vote Now,” she said. “From August up until Nov. 8 I was either registering students on campus to vote or canvassing for the local Democratic candidates.”

Ettenborough said she plans to reach out and increase the amount of members in the club as well as general on-campus involvement.

“Personally, right now I think the club is doing a really good job, but I think what I would do differently is maybe try and get more on-campus involvement and try to up the numbers with what we have in the meetings currently."

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