August 17, 2006
For More Information Contact:
Katie Judd
Media Coordinator, NH Young Democrats

Youth Arm of the New Hampshire Democratic Party Increases Membership, Hosts Potential Presidential Candidates and Embraces the Excitement of New Hampshire Politics 

CONCORD, N.H.- If you've been hearing a buzz around the political scene about the New Hampshire Young Democrats (NHYD), it's no wonder.  Since January, the organization has elected new leadership, hosted three well-attended events with potential 2008 presidential candidates, increased membership by almost 100 percent and had a presence at almost every prestigious Democratic event in the state, including the 100 Club Dinner and the Governor's Spring Gala.

And there is even more to come, according to NHYD President Gray Chynoweth.  It's all part of a vision that aims to engage and involve young people in New Hampshire's political community

"We want to bring young people into the political process and help their voices and issues be heard," says Chynoweth, who was elected as the leader of the organization in January.  "Our events are a good forum for young people to build social and professional networks with folks who share their ideals and values.  And in the process, they might get to meet the next president of the United States.  In my opinion, that is pretty cool."

One such event was "Brunch with Bayh," a town hall-style event the NHYD hosted in March for U.S. Senator Even Bayh (D-Indiana) at the Portsmouth home of Justin Nadeau.  Senator Bayh mingled and discussed politics in a room of over 50 young Democrats that gathered to meet him over brunch.  The very next month, the NHYD gathered around for an afternoon cup of coffee with U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) in Manchester.

"Meeting Senator Kerry for coffee is not something you get to do every day, but these events are  characteristic of what we're doing to involve youth in the political process," says Chynoweth.  "Only a couple of weeks ago we were invited to sit down and talk politics with Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico.  The word got out that we have a good thing going on, and when potential presidential candidates are visiting New Hampshire, they don't want to miss the opportunity to sit down with us."

In addition to meeting with nationally-known political leaders and '08 contenders, the NH Young Democrats are aggressively building their membership base by having social events, such as  Democratic Drinks, which is every third Wednesday of the month in different locations throughout New Hampshire.  The NHYD First Annual BBQ is planned for August 20 features special guests, including first and second district democratic congressional candidates Jim Craig and Paul Hodes, as well as state senate candidates Betsi DiVries, Bob Backus and  Lou D' Allesandro.

Through these monthly social events and a presence at state political events, NHYD has managed to build their membership from approximately 200 to 370 in less than nine months.

"I am really impressed with the growth of this organization in such a short amount of time," says Nick Clemons, executive director of the New Hampshire Democratic Party.  "Political leaders are asking about the New Hampshire Young Democrats and the presidential candidates that are visiting New Hampshire want to be included at their events.  I think it's great."

Chynoweth agrees that the response thus far has been better than expected and would like to build on the growing momentum of the organization.  "The New Hampshire Young Democrats are more active than we've ever been, and we're ready to make an impact in our state."

The New Hampshire Young Democrats is an inclusive, statewide organization of 18-36 year olds that exists to excite, engage and involve young people in New Hampshire's political community; mentor, recruit and empower a new generation of New Hampshire leaders; advance progressive ideals and values; and elect young Democrats.