Future Politicians of America

hannah moran, reporter

Who We Are:
Young Democrats
Every Monday of each month, roughly five to 10 young democrats gather in Linda Wedge’s classroom for a hearty conversation about politics.
“It’s more of a discussion about the issues rather an activist sort of deal,” junior Austin Bailey said.
The Junior Statesmen of America is a group of students who love to debate. They meet to discuss politics and current events, but most importantly, they draft bills to present to a mock congress in Washington DC next month.
“Schools from across the country submit bills,” sophomore Logan Brown said. “We introduce and debate the bills just as the real senate or house would.”

What We Do
Events like Wikipedia’s controversial daylong shutdown often spark discussion during the Young Democrats meetings. In addition to the discussions, the club members will occasionally play an activist role. Most recently, the Young Democrats emailed congressional representatives, listing specific areas where budget cuts have cut a little too deeply.

“When you’re emailing a congressperson, you have to be precise,” Bailey said.

JSA members members in Lawrence usually lean more toward the democratic side, but they factor in many perspectives. In November, when college students in California gathered to protest the police’s use of pepper spray, JSA members discussed both the students’ rights and the police’s rights.

“What I like about JSA is that we talked about issues and take it from both sides,” senior Reuben Ghijsen said.

The Election


The favored topic of the Young Democrats’ club is the 2012 election. They closely examined the republican primaries, analyzing swing states like California and Florida.

“Primaries have split, which leads to more competition between republicans which leads to more attack ads, which makes them look bad in the eyes of the independents,” Bailey said.

As for Barack Obama, the Young Democrats are confident in his re-election.

“He has a lot of support among the minorities and the minorities are becoming bigger and more important,” Bailey said. “We feel confident about the Latino vote because the republican immigration policy is alienating to them.”

However, if a republican showed up to a Young Democrats meeting, they would certainly not be alienated.

“We’d debate issues with them respectfully,” Bailey said. “We’d not make personal attacks, just conversation about the issues.”

JSA members do their research.

However, they often look beyond the typical dry, stuffy, political drudge.

“We watch the Daily Show or the Colbert Report to get their view on the situation, but we also watch Fox News,” Ghijsen said.

They also visit websites such as politico.com, which boasts headlines such as “GOP Readies Contraception Offensive” and “Obama’s Assault on Religious Freedom.” Newspaper articles and news programs assist JSA members with formulating their opinions.

“Gingrich and Romney both have their flaws,” Ghijsen said. “We’ll just have to see what happens.”

Like the Young Democrats’ club, most members of JSA would like to see Obama re-elected.

“He should come off a little stronger and take more action on a few issues, but it’s hard with Congress when all the republicans are against you,” Ghijsen said. “We just need to avoid a bi-partisan stalemate.”


Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Anarchists–be sure to stop by Wedge’s room the first Monday of every month or Grinnell’s room every other Wednesday for research, discussion and pleasantly heated debate.

“It’d be a lot more fun if more people came,” Ghijsen said. “Then we could actually have full debates and we’d have more things to talk about.”