Maricopa County Young Democrats extend tools to help young Arizonans grow, reach career goals

Jeremy Beren

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By Jeremy Beren / NewsBreak Pinal County, AZ

(Phoenix) — During its monthly meeting on Tuesday, May 10, the Maricopa County Young Democrats announced a Young Professionals Committee designed to nurture a new lineup of Democratic leaders in Arizona.

The Maricopa County Young Democrats are deep into preparations for this year's primaries and elections. A large portion of the meeting was spent analyzing the continued impact of the U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion leak, which suggests the Court's conservative majority will overturn the Roe v. Wade decision next month. The MCYD has made a connection between the importance of convincing young Arizonans to vote and preventing the forthcoming circumscription of reproductive rights.

The new Young Professionals Committee, of which Rebecca Dominguez is co-chair, is regarded as a fundamental pillar for future organizing efforts in Arizona's largest county. At this time, it is unknown whether Pinal County Democrats are involved in the initiative — NewsBreak requested comment on whether the MCYD was planning to collaborate with Pinal Dems, but had not received a response at the time of publication.

Dominguez has been an organizer for a decade, dating back to her teenage years. Inspired by the fight over SB 1070, the highly-controversial racial profiling measure that passed the state legislature in 2010, Dominguez went on to work with a number of Democratic candidates at the state and national levels. She has canvassed and organized in support of candidates like current Phoenix mayor Kate Gallego, U.S. representative Ruben Gallego, and two-time presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

"A lot of the positions that we have here are either filled by out-of-state people, or people who just aren't given the opportunities locally," Dominguez said during the meeting. "We want to create a pool of talent that is aimed at creating the next generation of leaders in our communities."

The Young Professionals Committee is described as a coalition and support system that provides tools and relationships necessary for career elevation — including electoral politics, nonprofits, and the public or private sectors. Dominguez emphasized that membership on the committee is not strictly limited to those with a robust educational background or activism track record.

"I didn't study political science to get into politics," Dominguez said. "I literally just had on-the-ground experience, so I hope to bring those tools back into the organization.

Dominguez strives for the committee to become a "true mentorship system" that empowers young people as opposed to fostering a culture of competitiveness. Maricopa County Young Democrats believe that young local talent is in a unique position to wage more political leverage, and to demand more from progressive candidates and policymakers.

"We have so many battles here in Arizona, especially locally," Dominguez said. "There are so many candidates that we need to elect, and there's a lot of work here to be done. We want to make sure we are giving as many opportunities to the people in this room as possible, but additionally, we want to make sure that we create a culture of working together."

Dominguez explained that the new committee is planning to hold monthly workshops educating members on digital communications and using the Voter Activation Network (or "Votebuilder"). She is helping to map out and plan future activities that will help aspiring organizers or candidates succeed in the field.

"I want to make sure everybody has the resources necessary to go into a huge room of elected officials or the 'who's who' and be able to effectively communicate what you need out of the situation to fulfill your future career goals," Dominguez said.

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Jeremy is a freelance journalist covering news, sports, health, and local politics. He lives in Phoenix.

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