SIGN UP FOR OUR EMAIL LIST

Currently browsing Politics

September 10th | Posted In Millennial, Politics

Framing the Problem: Lack of Young People in Politics

Only 53% of millennials get this reference

Only 53% of millennials get this reference

There is a lack of engagement in Philly politics on the part of young people. Two big, simple facts back that up.

The Big, Simple Facts Section

Fact 1: 18-29 year-old voter turnout has been abysmally low in primaries and non-presidential general elections.

Former YIP President and bona fide political smarty-pants, Josh McNeil, wrote the following and I, recognizing his sagacity and my own laziness, will simply cut-and-paste it here: Read more

July 14th | Posted In Citizenship, Politics

Project Case Study: The #YoungPHLVotes Social Media Campaign

IMG_7545

A big part of our mission at YIP is to increase the number of young people who go to the polls.

As an all-volunteer organization, we have limited time and resources, so holding large scale events, rallies, or canvassing door-to-door was off the table for us. With the May 20th primary election fast approaching, we knew that we needed to do something to help get out the vote among our demographic. We thought about what we could do that would increase the awareness about the election itself, inspire people to get informed, and cast their ballot.

What we came up with was #YoungPHLVotes — a social media campaign that was focused on using the power of personal pledges to spread the message.

Read more

May 9th | Posted In Politics

Young Candidate Spotlight: Matthew Olesh

One in an occasional series highlighting young Philadelphians who are running for office.  Young Involved Philadelphia does not endorse any candidate for any office, and this post should not be considered an endorsement of or opposition to any candidate. But we do encourage all young Philadelphians to get more involved civically and politically in their city. To that end, we will occasionally profile young candidates and ask them how and why they decided to get involved.  

Name: Matthew Olesh

Running for: Democratic Committee Person for the 30th Ward, 14th Division (Graduate Hospital)

Why Philly?  I came here for law school and fell in love with the city. After living my life thinking I would begin my career in New York, I realized that Philadelphia was the perfect city for me. I met my wife at Penn and we decided to settle down here. We are very committed to city living and never want to leave. Philadelphia is a manageable city that offers so much in terms of culture, food, history…I could go on and on.

What do you do?  I am a commercial litigator at Fox Rothschild LLP. I handle a wide array of cases, including general business disputes, class actions, and white collar compliance and defense, to name a few. I am fortunate to have a diverse client base that includes some really great local businesses.

In addition, I helped to found and serve as an advisory director for the Friends of Chester Arthur, a non-profit organization that supports Chester A. Arthur School in Graduate Hospital.  We basically exist to support the school in any way we can, with the goal of helping strengthen it as a high-quality neighborhood public school for all kids in the catchment.

Why did you decide to run?  My wife and I have lived in our house since 2007.  Since that time, we have seen such wonderful progress in the neighborhood on so many fronts.  I want to help make sure that the positive momentum in the neighborhood continues.

Any advice for other young people considering a run for office?  I always like the saying that you should be the change you wish to see.  If you are dissatisfied with something or want to help make something better, don’t wait around for someone else to do it – get involved.

What kind of challenges have you faced?  Getting on the ballot itself is not a huge challenge, although there are certain rules you need to follow to ensure you do it correctly.  Right now, the biggest challenge is trying to connect with as many people in my division as possible.  I’d like to know what they think can be better and, if elected, I’d like to do whatever I can do improve upon those things.

What is it like being a young person in Philly politics?  So far, so good.  Ask me again in a few weeks if I win my race!

May 8th | Posted In Philadelphia, Politics

One infographic, all of the election issues

Check out this awesome info graphic from Jon Kostesich, a talented (at least we think so) graphic designer in Philly. Unless you are blind or illiterate, you now have no excuse to not know where the candidates stand.  If you ARE blind or illiterate, how the heck are you reading this right now?   governor

Check out Jon’s website

April 30th | Posted In Politics

Young Candidate Spotlight: Alex Feldman

One in an occasional series highlighting young Philadelphians who are running for office.  Young Involved Philadelphia does not endorse any candidate for any office, and this post should not be considered an endorsement of or opposition to any candidate. But we do encourage all young Philadelphians to get more involved civically and politically in their city. To that end, we will occasionally profile young candidates and ask them how and why they decided to get involved. 

Name:  Alex Feldman

Running for: Democratic Committee Person for the 30th Ward, 6th Division (Graduate Hospital).

Why Philly?  I grew up outside of Philadelphia. I’ve always been a really passionate Philadelphian – I’ve always loved this city. I went to college in the area – I went to Penn – and then I left for a while. I went to London for grad school and to New York for work. I came back in 2009 for my current job, but also because I really wanted to be in Philadelphia.

I knew that cities like Philly are places that aren’t necessarily naturally attracting young, energetic people who want to change the urban environment, at least not then, and I wanted to be a part of the transformation of my hometown.

What do you do?  I work for a firm called U3 Advisors. We do economic development consulting and real estate development consulting with universities and hospitals on urban revitalization around their neighborhoods and campuses. Our work is all over the country, but we’re based in Philadelphia. The principals of the firm were very involved with Penn in the revitalization of West Philadelphia.

I get to work in other cities – I’m in Detroit right now. It gives me an interesting perspective – Detroit changes the way I look at Philadelphia. In many ways, we’re really lucky, and we don’t look at ourselves as lucky sometimes.

Why did you decide to run?  I wanted to get more involved. I’ve always been interested in Philadelphia politics. A friend who was interested in organizing a group of people that wanted to get involved at the most local, grassroots level, approached me. I thought this would be a really great opportunity to dip my toe into Philadelphia politics and understand how the system works.

I’m also running because I want to represent my neighborhood and my block. I think its important to have representation from people of my generation, people that are moving to the city and have a different perspective from those that have always lived in Philadelphia, who see it a certain way, and are maybe hesitant to try things that will change the city or the neighborhood. I’m running because I love the city, I want it to be better, I want it to grow, and because I want to support the local civic groups and organizations that make where I live such wonderful place, like Friends of Chester A. Arthur and SOSNA. Those are great organizations that I think could use more support from the city.

Any advice for other young people considering a run for office? I’m still learning myself. My advice would be to put yourself out there. One of the things I’ve learned is to be a good neighbor, and knock on the doors of neighbors I’ve never met before. Just the act of getting signatures was a really fantastic opportunity to meet my neighbors, learning about what their interests are, getting a sense of what they are looking for in terms of the neighborhood’s progression, and hopefully get their support. Even if I don’t win, I’m glad that I did that, because I feel more connected to my neighborhood through that process.

What kind of challenges have you faced? Getting 20 signatures wasn’t a huge challenge, but I had to show effort, meet my neighbors, and tell them why I was running. I haven’t seen any big obstacles yet, though.

What is it like being young person in Philly politics?  That’s a very complicated question… There’s an understanding in Philadelphia that there is a system that exists and that you have to play within that system in order to make a positive change in the city. I don’t think that system is necessarily the best way for running this city, but I understand that it’s the reality.

Philadelphia politics to me, on the outside at least (I’m not an elected official yet), is a complicated system. You see elected officials walking down the sidewalk and can approach them and talk to them, which is kind of a wonderful thing about our city, that we have such an accessible political leadership. I see the mayor all around the city all the time, I run into council people on the street, so that’s a wonderful thing. But I also think the interests of all the citizens of Philadelphia, aren’t necessarily being heard. In order for Philadelphia to compete as a global city, we need to understand young, educated, talented college graduates are an important demographic, and we need more of them in our city, because they are an important part of our future.

April 25th | Posted In Millennial, Politics

Young Candidate Spotlight: Jen Devor

One in an occasional series highlighting young Philadelphians who are running for office.  Young Involved Philadelphia does not endorse any candidate for any office, and this post should not be considered an endorsement of or opposition to any candidate. But we do encourage all young Philadelphians to get more involved civically and politically in their city. To that end, we will occasionally profile young candidates and ask them how and why they decided to get involved. 

Name: Jen Devor

Running for: Democratic Committee Person for the 36th Ward, 37th Division (Point Breeze).

Why Philly?  Philadelphia is really important to me and I just really love the city. I have had all my major life  milestones in Philadelphia – I came to school here – I went to the University of the Arts, I fell in love in Philadelphia, had a baby in Philadelphia, launched my career in Philadelphia. And I love how much access you have to everyone and everything. It has all that I need in where I want to live and I want to make a contribution here and give back.

Read more

April 23rd | Posted In Millennial, Politics

Young Candidate Spotlight: Tom Nardi

One in an occasional series highlighting young Philadelphians who are running for office.  Young Involved Philadelphia does not endorse any candidate for any office, and this post should not be considered an endorsement of or opposition to any candidate. But we do encourage all young Philadelphians to get more involved civically and politically in their city. To that end, we will occasionally profile young candidates and ask them how and why they decided to get involved. 

Name: Tom Nardi

Running for: Democratic Committee Person in the 58th ward, 39th Division.

Why Philly? I was born and raised in Philadelphia. The grade school I went to is in my ward, a large portion of my family lives in my ward. It’s home for me. I’ve spent some time in other places – working on campaigns in South Dakota, Delaware, other parts of Pennsylvania. But, Philadelphia – Northeast Philly – it’s where I want to be. And I want to be involved in the community, so I’m running for Committee Person.

What do you do? Political organizer, political staffer by trade. [Currently, I’m] call time manager for my uncle, who doubles as my state senator, Mike Stack, who is running for Lieutenant Governor.

Why did you decide to run? My grandfather was ward leader in the 58th for almost 40 years. I grew up at his knee. My uncle is the ward leader now. We’ve been involved with the 58th ward going way back – politics is in the lifeblood of my mom’s side of the family. Staying involved in the community is important to me. So when, four years ago, the opportunity first came up to run for Democratic Committee Person in my neighborhood, I jumped on it. You get to go out every day, meet new folks, meet old folks who’ve been there a while, meet the people in your neighborhood. For me, its people I grew up with: “Hey, you were in scouts with my son” or “My daughter when to high school with your brother”.

Any advice for other young folks considering a run for office? If you’re interested in running, go out and do it. My grandfather always gave the advice “no one makes you the guy – you have to go out and be the guy.”  No one really taps you on the shoulder and says, “Hey, I think you should do this.”  Without you expressing the desire to do it.  So if you have to the drive to run for something, whether it’s democratic committee person, state representative, city council – figure out what you need to win and then go do it, because the most important piece of politics is being there and doing it.  So many folks, even in elected positions, are really absent in what they do.  When people talk about young upstarts that came and took over places, it’s because they showed up and did it.

What challenges have you faced, if any? Fortunately for me – rather unfortunately for small-d democracy – I am running unopposed. There are only 2 people running in my division. Last time I ran, there were 3 people running and I was able to win.

What is it like to be a younger person in Philly politics? There is a weird dynamic in politics when it comes to generations. You get the old guard that loves to see young people involved. If you walk into a room and you’re 25 and no one is under the age of 50, they’ll love that you’re there, but you’ll still have to prove yourself.

When people complain about “government doesn’t hear our voices”… politicians respond to the people who show up. It’s no coincidence that politicians every time you hear a politician open his or her mouth, its about seniors – seniors turn out to vote.  Young people don’t turn out to vote so much.  So if we want change, we got to make it – we got to show up.

April 15th | Posted In Millennial, Philadelphia, Politics

Young Candidate Spotlight: Kris Walski

One in an occasional series highlighting young Philadelphians who are running for office.  Young Involved Philadelphia does not endorse any candidate for any office, and this post should not be considered an endorsement of or opposition to any candidate. But we do encourage all young Philadelphians to get more involved civically and politically in their city. To that end, we will occasionally profile young candidates and ask them how and why they decided to get involved.

Name: Kris Walski

Running for: Democratic Committee Person for the 25th Ward’s 1st Division (Port Richmond).

Why Philly?  I grew up here – I was born in Philadelphia on the 4th of July and have lived in Port Richmond all my life. I am a graduate of St. Joe’s Prep and Penn.

What do you do?  Right now, I’m working on Tom Wolf’s campaign for governor. Before, I worked for City Council with the Committee on Global Opportunities and the Creative/Innovative Economy. I actually found that job through YIP – at a career fair at Penn, I spoke with [Advocacy Committee member] David Laegan, who introduced me to Chris Pienkowski of Councilman David Oh’s office.  [Ed. note: Councilman Oh chairs the Committee on Global Opportunities and the Creative/Innovative Economy].

Why did you decide to run? I started attending local community civic group meetings, which made me more interested in getting involved in my neighborhood. That’s also where I met my ward leader, Thomas Johnson, for whom I started volunteering, collecting petition signatures for the Democratic primary.

Any advice for other young people considering a run for office?  I went to YIP Events – the Ward Politics 101 event in particular. I also got involved with my local community groups. Attending those meetings gave me the opportunity to meet people who care about the neighborhood.

What kind of challenges have you faced?  In local politics, there is a large generational gap. I think more young people would get involved if they knew how and more about the issues. For example, my ward leader said he was happy to see young people get involved. We need to connect people who want to get involved with willing ward leaders. And if someone is more civically-focused, and less politically-focused, there are a ton of groups, like the North Kensington Community Development Corporation, who have opportunities to get involved.

April 2nd | Posted In Politics

A Map of the Democratic Committee Person Races

Screen-shot-2014-04-01-at-10.19.35-PM1

Jon Geeting made an awesome map on the Philadelphia Democratic Progressive Caucus website showing the number of petitions filed to run as a Democratic committee person in each division of the city. Check it out and, to echo Jon, if no one (or just one person) is running in your division, why not consider a write-in campaign?

Unfortunately for the color blind out there, the map is in blues and greens. But even those poor color vision deficient folks can click on their own division in the map and get the number of petitions filed there. If only matching ties and shirts were so easy, amirite?

Disclaimer: Young Involved Philadelphia, Inc. is a 501(c)3 charitable organization.  As such, YIP cannot and does not endorse any candidate for any office.  This is not an endorsement of the Philadelphia Democratic Progressive Caucus, Mr. Geeting (who is running for Committee Person), the Democratic Party or anyone else running for office. It’s just a link to a cool map.

 

March 21st | Posted In Philadelphia, Politics

Rage Against the Democratic Machine

Ratm_demotape2

On March 11, the City of Philadelphia held a special election to fill the vacant at-large seat on City Council that was formerly occupied by Bill Green. Green resigned from Council in order to become Chairman of the School Reform Commission. State Representative Ed Neilson ran unopposed and received the unanimous support of the voters.

What’s that you say? You vote in every election and you didn’t hear about this race? Don’t worry, the Democratic ward leaders made this decision for you. But you will be given the chance to certify their selection on May 20, when the formality of an actual election takes place. If past is indeed prologue, you will confirm their choice, because in this town the Democratic machine reigns supreme.

Read more

February 6th | Posted In Politics

In Case You Missed It: Ward Politics 101

Ward System 110

The sold-out crowd; way cooler than the sellout crowd

After an abortive attempt to expand federal housing in Michigan, Edmund Bacon returned to his hometown of Philadelphia.  Bacon was a visionary thinker and urban planner whose work still influences how cities are designed.  Disgusted by the corrupt machine politics that could undermine his planning reform efforts, Bacon hoped his return to Philly would be temporary.  Instead, he stayed, joining other reformers to create the City Policy Committee, a grassroots movement of young Philadelphians that was instrumental in Philadelphia’s political reform movement.

Last night, over 125 young Philadelphians learned how to infiltrate Philly’s political ward system and reform it from the inside at YIP’s Ward Politics 101.

Read more

January 22nd | Posted In Events, Politics, Programs, YIP

A Cynic’s Conversion

This past weekend, I was holed up in a room with the rest of Young Involved Philadelphia’s new Board of Directors for a two-day long meeting and strategy session.  We had every right to be burned out on all things youthful, Philly or involving involvement.  But the Board, including a usually pessimistic me, emerged from that never-ending meeting feeling more energized than a drum-playing bunny.

Read more

January 17th | Posted In Policy, Politics

Process Stories: More Important Than the Media Thinks

grandma

Who could say no to this voter?

There were a lot of sexy news stories this week in the Delaware Valley.  Comcast announced its flashy new building, Bill Green was nominated to chair the School Reform Commission, Uncle Charlie returned to the Phils, and, perhaps sexiest of all, this guy entered our lives.  But there were a few slightly more demure stories that, nonetheless, are incredibly important.

Read more

January 2nd | Posted In Policy, Politics, YIP

The Reasons Behind Our Resign to Run Poll

CityHall

Back in the day, YIP would take strong public stands on various issues in Philly that mattered to young adults.  We’ve always believed that making Philly vibrant and youthful is good for the city as a whole. Over the past few years, though, YIP has been more focused on building the next generation of local leaders, especially in the nonprofit sector. Over the last year, more people have asked us to return to local policy and politics again (while maintaining our nonprofit work, too – you people are demanding).  Well, we’re listening and launching a new effort to ensure that we can effectively listen to, and speak for, Philly’s young professionals.

We first dipped our toes into the ocean of advocacy when Councilman Oh’s office asked us to support the Councilman’s “Resign to Run” proposal.  We decided to ask our members what they thought, and their tepid response kept us from taking a plunge.  Philly’s political waters can be murky at the best of times, so, for transparency’s sake, we wanted to explain what we did and why. Read more