BY DALE DENWALT
Earlier this month, Democratic legislators in the Oklahoma House of Representatives tapped 30-year-old Rep. Scott Inman to lead the caucus after the next Legislature is elected. Not even two weeks later, delegates to the Oklahoma Democratic Party Convention elected 36-year-old field director Todd Goodman as their chairman.
Naysayers might cast aspersion toward these prominent youthful Democrats, saying that we are all that’s left of a party surrounded by red votes. Not true.
Democratic values are based on the foundation of progression. Stagnation need not apply. Who better, then, to revitalize our waning influence in the state than these two political dynamos?
Inman is known for his sermon-like series of floor debates against asinine Republican legislation, aptly named “Hypocrisy.”
Goodman is a great public speaker in his own right, and he’s one of the hardest workers I know.
But what sets these men apart from their more senior Democrats is the realization that we need something different in Oklahoma. Oklahoma was one of the few states where young people voted for John McCain. Typically, Democrats can expect to lock up that demographic, but here, where all 77 counties went red, young voters need to see someone new who can empathize with them.
We’ve got college issues and for the ones who don’t, finding work is a problem. Those who’ve started a family worry about healthcare and if they’re lucky enough to have it, worry whether insurance will cover the bills.
Inman and Goodman understand these issues, as well as the issues we will face decades down the line. This is why I’m most excited about our new leaders. As they set goals and policy priorities, they do it understanding that they will be the recipients of the laws passed during their tenure for many, many years. Knowing you still have 50 or 60 years left to live under the ripples of government you create is a powerful force.
– Dale Denwalt is executive vice president of Young Democrats of Oklahoma