Marc Stad '01, president of the Harvard College Democrats (HCD), won the presidency of the College Democrats of Massachusetts yesterday at the Leadership 2000 Convention hosted by the Kennedy School of Government.
He will succeed Joseph N. Sanberg '01, making this the second year that the president of HCD has been elected to the top position in the statewide group.
Senator Edward M. Kennedy '54-56 was the keynote speaker at the convention, which drew members of College Democrats and Young Democrats from across the state to attend a full day of workshops.
Neil Carpenter, director of membership and outreach of Young Democrats of Massachusetts, called the Leadership 2000 convention the "best and biggest Young Democrats event in the history of the organization."
Carpenter specifically commended the strength of Harvard's Democrats, who had the largest turnout of any delegation.
"I can say definitively that [HCD] is the strongest group of Democrats in the state, and possibly in the country. It has risen beyond its historical tendencies," he said.
He dismissed what he suggested was Harvard's stereotypical reputation of being "a bunch of overcommitters" who are "all talk" and overly concerned about resumes.
"This group [HCD] commits and follows through," Carpenter said.
Stad acknowledged his fellow Harvard Democrats for their work.
"Thanks to the current executive board, this has been the strongest year ever of the Harvard College Democrats," he said.
Stad noted that two-thirds of those at the convention were college students, indicating the progress that younger Democrats have made since last year.
"Are we there yet?" Stad asked. "No, not at all. There needs to be more interest in us so that they hear our voices. [But] we are proving that we care about education and universal health care. And we will show up and we will vote."
College Democrats promotes student activism on campuses, while Young Democrats supports young candidates in their campaigns for political office.
In his speech, Kennedy thanked both groups for their assistance. He addressed a number of traditional Democratic issues and condemned Republicans.
He labeled the current minimum wage "tragic," saying, "A person who works 40 hours a week for 52 weeks a year should not live in poverty."
Regarding education, Kennedy advocated small classes, well-trained teachers who conform to state standards and funding for after-school programs.
He also spoke about prescription drugs and HMOs, saying, "You want your doctor to be the one making decisions, not some bureaucrat in the government."
Kennedy also called for an increase in federal Pell Grants and attacked the proposed Republican tax cut.
He praised the high level of convention participation as encouraging evidence of young people's commitment to these issues, closing his speech with his appreciation.
"I am very happy to have the support of the young Democrats," Kennedy said. "The very best way that I can thank you for that is to be the very best U.S. senator, and that I will be."