Students Elected to College Democrats of Massachusetts Exec Board

Two Harvard undergraduates will serve on the executive board of the College Democrats of Massachusetts, the college branch of the Massachusetts Democratic Party.

Will F. Poff-Webster ’14 and Matt R. Shuham ’15 won their respective elections for the seats last week during the annual statewide College Democrats convention. This election marks the first time in recent history that members of the Harvard College Democrats have become actively involved in the leadership of the CDM, a signal of the club’s move to foster stronger relations with the state-level party organization.

“This is the first year in a while that Harvard, as a chapter, has really gotten involved at the state level with two of the five board positions,” said Shuham, who was elected as the finance director of CDM. “Will and I want to make a point that Harvard is now beyond the Cambridge bubble—we want to reach out to the state Democratic Party and state College Democrats.”

Poff-Webster, a Crimson editorial editor who will serve as the CDM’s vice president, agreed that Harvard is shifting its political focus more toward state and local issues. He said he hopes, as vice president, to broaden CDM’s objectives beyond campaigning for candidates.

“It’s the CDM’s job to create strong connections and coordination among chapters,” Poff-Webster said, explaining the need for coordination in groundwork campaigning. “But I also want CDM to not just be a campaign organization but an issue organization.”

He added that this year’s executive board will focus on generating public support for addressing issues of public transportation—especially due to recent price hikes and cuts in service following a large deficit faced by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

With the upcoming 2012 elections, CDM also is preparing for major fundraising events by tapping into alumni networks and using the CDM’s own political action committee, according to Shuham.

“Right now we’re trying to make sure we have the organizational capacity and financial resources to run a ‘campaign invasion’ next semester,” Poff-Webster said, referring to the CDM’s work to encourage more grassroots efforts. This mobilization has included launching new chapters in community and public colleges such as Bridgewater State University and the University of Massachusetts Boston.

—Staff writer David Song can be reached at davidsong@college.harvard.edu.

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