Close to 130 Harvard College Democrats elected a new slate of leaders Wednesday night—and despite the beating Democrats took nationally on election day, the new leadership is hopeful that a new day is dawning for the party.
After five hours of speeches and questions, Greg M. Schmidt ’06 was elected president, beating out Joey M. Hanzich ’06, who was elected vice president.
Looking to the future now that the national election is over, Schmidt said he hopes to lead a change in focus for the organization from door-to-door canvassing and phone banking to developing new ideas for the party and influencing policy.
“It’s not about getting people on buses now, we need to be advocating issues and really focusing on policy,” Schmidt said.
Hanzich emphasized his desire for the College Democrats and young people in general to change the direction of the party.
“College Democrats can take leadership and shape the direction of where the party goes. It’s time for people like [Kerry adviser] Bob Shrum to fade away and us to step up. The fact is, our party needs us now more than they did in October,” Hanzich said. “We can play the role young Republicans played 20 years ago, who provided creative direction to turn the party around.”
Hanzich said the national election’s results were devastating for many College Democrats.
“Obviously we were disappointed. Some of us put two years of our lives into this,” he said. “It’s disappointing that our national party seems to be lacking leadership.”
During the campaign this fall, the College Democrats organized weekly trips to canvass in New Hampshire, phone banks to call voters in New Mexico and trips to Sen. John F. Kerry’s Presidential campaign headquarters in Boston.
Frank said that this year’s club election featured an unusually strong candidate pool.
“This was my fourth election and the slate of candidates was the best I’ve seen yet,” outgoing President Andy J. Frank ’05 said. “A lot of good people were elected and a lot of good people were not.”
Frank echoed the optimism of his successors, pointing to a spike in attendance at club meetings as evidence of strong interest in the Dems.
“We actually had more people at the general meeting after the [national] election than before it,” Frank said.
Joining Schmidt and Hanzich as club executives will be: Magdey A. Abdallah ’07, Matt T. Bosch ’07, Liz A. Goldschmidt ’06, Angie A. Guerrero, Brittani S. Head ’06, Jade F. Jurdi ’07, Eric P. Lesser ’07, Tom M. McSorley ’06, Sam M. Simon ’06 and Brooks E. Washington ’06.