This week, the New Jersey Democratic State Committee (NJDSC) announced 46 young men and women had successfully completed its Building our Future program, a set of specialized campaign trainings.
[Trenton] — This week, the New Jersey Democratic State Committee (NJDSC) announced 46 young men and women had successfully completed its Building our Future program, a set of specialized campaign trainings.
Now in its third year, Building Our Future experienced its highest level of interest with 257 applicants. Graduates, who represent 16 out of New Jersey’s 21 counties, were given the tools to help the Democratic Party win elections at the local, county and state level.
“The Building our Future program was created to inspire young minds and support the leaders of tomorrow, and I think we have achieved that goal. I was again impressed by our applicants and our graduates, all of whom brought new and interesting perspectives to the mix,” said NJDSC Chairman John Currie. “The program offers unique insight one can only get from working on a coordinated political campaign. I know these young leaders will help propel the Democratic party forward this cycle, and for years to come.”
“We have given the graduates of this program an authentic view of what political operatives and State Democratic Committee employees do to support local Democrats. Now, with the critical midterm elections upon us, we will be looking to them to help elect people who care about working families, immigrants, members of LGBTQ community,” said NJDSC Vice Chair Lizette Delgado Polanco.
The program was conducted at the law offices of Wilentz, Goldman, and Spitzer in Woodbridge. Guest speakers for the five-day program featured Trenton Councilman Jerell Blakeley, Genova Burns Law partner Angelo Genova, Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey Field Director Amber Margentina, legislative staffers, representatives from consulting firms, and the state party leadership. During seminars, participants were instructed how to handle a variety campaign task related to communications, data, fundraising, voter engagement, and event management, among others. First Lady Tammy Murphy addressed and engaged with the class.
“We were thrilled to bring together people – new people – from different geographic backgrounds in the hopes of growing the party from within,” said NJDSC Executive Director Liz Gilbert. “And I am confident that after hearing from people who have lived the campaign life and accomplished great things, our graduates are capable of shaping candidate campaigns for the better.”
Building our Future graduates like Tilak Bhatnagar, an intern at Governor Murphy’s office under the Department of Legislative Affairs
and a rising sophomore at Rutgers agreed.
“Unlike political science classes that teach theories and philosophies, during Building our Future we heard about the personal experiences of a state legislator’s Chief of Staff. It was an invaluable experience, and it gave me a sense of what political campaigns are really like, in practice,” Bhatnagar said. “State Party Political Director Axel Owen ran a great program, and I thought the First Lady was really impressive too. She was clearly interested in us as individuals and knows young people are key to the party’s future success.”
Below is a group photo from a ceremony held last Saturday, where graduates were honored by campaign operatives, and progressive and private sector leaders. Additional photos will be made available on the NJDSC website next week.