Issue Caucuses

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The Disability caucus aims to promote the ability of Virginians with disabilities to lead an independent life with full access to the American dream. We support legislation that aims to break down discriminatory barriers, level the playing field, and provide reasonable accommodations where needed. Our legislative agenda focuses on:

  1. Protecting the ADA - With the Trump administration, the rights of people with disabilities are at risk. As a caucus, we will continue to speak out and be a voice for people with disabilities.
  2. Protecting Medicaid - Many people with disabilities rely on Medicaid for their livelihood. As Trump and the GOP tries to cut medicaid spending, the caucus will continue to advocate to protect medicaid and how it is vital to people in the disable community. 
  3. Protecting and Fully Funding IDEA - As Secretary Devos continues to agree with the cuts to the education budget, special ed programs and IEPs for students with disabilities will be the first to go. These programs and accommodations are the foundations for students with disabilities to succeed. The caucus will continue to push for special education funding for public schools and to revise IDEA ( Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) to make sure these programs are getting the funding they need

The Education Caucus is committed to ensuring that high quality, publicly funded education is accessible to every Virginian. We believe strongly that public education must be preserved and supported, and we wish to ensure that all students regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, or income-level are provided equal opportunity to succeed through Virginia’s public education system. 

For the 2020-21 year, some of our priorities include:

  1. Ensuring students with disabilities are provided access to equal and safe opportunities for learning. For far too long, students with disabilities have been left behind within our public school system. Additionally, it is necessary to mandate a statewide school curriculum that works to instill empathy in all students, including an emphasis on the history of the Americans with Disabilities Act legislation and associated civil rights movement. 
  2. Addressing widespread institutional racism within our schools. We must start by updating the school curriculum to teach accurate history in order to ensure that every student is taught about our country’s long history of racism, but also about the prominent Black individuals who have built our country. Additionally, we must work to end the school-to-prison pipeline and ensure that the Virginia public schools are providing all students with the tools necessary to succeed. We will support all measures that address racism within our education system. 
  3. Increasing access to quality higher education. Each year, college becomes less affordable for students across the commonwealth. The prohibitive costs mean that many students are unable to pursue higher education, or are faced with thousands of dollars in student loans upon graduation. We will support measures to make higher education affordable and accessible for all and to work towards ending the student debt crisis. 
  4. Expanding resources and services to make sure all students have virtual access for their learning. With a higher than usual virtual learning experience for schools this year, it is important that those who either don’t have access or might struggle virtually are able to still succeed and not be negatively impacted. Especially during the elementary and middle school ages, it is important that students are able to stay on track with classes and remain connected to their peers. The commonwealth can still do more to reach those in rural communities. We will support and work towards measures that increase access for students through this virtual learning period and beyond.

The Environmental Caucus is committed to advocacy for green-collar jobs, clean energy, environmental stewardship, preservation of our natural resources and sustainable infrastructure development. In particular, we support the redevelopment and engagement of communities most at-risk from sea level rise, at-risk for dangerous hydrocarbon development and left without jobs, opportunity or hope by fossil fuel industry divestment. We oppose unreasonable and irresponsible subsidies for fossil fuel industries, corporate irresponsibility, reduced environmental regulations and funding cuts of Nixon-created Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its subsidiaries. Our legislative agenda focuses on:

  1. Opposing Dangerous Offshore Hydrocarbon Development - The Virginia Young Democrats strongly oppose the dangerous development of our offshore hydrocarbon deposits. The development of these resources directly endangers our national security, health, environment and economy. Additionally, the local communities strongly oppose any development of these deposits. Similarly, we remain deeply concerned by the threat the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines pose to the New River and Chesapeake Bay watersheds. Instead, the Virginia Young Democrats strongly support the careful consideration of offshore wind development that creates local jobs, supports American manufacturing and expands sustainable energy development.
  2. Creating Green-Collar Jobs - As economic pressures drive the United States and world to reduce fossil fuel use, jobs in these industries will be lost. We strongly support investments in job training and retraining program that prepare our communities for the green-collar energy sector jobs of today and tomorrow. In particular, Virginia’s economy is perfectly positioned to grow during the green energy revolution: Southwest Virginia, the Shenandoah Valley and Atlantic Coastal water are ripe for wind turbines and Commonwealth-wide solar opportunities abound.
  3. Serious and Fair Corporate Responsibility Rules - It is more important than ever to hold corporations accountable. Far too often, corporations commit serious criminal or negligent actions only to receive a slap on the wrist. We support the development and enforcement of common sense rules that protect our air, water, land and future.

The Health Policy Caucus of the Virginia Young Democrats aims to educate and mobilize around the issues supported by VAYD’s Healthcare Platform. In particular for 2017, the focus will be on the following critical areas:

  • Protecting the ACA
  • Medicaid expansion in the Commonwealth
  • Women's reproductive rights
  • The opioid crisis
  • Rural access to medicine (potential partnership with the rural caucus)

Protection of social programs with public health impacts (i.e. Meals on Wheels)

The Virginia Young Democrats Housing and Urban Affairs Caucus seeks to educate voters about housing issues and advocate for more just and inclusive housing policies throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. We support policies at all levels of government that promote affordable housing, inclusionary zoning, and eliminate all forms of housing discrimination. 

The Virginia Young Democrats (VAYD) Labor Caucus is committed to fighting for the rights of Virginia’s workers and standing in solidarity with Virginia’s labor movement. We support policies at all levels of government that would make it easier for workers to unionize and collectively bargain, give workers more power and control over their workplaces, end employee misclassification, ensure safe and just working environments, and allow all workers to live the American Dream. Outside of the legislative arena, the Labor Caucus is dedicated to supporting workers and unions across Virginia during workplace disputes and organizing drives. We also work to educate VAYD members about the importance of unions and encourage them to unionize their workplaces if they are able to do so.

The main goal of the VAYD LGBTQA+ Caucus is to fight all anti-LGBTQA+ legislation, support candidates who fight for and represent our community, and increase awareness of LGBTQA+ issues. Our current legislative and education agenda is focused on three issues:

  1. LGBTQA+ Immigrant Justice - An estimated 2.7% of our nation’s undocumented immigrants identify as LGBTQA+. In fact, undocumented queer youth have been integral to building the immigration movement. The current deportation and detention process for migrants is particularly pernicious for LGBTQA+ individuals, who are often the subjects of harassment, exploitation and abuse.
  2. Violence Against Queer and Trans People - In 2015, advocates tracked at least 21 deaths of transgender people due to fatal violence, the most ever recorded. These victims were killed by acquaintances, partners and strangers. Some killers have been arrested and charged, while others have yet to be identified. While the details of each case differ, it is clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color, and that the intersections of racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia conspire to deprive them of employment, housing, healthcare and other necessities. Sadly, we’ve already seen the murders of several transgender people this year.
  3. LGBTQA+ Health -Significant disparities in health between heterosexual and LGBTQA+ people still exist. The Center for American Progress identified 14 health disparities between heterosexual and LGBTQA+ adults. For example, 82% of heterosexual adults have health insurance, compared to just 77% of LGB adults and 57% of transgender adults. Similarly, 83% of heterosexual adults reported excellent or very good health, compared to only 77% of LGB adults and 67% of transgender adults. The expansion of access to health care in the U.S. should be a priority of the LGBTQA+ movement, including but not limited to accessing spouse’s medical plan and protecting the gains of the Affordable Care Act..

We are always open to input from our fellow Young Democrats. If you have any questions or input, please contact us at lgbtqa_chair@vayd.org!

The Virginia Young Democrats Minority Caucus recognizes the need for inclusive representation throughout the Democratic Party and seeks to amplify the voices young people of color in the Commonwealth of Virginia through political participation.    

The Rural Caucus of the Virginia Young Democrats is dedicated to representing the concerns of young Virginians in rural areas of the Commonwealth. We pursue issue advocacy to bring economic development, improved healthcare, education funding and more to rural communities. We also seek to represent the culture and needs of young rural people in our party and in our government. Our legislative agenda focuses on:

  1. Rural Job-Creating Initiatives
  2. Expanded Programs to End the Opioid Epidemic - In recent years, the Virginia Young Democrats helped pass legislation designed to increase access to and training for naloxone use, an opioid-overdose-reverse drug. Additionally, we continue to support rural job-creation initiatives to bring jobs, opportunity and hope to rural communities.
  3. The Development of UVA-Wise as a World-Leading Cybersecurity, Drone and Engineering/Programming Center - The Virginia Young Democrats support Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam’s plan to invest in making UVA-Wise a leading educational and research center for cutting edge industries. Graduate and doctoral programs are the most likely to drive long-term economic development. Additionally, UVA-Wise is one of only two public colleges and universities without a graduate program, the only four-year college west of the New River Valley and the second smallest public college or university in the Commonwealth.

The veteran’s caucus unites young adults who current or former servicemen and women, members of a military families and members interested in honoring the serve of our veterans across the Commonwealth. We honor their service and we promote legislation that benefits them and their families. Our current legislative agenda is focused on:

  1. Opposing the ban on military service by transgender Americans - Any individual who serves our country are critical contributors to mission success. We reject any actions or legislation that would ban, prevent or unreasonably restrict the serve or our brave transgender servicemen and women. Additionally, we remain opposed any efforts to reinstate policies bar the service of openly LGBT Americans.
  2. Engaging post-9/11 veterans - The policies issues affecting young veterans and their families need greater focus. From health-related complications to G.I. bill funding, we remain focused on empowering and engaging post-9/11 veterans and their families to support our shared agenda that keeps our nation’s promise to them.
  3. Military Sexual Assault - In 2016, nearly 15,000 servicemen and women were victims of sexual assault, more than 80 percent of these assaults went unreported. We support efforts to improve training and reporting standards,ensure that service members who report sexual harassment or assault do not face retaliation from peers or superiors and increase survivor services, both within and outside the V.A. system.
  4. Veteran Mental Health - Every day, an estimated 22 veterans commit suicide demonstrating a true crisis in our military mental health service. We support efforts to promote access, within and outside the V.A. system, to appropriate psychotherapy for veterans in addition to workforce support services, fully-funded veteran homelessness programs and job seeking training and retention support.

The goal of the Women’s Caucus is to promote the involvement of women and girls in the political process and to support candidates, legislation, and policy that improve the life of women and gender equality. The Women’s Caucus will work to highlight the gender quality efforts of Democratic candidates and elected officials; support the election of Democratic women to public office; organize efforts aimed at addressing gender disparities and advancing gender equality.

Constituency Caucuses

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The VAYD City/ County Caucus represents young professionals in VAYD and the Democratic Party of VA. The City/ County Caucus is committed to identifying and reaching out to city/county-wide Young Democrats chapters across the Commonwealth, and then bringing those chapters into the Virginia Young Democrats.

The VAYD College Caucus represents college students in VAYD and the Democratic Party of VA. The College Caucus is committed to identifying and reaching out to college Young Democrats chapters across the Commonwealth, and then bringing those chapters into the Virginia Young Democrats.

The VAYD Teen Caucus represents high school students in VAYD and the Democratic Party of VA. The Teen Caucus is committed to identifying and reaching out to high school Young Democrats chapters across the Commonwealth, and then bringing those chapters into the Virginia Young Democrats. The VAYD Teen Caucus also works to coordinate these high school chapters, and on legislative issues relevant to high school students.

Regional Caucuses