S5:E3 For Honor, For Legacy, For Louisiana with Ciara Hart
4:16PM Mar 14, 2023
Welcome to Louisiana Lefty, a podcast about politics and community in Louisiana, where we make the case that the health of the state requires a strong progressive movement fueled by the critical work of organizing on the ground. Our goal is to democratize information, demystify party politics, and empower you to join the mission, because victory for Louisiana requires you.
I'm your host Lynda Woolard. On this episode, I speak with Ciara Hart, Chair of Young Democrats of Louisiana, and elected member to the Democratic State Central Committee. I'm always eager to speak with young Democrats because obviously, they're the future of the party, but also because we need them right now to swing elections for Democrats. And the only way to get them engaged during our elections is to get them engaged before elections. We also continue with this season's focus on the Louisiana Democratic Party. I asked Ciara, her opinions on what needs to change to make the party the vehicle for progress that it really should be.
Side note, as often happens in these remote recordings, we had some technical issues with the sound, but I believe we found workable solutions. We appreciate listeners' patience whenever this happens. Connectivity problems and unreliable recording platforms are often a frustrating piece of the podcast puzzle for us. However, I believe the steps we take to deal with those issues are a small price to pay for us to be able to speak with guests across the state and beyond.
Ciara Hart! Thanks so much for joining me on Louisiana Lefty.
You're welcome. Hi Lynda!
We've talked a few times. But it's great to be able to talk to you on the record. And I always start with how I met my guest. And I think we actually first met in 2020 during the party leadership elections. I probably first reached out to you when I was running initially for First Vice Chair. Is that your recollection?
I reached out to you when I was running for First Vice Chair, because you are an elected DSCC member, so you were able to vote on those elections. How did you first get interested in politics? What's your political origin story?
Oh, I love that question. I've loved politics since I was a child. I ran for my first office in third grade student council. I just always wanted to be able to be a part and be of service, but specifically in Louisiana. For those who don't know, my family is originally from Natchitoches, Louisiana, a very small, very rural town. And we left. We moved to Florida when I was nine, and I came back after college. And for me, I knew that I wanted to be of service. But I didn't feel comfortable being of service anywhere that wasn't my hometown. Like, I believe that my grandmother, my uncles, those who raised me, who I learned from, I felt like I was indebted to the work that they did, but also the things they never got to see in their life. And so I knew I wanted to come back to Louisiana. Long story short, I became a teacher. And as a teacher, I saw so many issues in the classroom. And I was just enthralled with what I could do to make a difference. It became honestly obsessive, because I'm like, if I don't try to make a difference, I'm going to leave. And so I became a community organizer with an organization called the South Louisiana Coalition for Education. And we would just try to engage as many families and communities as possible, teachers specifically, on how to get involved locally in education issues. And so I ran for Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, and I ran for BESE at 25 years old, and I was terrified. I was the only Democrat in my race. District 6 was the seat that I ran for. And in that experience, I learned what it looked like to not get support as a young Black woman candidate. And I was just like, "Okay, so there are a lot of gaps." I looked at how I could better support those who wanted to run for office. And so after that election, a lot of my questions were not so much about, I'm sad, I lost, but really like, "Okay, what's next? What can I do? How can I make sure that young Black women who want to run for office who may not have donor support could get the resources that they need?" So I'm a person who asks a lot of questions, I started to ask a lot of questions. "How do you get involved?" And Kirk Green and Ralph Johnson were the ones who were like, "Ciara, I think you should think about helping us organize at the party level... "Kirk Green, because we had been in the same space in education advocacy, and Ralph because he had been the one who came to me when I ran for BESE and was like, "I just want to congratulate you and give you support." And I hadn't really had that from those who were in the space. And so I learned about the Democratic State Central Committee race and the Democratic Parish Executive Committee race, qualified for both the DPEC at-large seat and the DSCC in district 68. I won the DSCC. And I think at that point, I kind hit the ground running, trying to think about how young people could get involved. I wasn't someone who knew the inner workings of party politics. I have spent most of the four years of my advocacy in education work. And so I came in green as a blade of grass, but with good intentions to understand how I could help and how I could support those who were like me and wanted to make a difference. There are so many things that we feel like we have to have in running for office. And I want us to support and eliminate some of those barriers, especially down to like finances and marketing and just the things that really make a candidate be able to be successful. And I thought that the party politics would give me a way to support on a bigger level and help impact and increase those who also wanted to learn.
You said you ran for BESE district 6, where is that in the state?
So that is a section of East Baton Rouge, Ascension, Tangipahoa, Bogalusa, Livingtson.
You're also chair of the Young Democrats of Louisiana now, correct?
I was excited to have you on because I've had the founder of the High School Democrats of Louisiana on. I've had several of the officers from the College Democrats of Louisiana on, so it's nice to now have someone from the Young Democrats of Louisiana on, and you're having to sort of reconstitute that organization now, right?
That's exactly it. We rechartered for the first time since 2015, for those who don't know. And, for me coming in, I mean, in 2015, I was a junior in college. And so there was a lot of groundwork to be done in building out this organization. I'm so grateful. For those who used to be members and used to do that work like the Davante Lewises, Ralph Johnsons, Ted Jameses of the world. They used to really be a part of that work. And in 2015, they decided to not recharter on the national level. And so we rechartered in 2021. And we've been just excited to organically build this movement across the state. And it's been a process. But I'm just excited because it's been giving young people an opportunity to elevate, who maybe have not been involved in politics before.
What are your goals for Louisiana?
Oh that's a good question, Lynda. So we have so many, but we break them up into buckets. And that's to empower, engage, and elect. So we want to make sure that those who are interested in political office, whether it's running, managing, or just understanding campaigns, we empower them with training tools to be able to do that. So knowing how to run a campaign, knowing how to do field work, knowing how to organize the ins and outs of door knocking, really understanding what it takes to run successful campaigns. But on the other end, empowering those with the understanding of issues and those who represent us in public office. So empowering is not just about running for office or being involved with candidates, but it's about empowering them with knowledge. And then knowledge can be voter advocacy and GOTV efforts. But it can also be the issues that impact us on a daily basis. And then those who are elected, that help us to understand, "Okay, who's in office and how can we hold them accountable to what they're supposed to do?" So it's making sure that we're empowered with the knowledge of our elected officials and their roles and their responsibilities. And then for educate, utilizing the wonderful world of social media to ensure that we know who and what is happening across the state. When it comes to issues of advocacy, there are so many things that plague us: our environment, social justice, women's issues, reproductive rights, so making sure that we are empowered with the education that we need, and then providing educational tools. We're in the middle of planning a So You Want to Run for Office Guide, as you know. And so being able to think about what are those tools that we need to educate and empower citizens. Then lastly, elevate, we want to elevate the profile of those who want to be involved. We want to be able to give them the tools to run if they want to, but more importantly to elevate the issues of what we care about as Young Dems, which is being able to live in a place where we can afford our bills, being able to have a living wage, being able to go to the doctor and being able to pay for it, being able to get access to health care as a woman in a place where they tell us that we can't, being able to exist in this place even if we don't conform to normal gender norms, and all of that creating a more inclusive Louisiana.
The Young Democrats of Louisiana is also connected to national Democrats, right?
Yes, the National chapter of Democrats of America. and I also just recently was appointed the organizing chair for the Environmental Caucus for Young Democrats of America.
Oh, fantastic. And how much do y'all work with them?
So honestly, it's really picked up in the last year or so just with me reaching out to the president to figure out how we can amplify Louisiana. You know, we're one of those states where sometimes on the national level, I think we get thrown away, and thinking about specifically progressive issues. So I've been just trying to spread the message of, "Hey, there's opportunity here in Louisiana." So that has really increased our visibility. As a chapter, we've done three events with YDA as a national org so far. We have a couple coming up that are in the planning works. And so that visibility has just been more frequent as a result of us just pushing and they've been really excited about YDL even being back. When we went to the convention, the whole room cheered when Louisiana was rechartered, because it had been something that they had been waiting for.
Was Louisiana the only state without a chapter at that point?
It wasn't, but because there had been so many Louisiana advocates and they had played such a big role in YDA that people missed the presence. We hosted the convention here in Louisiana for YDA. So those are things that we want to be able to get back to. And I think that energy that we bring, you know, Louisiana, we are resilient people. I believe wherever we go, people are just inspired by how infectious we are. I think they just missed that resilience and that energy that we bring to spaces, so they were excited.
And y'all helped do some phone banking and such with YDA for Davante Lewis. Isn't that right?
Yes, yes. We had so many elections in August, and there were a lot of national phone banks that were happening. And so I reached out to our president, and I was like, "Hey, we have a candidate, he's a Young Dem, he's been in this work, we could really make history by getting him elected. Is there a way where we can amplify his message, partner and get some phone banking done?" And so we were able to connect and be able to do that, which we were excited to support his campaign in that way.
And I make this point a lot, I want to make it again, because every now and then people talk about starting a new party or leaving the Democratic Party, blowing up the party and starting something new. And I always say that that's not the way to go, because there's so much built-in infrastructure with the Democratic Party. And I like Young Democrats of America and Young Democrats of Louisiana as an example of that infrastructure that's actually built into the structure of the party, the DNC and all of that. Y'all are literally a part of that infrastructure.
Yeah and constitutionally, too, which a lot of people don't know. College Dems and Young Dems have line items in the Louisiana Democratic Party's constitution. And so even if, luckily, we were rechartered, but if not, like there's an obligation and responsibility for there to be youth voice included in party relations and party strategic planning, and the entire process. And even on the DNC level, there's an obligation for us to be involved. What I encourage people to do is, if there are concerns on the party, I completely understand it, I believe there are concerns at every helm, but it's up to us to be able to fix them. And I see the energy and I get the understanding of wanting to start a new party and sometimes frustration leads you to just want to kind of say, "To hell with it" and burn it down, and and say, "Forget it." But I believe that there are strategic ways to accomplish what we need to accomplish, especially as young people with the Democratic Party.
For folks who are interested and willing to organize, there's a lot you can do with the party. Let's talk about that for a minute. We did mention that you are a DSCC member and so you are a part of the state party. Full disclosure -- again, Louisiana Lefty listeners kind of know my story with the state party leadership elections when I ended up running for chair last time, in the final days of that election -- full disclosure, I believe you voted for the current chair.
Katie. Yeah, I did.
So I would like to know what your experience has been. I know you were dissatisfied with how the endorsement process went in for the Senate and the PSC races last year. Can you talk more about that?
Oh, absolutely. I think I've been very vocal at this point about just being dissatisfied with that process. Because as someone who came into this work, just from a very organic, genuine place, and also being a DSCC member, I felt like on that day, I was wearing two hats. It was like the hat of a DsCC member who is looking to fulfill my obligation, but also as a young person who's trying to bring in young people through YDL. So I felt like we were taken advantage of in the sense of not understanding what was happening with the process. And I get processes exist, and policies exist. But in that space, I think there was intentionality and making sure that we didn't understand what was fully happening until it was happening. And so that lack of transparency, I've been very clear about not appreciating it. I don't think that it set a good tone for wanting to bring in young people into the party. I think it showed a gap in leadership and accountability. And I haven't been quiet about that. And I'm not afraid to speak up about that. I think it's important that we actually just say what it is, so that it doesn't happen again. And I think now that's where I am: how do we make sure that there are policies in place to where it's not repeated? Because we don't want young people who are coming into this work to think that is the norm and that is how things function and that dysfunction is normal. And sometimes in this space, we make it seem like dysfunction has to be functional, and it's not. So in that I was just really disappointed, kind of heartbroken, if I could be fully transparent, by the entire process. I supported Gary Chambers. I, of course, supported Davante. Those are people who have personal relationships. But aside from that, all of the work and investment that they've put in over the years, like being in Baton Rouge, seeing the investment that Gary has put into the community. He's done so much work that hasn't been highlighted. Seeing the work that Davante has done literally for years at the Capitol, and feeling as if we had an opportunity to shift things and make history. And even if they believed it was the best decision from a status quo point, what I believe was more important is making a statement on what was possible. And to me, it silenced what was possible by doing what was business as usual. And business, as usual, isn't revolutionary. And it doesn't get the change that we really need to see. It's like I tell my students, I can't expect for the students who I've taught -- I empower them and I tell them that they can be great, and they can do all of these things -- and then not be able to like speak up and say when something is wrong, it's wrong.
And for folks who are unaware, we've talked about what happened in that meeting in the previous episode of Louisiana Lefty. So we don't have to repeat all of that here. But if folks want to know why that was such an issue, they can go back and listen to that. And I am going to do an episode later on why those endorsements matter for coordinated campaigns.
Actually, we can speak on that, too, Lynda. I think that, strategically, that was one of the most important things with the endorsement. As someone who when I ran for BESE, I received the endorsement. But the endorsement was like on a flyer and then that was it. And as in a race that's as important as the Senate race, endorsements mean that you're getting connection to national funding. In order for us to beat somebody like John Kennedy, you have to kind of just put your foot in the road and say what it is. And we failed to do that. And we see the consequences of that. Whether they want to agree with that or not, that's my opinion.
Yeah. And what complicates things for us in Louisiana, is that we have these jungle primaries where we don't get a nominee, which, you know, we talk about a lot, but I do want to do an episode, just for folks to know, we're going to talk about specifically what comes with an endorsement, what resources come with an endorsement, so that folks will understand the importance of that. And how having these dual or endorsing all the Democratic candidates, those kinds of endorsements actually hinder us from getting money. And we'll talk more about that later. There have been a lot of recent issues with the party where there's been a lot of pushback online, a lot of folks complaining. And I'm just curious your thoughts about the state of party leadership right now. And if there are changes you'd like to see or different things you'd like to see happen with the party.
There are so many things that I'd like to see. As someone who, again, came into this work as a newbie in the sense of understanding Louisiana politics, it's frustrating, because there's so much space for opportunity, and for us to really do great work. So I'd like to see accountability, transparency, and unification, not just amongst the executive committee, but also party leadership and the DSCC. I think it's important for the DSCC to be able to have our own kind of unified metrics of what we'd like to see as a body. I'm someone who believes the DSCC has a plethora of organizing and power. These are people who have been working in their communities. Us, together, to me, can really do a lot. And right now, in the way that the bylaws are written, doesn't fully allow for us to exert our power in the way that I'd like for us to see. So there are changes that I'd like to see in regards to the bylaws. There are changes I'd like to see in the way that party leadership communicates with the DSCC. And I'd like to see transparency in understanding why certain decisions are made and how they're made. I know there are lots of inner workings and things that happen with the party. And sometimes it seems as if it's maybe above our pay grade, being that this is volunteer work, but I believe elected bodies, like it's our responsibility to know. And so whoever is the party chair, to me, the goal needs to be that there is transparency and accountability in every decision that's made, and we need to be able to understand why. And if that feels too cumbersome, then maybe that's not the right job for you.
Yeah, you make a good point that, on the one hand, while it's an unpaid position, it is an elected position. The Democratic voters vote the DSCC members in. And so I believe there's a responsibility that comes with that to make sure that the party is functioning well.
Absolutely. And that was one of the things that I thought about after the the endorsement process. It was almost like a wake up call to say, "Hey, there are so many things that are happening, that we could just be more aggressive about understanding. " Even as a DSCC member, I take personal responsibility for not knowing some of the inner workings of that process to have been able to push back. And so I call upon my other DSCC members to make sure that we're educated about the bylaws and the constitution, and what are the rules and procedures of a party chair and the executive committee, and what power that we do have so that when we have concerns, we can elevate those concerns in a way that's policy oriented. Because to me, that's how you get change to take place. Like, this is not something that I think is just like emotional responses or personal preferences, but it's really about how we change the structure to make sure that people are empowered. And when you silence people in a process, people are no longer in power. And we as DSCC have a responsibility to make sure that that doesn't happen again.
Right. And the other piece, I think some of those bylaws may need to be changed yet again, because what we see in the Louisiana Democratic Party, in my opinion, is that we're still operating with a lot of the same functions that have been going on for a long time when there there has been this establishment to the party. And we should be trying to move more into a space where we're bringing in more people, more voters, more grassroots, opening up the process so that more people know about it. Because if we operate from this idea that more voters favors Democrats and more voters favors democracy, the party should be operating under those auspices as well.
I think there just needs to be some continued revamping. Look, I think over time, the party has been revamped, I just think it needs to keep keeping up with the times, and it maybe hasn't been doing that.
Right. And I think there's a lot of opportunity, I feel like is the theme of all of this work. There's space and opportunity for things to improve. And every time I see an issue, I also see solutions. And I would love for us to be able to be transparent about the problems, so that we can work to fix them. And that sometimes means having very uncomfortable conversations in order to make sure that things aren't repeated and don't happen again. It doesn't have to be accepted as norm.
And look, I think the other piece is, and maybe this is a benefit of folks are being a little irritated with some of the stuff that's been going on with the party now is, the more people are brought in, the more we can get people actually participating in these DSCC elections. I don't mean running necessarily, not everybody needs to run. But more Democrats should understand the process and understand that you have to vote in the DSCC elections to get the officials who are going to go represent you at the state party. Those are the folks who choose your state party leadership. And so that's your conduit, that's the person and the people that you need to go vote for, to make sure that you're being represented in this state.
Yeah. And I think it's important, I mean, for those who don't know, we have a meeting April 1, those meetings are open to the public. As soon as we get a location, you can follow Young Democrats of Louisiana on all platforms, and that'll be updated there. But I'd love to have more public being able to be a part of those meetings. They used to be live streamed on Facebook. The last one was not, but the public should be involved. Because to me, if you know who your elected representative is, then you can also hold them to a certain standard to be able to make sure that that information is being relayed. Like in my capacity, my goal is to empower youth to be a part of this process and let as many know what's happening as possible. But I think individually, we have to think about what our collective responsibility is as a body. And a part of that is making sure that the public is aware.
Maybe that's something Democratic voters should be doing is petitioning the state party leadership to broadcast to those meetings live on Facebook.
Yeah. Because normally they're open to the public.
So is there anything else that you'd like to see changed at the party?
I'd like for there to be younger leadership. And what I mean by younger leadership is not just like, yes, our chair currently is young, but throughout the entire executive committee. The DSCC, I'd like to see there be younger leadership, more progressive leadership, that reflects inclusive values. And I'd like for there to just be, again, I keep saying transparency, but that's because like, that's the biggest issue right now. And it's not that the complaints aren't unwarranted, it's just when people don't know what's going on, they feel robbed. And so if there was more information about what's happening, that would solve for a lot of the issues that we have. So I'd like to see transparency. And I'd also like to see there be new faces, who believe that they can come in and maybe shift things in the party, and be able to join and say, "You know what, I think that we can have some some great, innovative ideas." We need new voices to be able to do that. So I'd love to see some new folks come into the space and think about what change can look like and how we can move forward.
And what would you like to see changed in Democratic politics in Louisiana in general?
Oh, that's such a good question, so many things. Again, going back to my experience as a young Black woman running in a majority white Republican district, I would just like to for there to be more support across parishes for candidates, especially those who may not have as many resources as those who are connected. I'd like to be able to see there not be a stigma around being a Democrat. I hear us use the term Big Tent Party all the time. But I'd like for us to have a defining platform of what that means and what that looks like. I think one of our biggest weaknesses, as the Louisiana Democratic Party, is that we can't truly say is what we stand for. I think individually, we can say that. But I believe on the other side, there are specific things that they are known for and that they do. And whether they agree with them or not, they champion those issues. I think that we, as a party, sometimes it seems like we float the line a lot. We like to be in the middle. And people suffer when you do that. I remember, in college, someone told me, "Nuance doesn't win elections and being neutral doesn't win elections." And I think about that in terms of issues like abortion access, and health care, and Environmental Justice, and Economic Justice. I don't think that those are issues that we should be silent about, or even be ashamed to champion. These are issues that can save people's lives. And if we were more transparent about who we were, and what we stood for, maybe young people wouldn't feel like, "Ooh, this is shady, I can't trust it." So I'd just love for there to be a blatant, flat out, "Hey, this is who we are." And I think that's kind of where Young Dems comes in. We believe in Environmental Justice and Economic Justice, and reproductive health care and supporting women to be able to choose, and the issues that impact us being able to make a living wage, being able to live in the state that we love. We don't want to have to move to Houston; we don't want to have to move to Atlanta, you know. We want to be able to stay here and make this place beautiful. But it takes a collective effort. And so I'd love to see the party understand that and support it. I would be remissed to say there hasn't been an investment young people. Like, I know that they believe in some of the work that we do. But I need it to to be just more intentional. And that looks like having more young folks at the table, and being able to pass the torch. It's time to pass the torch. And I know, we work hard to get in these seats. And sometimes they're scared. But for those who have have worked, we appreciate your work, but support a young person in your community who you believe can lead the work in the same way that you did in your seat. And this is my message to those who are currently elected. Empower those in our community. There needs to be people after you to do the work. And they need their seat at the table, too.
Very well said. And you really touched on this question in that answer. But I'm going to ask it outright anyway. Because every time I have a young person on that's with a College Dems or whatever, I always like to ask this question. And I'm not saying that you personally have to answer for everyone. But I'd just like to get your opinion. What are the issues that matter most to young voters?
Ha, that's such a great question. So actually I'll start with middle school and high school students. My experience as an educator gave me direct insight into what they care about. And I think a lot of times when we have these conversations, we don't consider middle and high school students. We immediately go to that college population. But I like to remind people that our middle and high school students eventually become college students in Louisiana, and data shows that majority of our high school students, they stay here for college. Whether it's community college, trade programs, or our local universities, they're staying here. It's a matter of keeping them here. So I'll start with the issues that my students have elevated most, which have been environmental issues and gun violence. You have eighth graders, seventh graders, who look around in their communities, and they say, "Miss Hart, the water smells, it smells outside, we have garbage all around the community." They see those things, they believe like it's a reflection of how people view them in their communities. Like if we can't take care of our community, then we must not be important, because our community has garbage dumps and piles of trash on the corner of the street and blight. You know, these are the issues plaguing our communities so much, specifically here in Baton Rouge, and then thinking about environmental issues, crime, gun violence, and so many things. It's access to firearms, a lack of gun legislation, but it's also a result of our education system. And so I list as being that third issue, young people want to go to school and care about what they learn. They want to be empowered when they're in school. They want to feel like they're being prepared to go on to the next sector of their life. They don't want to get the tools and then say, "I'm coming to school every day because I have to, but not because I believe I'm going to be prepared and set up for success." Environmental Justice, education, Economic Justice and mobility, I think will be the forth, and then the last, of course, will be healthcare. Economic Justice and mobility because we see the impact that a lack of education has on a student's ability to succeed economically. And they see that there is a true pathway to economic mobility, but they don't feel supported in school. So how is that possible, right? So being able to put the right investments into education, so that students are able to get jobs that pay a living wage, that allow for them to be innovative in their career choices. There are so many opportunities that other states provide for their students, collegiate and high school, that we could really be taking advantage of here. And of course, Reproductive Justice, college women want to be able to know that if they need to go to the doctor, that they can, and their doctor won't be arrested and that they won't be arrested or penalized. And last but not least, I think that just the climate of politics here Louisiana, young people care about. It often feels as if our voices are silenced, or not included, and don't matter. So how do we create an inclusive environment where all ideas are accepted, and knowing that folks are willing to listen to diverse opinions, even if it's something that's outside of the normal status quo? I think that's important, especially for Generation Z. They are a very information based group. And a lot of people don't say that, but they have social media at their fingertips, they are literally the generation of social media. And so being able to give them facts and truth and honesty, to me, will keep them here. But empowering policies that will make sure that they can go to the doctor, and that they can pay their bills, and that they can live a joyful life is is super important. And I can also go into like small business development and how we make sure that college students have somewhere to go, and young Black professionals have somewhere to go, and people want to be able to, like, go out and have a good time. I mean, even a lot of the complaints that I get is the social scene, like there not being businesses that invest in opportunities for young people who want to socialize and network. Like, do we have a space and a community for that, that space that feels accepting and welcoming for young people, like especially millennials? You know, we love a good brunch. And there are spaces that target that. But is that really the case across the state? How do we amplify small businesses who are doing that work to target millennials and young people? Because that's how we keep them here. And it's not just about, you know, those super serious things like economics and all of that, but like, can I go out on a Friday and have multiple options of where I want to go? Those things are important for us to be able to live a full life, right? Like I shouldn't be able to do more than just survive in Louisiana, we should be able to thrive here. And that looks like making sure that all of those things that I listed are made relevant.
Wonderful answers, all. Tell me, if you felt like you would be supported, would you be interested in running for public office again?
Absolutely. I always say that. To me, that's something that God would have to be like, "Ciara, this is the office." I'm not a person who is interested in holding titles just to hold them. I just don't believe in that. I really need to feel called and say, "Hey, if I get this position, I know that I can specifically make this change." But I'm all about empowering people to do the work. And so if that means me supporting another candidate, I'm all for it. If that means me being the candidate myself, Lord willing, I'm for that.
Very good. Very good. Well, Ciara, thank you so much for all the answers you've given. I want to pivot to the last three questions I ask every episode. The first one is, what do you see as the biggest hurdle for Democrats in the state?
Us. And I say that, because I think that we get in our own way sometimes. Going back to some of the things that I said earlier, if we could be more collective, and could be more unified, and could really just get on the same page about what we want to see across and up and down the ballot, I think that we'd have a lot more success. We just we just need to get it together in terms of supporting each other. We can't have infighting consistently and then think that we're going to be able to galvanize and unify to beat the likes of a Jeff Landry. I think we've seen that the Republicans unite even if it is on the most atrocious of issues. And for me, I think we fight for issues that support and enhance the lives of people. I want us to get out of our own way and really be able to look In the mirror and say, "What do we need to fix?" And then do that work. And that's uncomfortable. And that's hard, because we want to blame everybody else. But I'm all about accountability. And to me, we can't really move forward until we look in the mirror and say, "As a party, what do we believe? And what do we want to see? And what does that take?" And that may take some people being uncomfortable and not liking everybody, but we don't have to like everybody in this work. But we do have to make sure that those who do not have what they need can get it. And that doesn't happen if we are fighting about stupid things.
100%. What do you see as our biggest opportunity?
Honestly, the the Louisiana Democratic Party in its entire functioning as an organization. I believe that there is so much space and opportunity, specifically in the DSCC and the DPECS, to galvanize young people to get involved. There are a lot of vacant seats on DPECs specifically. And for those who don't know, the Democratic Parish Executive Committees really can support candidates on a local level. And when I think about organizing on a state level, empowering our DPECs to really support candidates, get them training, identifying candidates, too, that is the major opportunity to make sure that we have Democrats in every race up and down the ballot. So make sure that those who want to get involved have an opportunity to be able to do that. It's a good way to get your foot in the door if you're interested in politics. So looking at the Democratic Party, as an organization, being able to have folks come in and learn what it takes to build up the infrastructure. I think that's a huge area of opportunity.
And Ciara, who is your favorite? Superhero?
Yeah, I thought about this question. I knew you're gonna ask this question. And I thought about it, and I thought about it, and I thought about it, and I'm gonna give an answer that probably isn't typical. But I'm gonna go with it. I would say my parents and my elders/ancestors. And that's because when I think about Natchitoches, Louisiana, and my grandmother, for example, grew up on a plantation as a sharecropper with my family, and moved into the house that I was raised in, like, from that, for me, just knowing that history and being able to hear the stories from them growing up, and knowing what she sacrificed, and my parents feeling as if they had no choice but to move us states away for opportunity, I look to them in gratitude. Because I know that I wouldn't be able to be where I was without their sacrifice. But I want families in Louisiana to not have to sacrifice and not have to do all of that. But I feel indebted to their work and they did what they had to do for us. And so my ancestors and my parents would be my superheroes.
I think that's an amazing answer. Ciara, thank you so much for joining me.
Thank you, Lynda. I really enjoyed it. And if anyone wants to join or learn more about Young Dems, you can do so by going to GeauxDems.org.
I will of course put a link to that in the Episode Notes to make it easy for folks.
Thank you, Lynda.
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