HRC Blog

New Young Dems President Comes to HRC

During my work in West Virginia around Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal this year, I had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with Rod Snyder. A West Virginia native and resident, Rod has been an integral part of the state’s Democratic Party and of the party at large.  Not long after he was honored at the West Virginia Jefferson-Jackson dinner in April, Rod accelerated from Executive Vice President to President of the Young Democrats of America (YDA).  Yesterday, Rod made a special visit to the Human Rights Campaign to sit down with me and National Field Director Marty Rouse to discuss the continued partnership between YDA and HRC. Rod and the Young Democrats of America are dedicated to supporting our community’s work and issues, and he really came through for us as we worked to gain support of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal this year. Not only did Rod activate constituents in West Virginia, he also, on his own accord, activated Young Dems from around the country to show their support for repeal. Most astoundingly, Rod handwrote a heartfelt letter on behalf of YDA to Senator Byrd, which he personally took to the Senator’s office on the eve of the historic vote last week. In his letter, Rod said “Today, am writing to you on behalf of Young Democrats in West Virginia and across the nation, but I am also writing as a matter of personal conviction….I’ve personally spoken with servicemen and women from West Virginia who have concluded that the current policy is undermining  the strength of our armed services.”  Rod went on to point out that, “This is an issue that disproportionately affects young military personnel. It should come as no surprise that my generation is most eager to end this institutionalized discrimination. As many as 80% of those discharged under DADT have been younger than 26 years old- often brave rank-and-file soldiers who find themselves on the front line of combat.” I have no hesitation in saying that these compelling words certainly had a hand in gaining the Senator’s vote. The Human Rights Campaign is so proud to be working with Rod and YDA and look forward to future collaboration. Thanks again, Rod.

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