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N.C. Democratic Party Chair Highlights Importance Of Rural And Youth Outreach

Source: Washington Post

Anderson Clayton, who became the chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party in February, talked with The Washington Post this week about the Democratic Party’s renewed commitment to rural communities and young people.

According to Clayton, “rebuilding and reenergizing the trust that rural communities had in the Democratic Party at one point in time” is a top priority.

“North Carolina has the second highest rural population in it besides Texas, when it comes to people, and we have one of the most diverse rural populations,” she noted. “I think that people often times forget that rural doesn’t mean white.”

Clayton pointed to her prior work as the chair of the Person County Democratic Party. In 2021, she helped flip the five-person Roxboro City Council to a Democratic majority for the first time ever, thanks to three Black Democrats who ran and won. “I think that’s possible across all of rural North Carolina,” she said.

Clayton also talked about the importance of young people taking leadership in their own communities, especially students on college campuses. “In 2016, when North Carolina went red, Watauga County went blue for the first time in history, because students turned out to vote in droves, because students went out there and registered people to vote,” Clayton said. 

“[Fellow students] contacted them about the elections that were coming up in Watauga County, and they also went back and knocked on their doors. They made phone calls. They saw them on campus, and so it was hard to ignore them at the end of the day, right?” she continued. 

Moreover, Clayton wants to encourage young people not just to work behind the scenes, but to consider a run for office as well. Clayton, at 25 years old, is the youngest Democratic Party state chair in the country.

“I think that there is a huge opportunity for young people to really make change in their own backyard and not just be the people that are running campaigns but also being the candidate, and I want to see more young people step up and run for office,” Clayton said. 

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