The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


SMU’s College Democrats host state convention

SMU College Democrats hosted the second annual Texas College Democrats Fall Convention on Saturday, which attracted more than 60 students from colleges and universities across the state.

SMU was selected to host the event by the executive board of Texas College Democrats after going through a bidding process, said David DelaFuente, president of SMU College Democrats.

DelaFuente, who also serves as deputy southwest regional director of College Democrats of America and political director for Texas College Democrats, said that events like the fall convention are crucial because they help “foster a sense of communication” between schools.

The convention was a day-long event that included several training sessions, including new and traditional media strategies, voter registration, fundraising, and advocacy sessions with the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), as well as Stonewall Democrats, an LGBT advocacy group.

In addition to the training sessions, the convention also hosted well-known speakers including Elena White, Bill White’s daughter; Boyd Richie, the chairman of the Texas Democratic Party; and Linda Chavez-Thompson, the democratic candidate for lieutenant governor.

Ryan Payne, the president of Texas College Democrats, said that he was impressed with the quality of the speakers at this year’s convention.

“We really tried to amp up the quality of the conference this year so we could set a standard,” said Payne, who is a double political science and history major at Texas State University.

Payne was also pleased with the level of turnout for the event.

“The most active and involved students in Democratic politics around the state are in this room right now, and some of those that couldn’t make it, couldn’t make it because they are out working on campaigns right now,” Payne said.

Though Texas has a conservative stereotype, DeleFuente feels that this shouldn’t discount the effect that college students will have on state politics.

He says that Texas has the strongest state federation of College Democrats in the United States, with the most chapters and the most members.

“Texas is such a young state and so many people are in college right now, and college students typically lean more democratic,” DeleFuente said.

He also noted that polls that show Perry leading over Bill White “still show that Bill White is winning young voters ages 18 to 29 by around 20 to 25 percent.”

Dallas has typically been considered the “last urban area to go blue,” said Payne, who feels that events like the fall convention help Dallas move further down that path.

“Ten years ago you wouldn’t have been able to fill a room with kids who were super interested in democratic politics. Now we are doing that,” Payne said.

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