January 18, 2013
Posted By: Rochelle Dudley
When State Representative Ray Pilon spoke to the Young Advocates for Sarasota group during a strategy meeting last week, his advice to them was to be smart, not noisy.
“If you want elected officials to listen to you, shouting on a street corner with picket signs is the worst way to go about doing it. There are smarter ways to advocate,” said Pilon.
Pilon, whose district includes a large portion of Sarasota County, spoke to the non-partisan group of civic-minded activists, aged 18-40, on how to effectively communicate their goals and ideas to elected officials in advance of a networking mixer set for Wednesday, February 6th from 6:30 - 8:30 pm at the HuB in downtown Sarasota.
The mixer will serve to introduce the group to area officials, political candidates and community leaders, while also giving them an opportunity to unveil their initiatives for the year ahead.
“We want to meet the influencers in our community and give them an opportunity to meet us. This mixer is our way of introducing ourselves to Sarasota,” said Rachel Denton, who co-chairs the group with Rochelle Dudley, a local political consultant.
Young Advocates grew out of political discussions during the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce’s Annual SUM+ Conference in October of last year. Denton and several other participants left the conference with a mission: to help Sarasota recruit and retain young professionals by giving them a voice in local politics.
“Sarasota has a great group of creative young professionals and our goal is to keep them here. We want to make Sarasota a socially and economically vibrant community and know that it's going to require a lot of collaboration,” said Dudley.
Since the conference, the group has been actively recruiting members, setting goals and formulating a plan to tackle youth-oriented issues, which includes modifying noise regulations, paving the way for affordable housing projects and getting young voters to the polls on election day.
“Many of my friends in the City don’t even realize that there’s an important election right around the corner,” said Denton in reference to the election of two at-large City Commissioners on March 12th.
As such, the group's first order of business will be to get young City voters to the polls.
Although not associated with the Chamber’s Young Professionals Group, members of Young Advocates plan to work closely with them to organize voter registration drives and host a massive “get out the vote” effort prior to the March election.
The public and invited guests are encouraged to learn more about this effort during their February 6th mixer. Prospective members are also invited to attend the group's next general meeting on January 22nd from 5:30 - 7 pm. Both events will be held on the 3rd floor of the HuB, located at 1680 Fruitville Road.
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Young Advocates for Sarasota is a non-partisan group of young professionals, college students and civic activists, aged 18-40, who are working together to make Sarasota a socially and economically vibrant community. It is free to join and open to like-minded people. For more information, "like" their Facebook page.
Article courtesy of PoliticallyPersonal.com.