On Wednesday, October 3rd, Access threw a Political Party! Everyone exercised their right (even if they were on the left) to vote! Everyone enjoyed a FREE all-American affair that celebrated the democratic process with drinks, dinner, a lively debate and a dessert reception where they met state and local candidates and surrogates from both the Obama and Romney campaigns. To see more photos from this event or for more information about Access, visit www.jypaccess.org or check out the article below for more information about this event.
Common etiquette says it’s not nice to talk about religion or politics in polite company. Well step aside Emily Post, because Access is about to do away with convention and host a conversation about both taboo topics when it presents The Political Party, a free bipartisan pre-election dinner and dessert reception for Jewish young professionals that combines a little friendly discourse with lots of information, and of course, fun on Wednesday, Oct. 3 at 5:30 p.m. at the Weston Art Gallery at the Aronoff Center. And even though the election and this event are still months away, YPs will have a chance to create a caption for the political cartoon shown above (see details below).
The Political Party event is designed to give guests the tools they need to make informed decisions at election time, no matter which of the candidates they decide to endorse. “I am excited about this event because a forum like this will allow my peers to engage with candidates, or their representatives, on issues that matter to us specifically as young professionals and as Jews,” says Elida Kamine, a young professional and local attorney who is active in politics. “This event will allow us to cast informed votes which is critical especially because Hamilton County may be a deciding county on the federal level.”
After drinks and appetizers on the first floor of the Weston Gallery, amidst works by local artists, participants will be treated to a sit down dinner in the Aronoff’s elegant Green Room, featuring favorite all-American fare where guests will have the chance to hear from representatives from the Board of Elections and League of Women Voters, as well as Alex Triantafilour (R) and Tim Burke (D), County Chairmen of their political parties who will give a jovial presentation entitled, “Why I’m a Democrat, Why I’m a Republican.” Following their presentation, surrogates from both the Obama and Romney campaigns will each speak for 10 minutes and then take questions and answers from the audience.
“It’s vital for those in the 21-35 year old demographic to pay attention to local issues and get to know the local candidates and officeholders,” explains Eric Greenberg, member of the Leadership Council of the Hamilton County Republican Party and former campaign manager for Amy Murray for Cincinnati City council. “Those politicians will listen to the opinions of young adults and take them seriously. Every presidential election is important, but this one could have particularly long-lasting ramifications when it comes to issues such as tax policy and healthcare. Sometimes the meat of the issues gets lost in the endless news cycle so I see an event like this as a way to learn about where the candidates actually stand,” he explains. “If we don’t know where they stand then there is no way to hold them accountable. It is also crucial for members of our generation to occasionally step out of the echo-chambers that reinforce our opinions and to understand the mindset of those who hold different views than our own,” he adds. “At every level of government Republicans and Democrats have to work together, and as voters and citizens we should seek common ground to detract from some of the vitriol and empty rhetoric that plague politics.”
Julie Brook, executive co-chair of the Hamilton County Democratic party and campaign manager for Steve Black, Judicial candidate for the Court of Common Pleas, agrees. “Ohio is considered a ‘battleground’ state so every vote matters! We need to get YPs to the polls. According to an April 2012 Gallup poll, even though 60 percent of those ages 18-29 are registered to vote, only 56 percent of them plan to actually vote. This event represents a wonderful opportunity to help these young professionals to stay current and knowledgeable so they can cast their votes with confidence,” she stresses.
“Amidst statistics that confidence in elected officials is at an all time low and an increasing cynicism that elections are bought by special interests, it’s important to remember that voting is a privilege and a duty,” says Kamine. “The decisions made in Washington and Columbus, and especially in our local municipalities and the county do impact our daily lives. This year, more than in the past, some of the big issues being debated on the national stage affect young people who unfortunately vote more infrequently than the rest of the population. The effects of decisions made in the next term may also have long-term consequences. For example, the next president may select more than one Supreme Court justice. In a presidential election year, so much attention is paid to that race, but there is a close and important Senate race as well as several state house, judicial and other local races.”
Following the meal and feature presentations, guests will head to the lower level of the Weston Art Gallery to enjoy a dessert reception where they will have the chance to mix and mingle with one another, view more works by Cincinnati artists, and for those who are interested, meet dozens of local and state candidates representing both parties who will be on hand to answer questions and talk about important issues.
The Political Party is part of Access’ JCafe program, which brings participants together around topics of particular interest to Jewish young adults. In addition to rich discussion, JCafe events seek to engage participants in thinking and learning about something they didn’t know before, or enhancing their knowledge and perspective about something they already did. The event is free with an advance RSVP and is open to Jewish young professionals, 21-35. Non-Jewish significant others are welcome. However, space is strictly limited and will fill up quickly. No one will be admitted without a reservation. The Caption Contest is open to Jewish young professionals 21-35. Multiple submissions are encouraged but must be received on or by Aug. 10 to qualify. For more information, to RSVP and/or to enter the contest please contact Rachel Plowden, Access Event Coordinator, whose contact information can be found in the Community Directory listing in this issue.