Young Democrats, Teen Republicans get their voices

Gwen Chamberlain
The Penn Yan Academy Teen Republicans and other students met with State Sen. Tom O'Mara March 9

A new era of Yates County politics may be dawning with the establishment of the Yates County chapter of Young Democrats and a teenage Republican group at Penn Yan Academy.

The Yates County Democratic Committee has agreed to officially charter the Young Democrats chapter, which welcomes Democrats between the ages of 16 and 36.

Mildred España, president of the group, says the chapter held its first meeting Feb. 21, and is planning a second meeting March 16 at Keuka College.

While the Yates County Democratic committee will be focusing on protecting Medicare, España says some of the issues Young Democrats will be focusing on include immigration, public education, and LGBTQ rights.

The group is working to raise funds to attend the state conference May 5 to 7 in Dutchess County.

Yates Young Democrats have established a Facebook page, and have helped the Yates County Democratic party do the same, says España.

“Our goal is to unite against the Trump administration’s unlawful and unethical initiatives, as well as to build grassroots power in our community,” says the group’s description on Facebook.

At Penn Yan Academy, a group of teens with conservative views have formed a group that is operating as a trial club at the school. Ryan Smith, one of the organizers, says Yates County Republican Chair Sandy King met with the group, and has given it the verbal support of the county committee. Smith has attended county committee meetings, and helped arrange for State Sen. Tom O’Mara to meet with the teens March 9.

Members will be busing tables at the April 2 Taste of Yates event at Top of the Lake restaurant.

Smith says the group of about 10 was organized because students with conservative views have been reluctant to express their political views.

Penn Yan Academy students who want to know more about the group can contact Smith.

For more information about the Yates County Young Democrats, contact España at or 607-244-8439. You can also contact the group through their Facebook page.