New Young Leadership

Today the Idaho Democratic Club elected a president that can actually give us some hope! The youngest president in its history. Shem Hanks is a local young leader who is very passionate and active in our community and politics.

Every Friday the club has a lunch meeting at the Iron Horse in downtown Cd’A at noon. They feature speakers, organize, and socialize over lunch.

As a few people brought up today, this was a room 95% full of people over 55. There is definitely a lack of young faces. This is possibly somewhat due to the time of the meeting, as noon is easier to attend for retiree’s then young working families and college students. Suggestions of having a second evening meeting were talked about.

Why do I think the Kootenai County Democrats elected a young man to be president? Well first, from my personal experience with Shem, he is more than passionate about Cd’A and equally qualified. Possessing a boyish charm, while obviously holding a sharp intellect, he clearly has a desire to serve.

I think local Dems are ready for change! They acknowledge that “business as usual” isn’t working, and electing young blood is a healthy step towards creating a new and vibrant local Democratic party. I believe this will require some growing pains. But as our nation speeds up and changes we must jump in and catch the current.

Younger people want a more active and focused political dialogue. They don’t want to sit around and argue over what we should or should not do or how we should or shouldn’t do it. They already know the problems of the world and they want to know what the hell we plan to do about it! They want leadership! They want community, and they want the truth.

In the next months, and years, I think lots of people are going to be poking their heads in to see what local progressives are doing. I believe it is our job to have a plan ready, and action steps to take, when they do. Simple things like:

• Affordable Health Care.

• Higher minimum wage/Right to Work Laws

• Higher teacher salaries.

• More taxes on the 1%.

• More community spaces and local activities/programs.

When we can find a healthy mix of national and local issues that directly affect Idahoans we will get people’s attention and keep it.

The truth is Democrats haven’t been winning local elections for a long time. I hope we will put more energy into finding our common values and fighting for them together! Letting our focus on elections be on the back burner for a bit while we plan to build a new progressive movement right here in Kootenai County!

The election of Shem is a major step in that direction. Though today was a grim day for all progressives it seems that movement is happening and the future is bright!



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Teuvo was born and raised in Coeur d'Alene. His deep roots in this community give him a unique perspective on local culture and politics.

Latest comments
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  • It comes as a great pleasure to see the Democratic Club’s action upon the goal to infuse their base with our community’s youth.
    I hope to see the day when Northern Idaho leads the charge in regards to young people taking a more active role in their federal, state, and municipal politics.
    As a Republican minded individual I am also happy to see several areas of common interest. For it is from agreement that mutual gain may come at a lower and may come more quickly to all parties.
    There is indeed a bright future ahead for Kootenai County.