SUBMITTED BY DANIEL GORDON
This past weekend, Bowling Green City Council Member Daniel Gordon met with fellow elected officials and national leaders in Seattle at the 13th annual National Convening of People For the American Way Foundation’s Young Elected Officials Network. At the convening, which is the largest gathering of young elected leaders in the country, Gordon participated in issue-based training sessions with nearly 100 fellow progressive elected officials from across the nation to learn best practices for community protection and improvement at the state and local level, and create proactive strategies to bring back to all 50 states.
Gordon, 28, was elected to City Council in 2011, re-elected in 2013, 2015, and 2017, and has been a member of the Young Elected Officials Network since April 2015. Gordon brought his own unique perspective to the convening, sharing his experience working for social and economic justice in Bowling Green, including his advocacy for neighborhood revitalization and housing equity; enhancing transportation infrastructure, including bicycle lanes; creating more living-wage jobs, restoring local government funding, and ensuring a diversified local economy; investing in more clean and renewable energy sources; and defending local marginalized communities.
“It’s remarkable how so many of our challenges in Bowling Green are shared by folks in local governments all across the country,” Gordon said. “I came back to Bowling Green re-energized to work with Mayor Edwards and my colleagues on Council to implement cutting-edge solutions to the policy problems we face here at home.”
The Young Elected Officials (YEO) Network, a project of People For the American Way Foundation, is the first and only national initiative to provide a network of support to the newest generation of progressive leaders at every level of elected office. Over the last decade, the YEO Network has grown to more than 1,200 members in every state and at every level of office.
The YEO Network is a cutting-edge program investing in the pipeline of progressive leadership and building sustained relationships with its members. It provides the resources young elected officials need to effectively impact policy, foster their own development and professional growth, and elevate their voices and their leadership in the broader progressive movement.
At the convening, young elected officials discussed policy solutions and were immersed in solutions-based innovation labs on education, sustainability, economic opportunity, and social justice. Speakers and panels also tackled issues related to women’s equality and workers’ rights. Attendees heard from distinguished speakers including:
• Cyrus Habib, 16th Lieutenant Governor of Washington
• Danica Roem, Virginia House Delegate, 16th District
• Manka Dhingra, Washington State Senator, 45th District
“I am excited about the opportunities that convening weekend provide both to the elected officials who will join us in Seattle and to communities around the country,” said Svante Myrick, Ithaca Mayor and director of youth leadership programs at People For the American Way Foundation. “No other space exists where young, visionary elected officials from every corner of our country come together to discuss issues critical to our communities and then work together to form common-sense, bold solutions. This weekend’s discussions have tremendous potential and are sorely needed – now more than ever.”