Olivia Habinck, President of College and Young Democrats of Iowa (CYDI), was interviewed by reporter Zoe Card after 2018’s midterm elections. Habinck encourages everyone to learn more about their program by going to the link below.
Q. How did you get involved with CYDI?
A. I got involved with the Iowa Democrats around 2016 before the Iowa Caucuses, where I was a volunteer to GOTV for Hillary Clintons campaign. Since then I have been hooked, starting a Democrats club where ever I can (so far Cedar Falls High School and DMACC) which got me connected with a lot of Young Democrats across the state. I got super involved with the organization of College and Young Democrats of Iowa last October when I was appointed to the position of Vice President and was elected to serve as President in the spring.
Q. Why do you think it’s important for the youth of America, or Iowa, to be politically active?
A. I think it is important for young people to be actively engaged because the policies being put in place by local, state, and federal governments DIRECTLY affect our futures. Healthcare and education are hot-button issues in Iowa and across the country and desperately need young people’s opinions in the mix to make these systems more sustainable for the people that will be directly affected by it.
Q. What does CYDI do and how can students/volunteers get involved?
A. College and Young Democrats of Iowa (CYDI) is an organization co-chartered through College Democrats of America and Young Democrats of America that advocates for Iowans under 36 and students of all ages. With 20 chapters across the state, we empower Democratic activists, support candidates across the state, and advance the interests of students and young adults within the Iowa Democratic Party. To start a chapter in your high school, college, or town, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. What would you say to a young person to convince them that their vote matters?
A. Do you want to have poor quality education, your tuition to go up, not get a livable wage, and not have healthcare? Those things sound horrible right? That’s what’s happening. You need to vote and need to vote blue.
Q. Were there any surprises in the Iowa results in the election?
A. The shift in the suburban areas of Iowa really gave me hope for the future of our state. Just in Polk County alone, we saw 4 Iowa House Seats flipped from Republican to Democrat in Ankeny, Johnston, West Des Moines, and Windsor Heights. I am sure there will be more Iowa House flips like this in 2020!
Q. Did more young people vote in Iowa?
A. We saw youth turnout in the midterms like never before. Our three major public universities had hour-long lines to vote. At Iowa for example, the line was so long that the Deidre DeJear campaign bought pizzas for students to give out slices to people in line. I also heard a rumor that U.S. Senator Cory Booker himself facetimed into the line to tell students to stay and vote! Additionally, with all the colleges big and small in the First District, we had student turnout like no other show up to support a fellow young Democrat, Abby Finkenauer, to be elected into the U.S. House of Representatives!
Q. What success stories does CYDI have from the general elections?
A. With the help of Northern Iowa Democrats (UNI’s CYDI group), the Democrats on Tuesday were able to unseat long-term Republican incumbent Walt Rodgers in Cedar Falls. This was a very surprising upset for the Iowa House Republicans.
Q. Knowing that J.D. Scholten was relying on the college vote, was the Steve King’s win a set back for CYDI?
A. I think Steve King’s win was a set back for everyone in the United States. His hateful ideology and rhetoric cannot be tolerated. J.D. Scholten was the closest a Democrat has ever gotten to winning over Steve King in the 4th District, having not only young students on ISU’s campus turnout for him but Republicans as well. I think come 2020, the voters of the 4th District both Democrat and Republican will finally reject Steve King and put in a person that will work to the benefit of all Iowans.
Q. Also, any comments on Hubbell’s lost against Reynolds?
A. I am, like many, very upset and am not looking forward to another four years of a Republican governor. Under her leadership, I expect education to continue to be underfunded, the disastrous privatization of Medicaid to continue, and attacks on marginalized groups in Iowa to continue. That is why we need to do everything we can to ensure that we flip the Iowa House and Senate in 2020 to keep her in check.