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Congressman Hoyer Addresses Maryland Young Democrats

LANHAM MD – Today Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-5) delivered remarks to the Maryland Young Democrats at their annual convention. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery: “When I was a student at the University of Maryland I heard president Kennedy challenge my generation to public service. Like so many others I took up that challenge. It brought me to the young Democrats. “I began my time in politics as a young democrat. I met friends who were just as inspired by president Kennedy as I was—and I made friendships and connections that have lasted a lifetime. They were friendships based on shared values and a shared purpose—and those are the kind that last. “When Democrats have been successful in recent years it has been due in large part to young voters like you—young men and women who have been inspired just like I was by a young president. In 2008 that surge of young voters helped send Barack Obama to the white house. More than half of 18-to-29-year-olds voted and they voted overwhelmingly for the Democrats. Unfortunately we also know what happens when we can’t sustain that level of enthusiasm. In this last election just over 20% of young voters turned out. “Across the country the difference between 50% and 20% turnout helped make the difference in race after race. Here in Maryland it meant a very tight race for Governor O’Malley. “Now I know I’m not talking to the people who need to come out and vote. You’re here because you’re involved already—thank you. But the way you can make a difference is by showing the rest of your generation why being involved matters. “You can reach them in a way that politicians can’t. Because you can show them how the decisions made in Washington make a real difference in your lives. You can talk to them about how Democrats are helping more young Americans get a college education. “In the last congress we ended wasteful taxpayer subsidies to big banks and directed the savings to making college more affordable. We increased Pell grants cut red tape in the loan process and made it easier to repay student loans once students join the workforce. And Democrats have made record investments in community colleges. “We passed a health care bill that’s making a real difference in your lives. Half of people between 19 and 34 have gone without insurance in the past year. But we’re changing that—with a bill that makes coverage more affordable covers all Americans and lets young adults stay on their parents’ plans until 26 as they start careers of their own. “And the debates that are going on in Congress right now are debates about your future—which is why your generation needs to make its voice heard loudly. Washington needs to hear that you’re tired of our country putting your generation deeper and deeper in debt.  Washington needs to know if you support the party that ran up record debt under president bush—or the party that’s taking real action to get our fiscal house in order. “When President Obama talks about making America more competitive on the world stage he’s talking about your future. He’s talking about the investments in innovation and education that can build a future of well-paying jobs for you. “And when Democrats talk about our Make It In America agenda we’re talking about making this a country that builds things again—and about making sure you’re part of a middle class that’s growing again not shrinking. “When young Americans go to vote there’s a reason they overwhelmingly vote democrat—because we’re the party that’s standing up for their future. The question for us is: how are we going to motivate them to vote in the first place? That’s where you play such a tremendous role in the future of our party and our country. I want you to think about what motivates you. “I want you to think about what inspires you to be a democrat. I want you to think about what inspires you to get active to get engaged to pick up this mission. Whatever it is—if you talk about it honestly that’s how you inspire someone else to come out and join you. “That’s how leadership starts. And young Democrats are about creating and training leaders. Already in our own community young Democrats have succeeded – we have Karen Toles as a county councilwoman Mel Franklin a county councilman and others. You have a significant reach and so you have a significant responsibility. “So we are looking to you young Democrats. We’re counting on you to get young people involved and educated and inspired to be a part of politics and their own government. That’s where our enthusiasm comes from. That’s where our energy comes from. That’s where our new leaders and new ideas and new solutions come from. “In 2012 50% turnout from young Americans can mean another four years of President Obama. But 20%? We’re not going to let that happen. “Thank you for your work. Thank you for giving back. Thank you for carrying forward the ideals and the values of our democratic party. “And if each of you can go out and convince someone that those ideals matter enough to vote democrat—if young Democrats do that across our country—then the difference we make can be historic.”