Amid Sanders visit, Kansas Democrats seek the next generation
Andrew Figueiredo knew he couldn’t miss the Bern.
A 19-year-old studying in Montreal, he decided to start spring break a day early to fly back to his hometown of Wichita on Friday before driving to Topeka early Saturday. By late morning, Figueiredo was helming the Young Democrats table at Washington Days, his smile giving no indication of his whirlwind day of travel.
He’s an ardent fan of Sen. Bernie Sanders (his Twitter account shows a photo of him dressed as Sanders for Halloween in 2015). Figueiredo is also the kind of person the Kansas Democratic Party has in mind as it seeks to draw in the next generation — those who are younger and may also, in some cases, be more progressive.
The push for fresh blood among Kansas Democrats was evident Saturday at Washington Days, the party’s annual convention. The party’s state committee elected a new chair and vice chair, and Sanders’ speech proved a draw for younger people: he spoke to high school students Saturday night in addition to a rally crowd.
Party chairman Lee Kinch announced Monday he wouldn’t seek re-election to the post, paving the way for Saturday’s leadership election. In a letter to Democrats, he cited concerns expressed by young Democrats about the “aging leaders and the need for a new face for our party.” He said he took those concerns seriously.