On April 26, senior Abigail Miner won the “Young Democrat of the Year” award from the Michigan Democratic Party. At the annual Jefferson-Jackson fundraising and awards dinner at the Cobo Center in Detroit, Miner was presented her award and dined with several politicians who are currently serving or running for state and federal office.
According to Miner, the Michigan Democratic Party gives the “Young Democrat of the Year” award to anyone under thirty-five for “distinction in service, recruitment, innovation, and fundraising,” and that it has been several years since the award was given to a woman.
Miner was on the executive board of the Michigan Federation of College Democrats (MFCD) for about 14 months, during which she managed college chapters of College Democrats at different schools and hosted conferences for members across the state to get together, she said. According to Miner, her duties also included acting as a liaison between MFCD and chapter leaders, and sometimes with different candidates who wanted volunteers.
Miner was also the secretary of Kalamazoo College Democrats during her sophomore year.
“When they first called me I definitely thought it was a joke,” Miner said about first receiving the phone call from the Executive Director of the Michigan Party informing her that she had won the award. “My gut reaction was that they had called the wrong person.”
According to Miner, the Jefferson-Jackson dinner is an award ceremony and fundraiser that the Michigan Democratic Party holds every year, and this year raised over $5,000.
Miner was able to meet Bill Clinton, the event’s keynote speaker, and dined with U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow.
“It was a big honor to be taken seriously as someone who is 22 years old in a room of people who are 20, 30, 40 years older than me,” Miner said.
She explained that when the Michigan Democratic Party chooses the awardee, there is “a table discussion” about four different awards that are given out. Miner said she believes she was chosen because this year the party emphasized the importance of membership recruitment, and she did a good job with recruitment, bringing about 600 new members to the Democratic Party.
Miner said she greatly appreciates K’s Political Science department for funding her trip to Detroit for the awards dinner.
“I’m hoping to work one or two years before applying to grad school for public policy,” Miner said about her plans after graduation. She added that she hopes to work on a campaign and stay in Michigan for at least one election cycle.