Florida students are creating the youngest led Political Action Committee in the state. Earlier this week, the Florida High School Democrats and Florida College Democrats announced the formation of the Florida Future Leaders PAC.
Jayden D’Onofrio, the PAC’s chair and chair of the Florida Democratic Party Youth Council, created the PAC to ensure that there is money to be given to FLHSD and FCD to support their growth when it comes to voter registrations materials, food and school meetings and to hiring on-campus organizers for 2024.
FFL will use its skills and resources to “invest in bringing on full-time campus organizers.”
They plan to use their statewide team to focus on digital outreach using platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, Reddit and TikTok to gain voters’ engagement.
The two student caucuses of the Florida Democratic Party say that there haven’t been any resources or funding poured into campus organizing.
“We get zero donations from anyone. We’ve been growing really fast on our own and for free,” said Rhea Maniar, chair of the Florida High School Democrats, “This is the only PAC in Florida that specifically deals with youth organizing. So there’s literally nowhere else for the money to go. So if donors want to support young people’s work then this is the PAC they go to.”
The PAC is hoping to have access to “tens of thousands of dollars.” It was able to reach an initial goal on their first-day launch, raising $20,000.
The FFLs mission to directly invest in on-the-ground organizing allows them to strategically “break the Republican supermajority,” all the while supplying resources necessary to win.
“We see our state government utilize organizing to ban books and to suppress the voice of young people and it’s time that young people stand up and organize for the future they want to see. This gives us the opportunity to win some key races and also start building the bench for future leaders to flip the state,” said Logan Rubenstein, the PAC’s executive director.
FFL believes the only way to take back Florida is through college towns. Unfortunately, youth voter engagement has been quite low in Florida.
According to Circle, the youth voter turnout has decreased by 9.1% since 2018. Due to this turnout, civic groups have given up on Floridians but with the formation of the PAC they believe that they have the skills to bridge the voter block.
“Florida is behind on youth voters,” D’Onofrio said. “We saw the loss that we had with young voters on college campuses and we’re trying to bridge that gap and turn out youth voters in the districts we lost.”
During the 2022 Florida State Senate elections, many registered Democrats between the ages of 18-30 did not vote, resulting in the miserable loss of Senate District 3 but there is still hope for a turnaround.
“Now is not the time to give up. We as Democrats have had a painful past couple of years but the party is fired up and ready to show out. Young people play a vital role in flipping Florida blue and we can only do that if high school and college students knock doors, make calls and most importantly vote,” said Alexis Dorman the president of Florida College Democrats.