Democrats have their day in N.C.

CHARLES TOWN – Fielding requests for interviews from local, state, national and even international media since he arrived for the Democratic National Convention on Sunday, Young Democrats of America national president Rod Snyder says this may be the busiest week of his life.

“I have something scheduled about every 15 minutes,” said Snyder, who attended the party’s national conventions in Boston and Denver as a volunteer. This time around, the 32-year-old Shenandoah Junction resident is a super delegate and also a sought-after spokesman for the party that hopes to return Barack Obama to the White House in November.

“It’s a totally different experience,” he said. “It’s been crazy.”

Even as he juggles speaking engagements before the DNC Youth Council, the DNC Faith Council and other groups along with a bevy of phone interviews and face-to-face appointments with TV, radio and newspaper reporters, Snyder says he’s working hard to enjoy the week, too.

“As busy as it is, I’m trying to remember to take in the experience – it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said the 32-year-old corn industry lobbyist who was elected YDA president in 2010.

Snyder’s fondness for politics started early. He remembers closely following the 1988 race between then-Vice President George H.W. Bush and Massachusetts Gov. Mike Dukakis. He was just 8.

“I found it exciting, fascinating,” said Snyder, whose father, Herb Snyder, is a leader in the state Senate. The Democrat formerly was a Jefferson County Commissioner. “I loved everything about politics, even before my dad became a politician. I remember watching the convention that year and just loving seeing the political theater. Some people just get the bug.”

Though that year the Republican candidate prevailed mightily – Dukakis won just D.C. and nine states, including West Virginia – Snyder is hoping for a different outcome this fall. Voters head to the polls Nov. 6 to choose between Republican Mitt Romney, himself a former Massachusetts governor, and Obama.

“As significant as the youth vote was for Barack Obama in 2008, it stands to be even more important in this election,” Snyder said. “Last time, voters under the age of 30 went for Obama by a 2-to-1 margin. This election is expected to be closer overall, so the youth vote very well could be the deciding factor.”

Young people need to vote, Snyder said. “I always tell people, we have the most at stake – we’re going to be living longer with the policy choices these candidates make.”

Health care coverage and need-based aid for college are some of the big issues that are especially important to young people in this election cycle, Snyder said.

This week in Charlotte, Snyder says he has breakfast daily with the 75 or so members of the West Virginia delegation. Today, the group has an early morning get-together with U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller.

The 2012 DNC has more delegates 35 and younger than ever before, Snyder notes. West Virginia’s contingent includes Washington High School senior Hannah McCarley, who marked her 18th birthday Monday.


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