“People like me are not supposed to win elections like these!”
Macaulay Junior Emmanuel Decaudin seems both energized and a bit stunned at his September 14, 2018 election win, but he is solidly committed to positive change as he begins his term as a member of the New York State Democratic Committee.
Emmanuel’s interest in public service was piqued during high school in Yorktown, New York. At that time, he worked with the 2016 campaign of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and later joined the New York Progressive Action Network, a grassroots organization. Emmanuel found he was particularly inspired by the movement’s values and continued to closely follow politics and the Democratic party’s activities in his Westchester community.
But he also observed a frustrating disconnect between the party’s energized, young voters—people like him—and an adherence to the status quo by its entrenched leadership. “The Democratic party has an opportunity right now to adapt to changing demographics,” he explains, “but there’s a tendency to underestimate its younger members. For example, high school and college students are often assigned to outreach duties rather than being asked for their ideas.”
Encouraged by Democratic Party leadership, Yorktown Co-Chair Elliot Krowe, Emmanuel decided to run for office. With the help of his town Democratic committee, he quickly collected twice the number of required petition signatures to appear on the ballot, and ran unopposed in the September elections. Generally believed to be the youngest Democratic District Leader ever to serve, Emmanuel’s term will last two years, and he plans to focus on democratization of the party and funding for public higher education.
Emmanuel is active on his City College campus as well. He is the Vice President of College Democrats of New York and Founder of City College Dems. A CUNY BA student majoring in political theory and intellectual history and studying populism and progressivism, Emmanuel will use Opportunities Funds to spend a semester in Rheims, France focused on European Affairs and building language skills.
“I want to change the way younger people interact with the party and infuse new energy into the democratic process,” he says.