Meet the SLATE

President

Ryan reza | (He/Him)

Ryan lived in Topeka for 18 years and just recently moved to Lawrence, KS to study at the University of Kansas.  He has been in politics since he was 16, working on both state and federal races. Currently, he is Vice-President of the KUYDs and Secretary of the KYDs. Ryan has worked on a multitude of issues in the forms of actual political policy work and activism. Serving as Vice-President of KUYDs has given him the operational skills to run a professional organization and taught him the importance of leadership. His work with the party and with KYD has built up his skill set so he can rebuild this organization and have it operate at a high level.

 

Ryan wants to build a foundation. He’s running to be president of Kansas Young Democrats because he knows this organization has the potential to be a force in Kansas politics. Kansas Young Democrat’s is the only organization in the state that is dedicated to engaging and encouraging young people to participate in Democratic politics. This organization could be something incredible, all it needs is a group of people to put the effort into it so we can create a pathway for young Democrats to easily enter politics. Ryan’s running so that we can lay the groundwork, so young people can jump straight into the political world and not be overwhelmed by the systemic roadblocks that plague us today. He wants KYD to shatter those roadblocks, and ensure that young people can easily join the fight without having to come from a certain background.

 

Now is the time for action. We can make a difference in this state. It’s time for us to build a coalition, so that we can change the narrative.

Contact Ryan at: ryanreza12@gmail.com

topeka, Kansas

1st vice President

lauren martin | (sHe/her)

Lauren Martin is running for First Vice President of the Kansas Young Democrats. KYD members are the current and future progressive leaders of our party and our government. She is passionate about party infrastructure building and increasing youth voter turnout. She wants KYD to be more engaged in recruiting, training, and supporting young candidates, elected officials, and party leaders. She also wants to grow the number of KYD chapters around the state, with a special focus on chapters that exist outside of educational institutions.

 

Lauren is an active member of the Johnson County Young Democrats, a group she helped found after the 2016 election. She had served as Chair, Vice Chair, and Secretary of the chapter. She joined the Kansas Democratic Party in 2018, where she worked as its Political & Data Director. She spent two years traveling the state, working to build party infrastructure. She was responsible for organizing new county parties, recruiting and training candidates, and strengthening party relationships. She also oversaw the party’s voter file.

 

Prior to joining the KDP, Lauren worked on municipal, state, and federal races in Kansas and Long Island, New York. She served as campaign manager for Logan Heley’s successful 2017 Overland Park city council race. Heley, one of the youngest council members elected in Overland Park, earned 71% of the total vote and ousted a 14-year incumbent. Lauren left the KDP at the end of 2019 and now works as the Senior Manager of Membership for an association. She also serves as campaign manager for Ethan Corson’s campaign for state senate, district 7. Contact Lauren at: lnmartin08@gmail.com

Shawnee, Kansas

2nd vice President

alejandro rangel-lopez | (He/him)

Alejandro Rangel-Lopez is from Dodge City, Kansas and has been active in local and state politics since 2017. As a high schooler, he founded the Dodge City High School Young Democrats, the westernmost Young Dems chapter in the state. In 2018, he became involved the lawsuit LULAC, Rangel-Lopez v. Cox in which he served as co-plaintiff due to a polling place issue that occured during a pivotal moment in our state's history. After winning the fight for more accessible polling sites in his hometown, he now serves as President of the Kansas Young Democrats while majoring in public administration and political science at the University of Kansas. Moving forward, Alejandro plans to continue to expand the reach of the KYD by chartering chapters in rural parts of Kansas as well as continuing to build a progressive bench at the city and county level. Contact Alejandro at: rangel.alejandro@outlook.com

dodge city, Kansas

treasurer

andrew lee | (He/him)

Andrew Lee is originally from Shawnee, KS, but is now a student at KU studying political science. Andrew has been working campaigns in Kansas since 2016, and found his love for all things campaign finance working for Barry Grissom's US Senate campaign. He is now the finance director for Joy Koesten's KS Senate campaign in District 11. If elected, Andrew would hold webinars all across the state to teach Young Democrats how to call donors and organize fundraisers for their chapters. He intends to consistently have a $10,000 operating budget for the YD caucus, and use that money for trainings, bench building, and campaign donations to Young Democrats running across our state.Contact Andrew at: andrewlee917@gmail.com

shawnee, Kansas

secretary

allie utley | (sHe/her)

Allie Utley is a renown rural revitalizationalist and activist from Allen County, Kansas where she is currently employed at Thrive Allen County. In her efforts, she strengthens rural equity and documents her findings in monthly Iola Register columns. Allie also serves on the Kansas High School Democrats Executive Board, the Pete for America grassroots team, and as an intern at Loud Light.

 

As KYD Secretary Allie looks forward to creating an inclusive Kansas that provides equal opportunity for all its citizens, no matter their color; sexuality; or zip code. Contact Allie at: allierutley@gmail.com

iola, Kansas

National committeewoman

Brandie armstrong | (sHe/her)

Brandie Armstrong is a full-time working-class mom of three from Kansas City, Kansas, that has been working for almost three years as a paralegal at a real estate law firm. Brandie was a successful policy debater for over two years at Johnson County Community college where she earned her Associate Degree in Liberal Arts and is currently working on finishing up the paralegal certificate program. She hopes to one day make it to law school and become a civil rights attorney. 

 

In her spare time Brandie stays as politically active and as involved in my community as she can. Brandie currently serves as the Secretary for the Wyandotte County Democratic party and the LGBT caucus. She is also the Judicial Council Alternate for the Young Democrats of America Midwest Region. In 2019, Brandie had the honor of being the campaign manager for Christian Ramirez when he ran for 3rd District County Commissioner in Wyandotte County. He won his election beating out a 3 term 12-year incumbent. Brandie has a wide range of political and non-political experiences that she knows would bring beneficial insight to the role of national committeewoman. Brandie knows what it takes to get things done and will work as hard as she can to make sure that the KYD is as successful as possible.

 

As national committeewoman, Brandie would bring a strong voice for KYD to the national convention, coordinate with other state organizations to bring new ideas to the KYD, and assist the executive board in anyway she can to recruit members for local chapters. Contact Brandie at  bnshepherd1987@gmail.com

Kansas city, Kansas

National committeeman

Christian ramirez | (He/him)

Christian Ramirez is a second generation Mexican-American who was born and raised in Wyandotte County. He’s been involved in the political realm for over 3 years. He interned in the state Capitol, worked on a Congressional campaign in CD-3, has been involved with Kansas Young Democrats the last two years as Treasurer, was elected as the Treasurer for the county party in Wyandotte, and mostly recently he was elected as County Commissioner to represent District 3 of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, KS. Contact Christian at chrram13@gmail.com

Kansas city, Kansas

state committeewoman

alyssa hoedl | (sHe/her)

Alyssa is from Olathe, Kansas. She graduated from the University of Kansas in May of 2019 with a major in Political Science and a minor in Journalism. Currently, Alyssa works in Topeka as the Agenda Clerk and Communications Coordinator for the Kansas House Democrats. She has also been involved with the Johnson County Young Democrats for a number of years and is currently the Chair. Alyssa has also been involved in many local campaigns in Johnson County and is excited to be running for this position.

As state committeewoman, Alyssa’s main goal would be getting the Young Democrats' voice into the state party, including in the state committee meetings. Showing we have a strong and energetic presence in these meetings is also a goal. Helping bring structure to the organization and showing the rest of the state party we are engaged and bringing change is really important to her. Contact Alyssa at alyssa.hoedl@gmail.com

olathe, Kansas

state committeeman

trae mcpherson | (He/him)

Trae McPherson is originally from Augusta, Kansas but is currently a junior pursuing a Bachelor of Legal Studies from Washburn University.

 

While only 25 years of age, Trae has already started to climb the ladder of governance and politics. He is currently Parliamentarian of the Shawnee County Democratic Party Executive Board, Vice President of the Shawnee County Young Democrats, Alternate Delegate to the Kansas Democratic Party State Committee, and Secretary of the Central Park Neighborhood Improvement Association in Topeka. Trae has also served as Agenda Clerk for the Democratic Caucus of the Kansas House of Representatives in 2017 and served as an intern for State Representative Brandon Whipple in 2018. 

 

Most recently, Trae has been appointed to sit on the Board of Directors for two area Topeka non-profit organizations, Breakthrough House and Community Action, Inc.

 

In addition, Trae has Student Government experience. He served as Senator and Speaker Pro Tempore of the Washburn Student Government Association, and during that service, advocated for students with disabilities causing renovations to several campus buildings to reduce barriers and align campus buildings with federal Americans with Disabilities Act legislation. At Butler Community College located in south central Kansas, near Wichita, Trae was Student Government President, for a body of roughly 10,000 students.

 

At the age of 20, Trae ran for Mayor of his hometown of Augusta, Kansas. While not ultimately successful, the mayor candidate received almost 200 out of about 1,000 ballots cast. The Augusta City Council did pass several ordnances inspired by his campaign to improve city drinking water quality, concerns on Mill Levy rates, and transparency.

 

As State Committeeman, Trae wants to raise the profile of Young Democrats as leaders of today and tomorrow. He want KYD to attend both Washington Days and DemoFest, and other party functions. Trae will also help KYD be a more structured organization. Contact Trae at trae.mcpherson@outlook.com

augusta, Kansas

© 2020 Ryan Reza for Kansas Young Democrats President