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New group, La Crosse Young Democrats, talks why it launched — holding 1st meeting tonight



William Garcia (left) is joined, from the new group, La Crosse Young Democrats, with Grant Mathu (middle) and Hannah Dull, on the Democratic Voice podcast on Oct. 5, 2023.

A new group is forming in La Crosse to tackle issues that they don’t think typical politicians see as important.

The La Crosse Young Democrats will hold their first meeting — albeit a quick one — at 7:30 p.m. tonight, before they run across the street for trivia at JavaVino 15 minutes later.

Grant Mathu and Hannah Dull joined the Democratic Voice podcast with county and 3rd US House District Democratic Party chair William Garcia to discuss why they’ve started the group.

The Democratic Voice podcast has new episodes every Monday. Listen here or search The Democratic Voice, wherever you get your podcasts.

“I know in my experience, if you don’t go out to the bars every weekend — maybe you’re 20 — or you don’t want to, there’s not a lot of young things to do in La Crosse, as a young person,” Dull admitted. “So, it fills a social need and it also fills a political need. I mean, the amount of traction we’ve got on our Instagram page, I feel like shows people are just dying to participate but are a little scared to.”

Some may recognize Mathu from La Crosse County Board meetings. But, because he moved out of the district, he had to give up his board seat that represented the UW-La Crosse campus.

Mathu, however, wasn’t about to be done with politics in the area, and that’s, of course, a main focus of the La Crosse Young Democrats.

But, asked on the podcast, ‘Why not Young Republicans?’ this was Mathu’s response.

“The Republicans have just come after me and my family on a fundamental level,” Mathu said, noting his parents are both public educators.”And now, if you just look to all of society, they’re coming after everybody on a fundamental level, whether it’s voting rights or reproductive rights. Really, everything. The Democratic Party just aligns, in my opinion, just values of good governance and just ethical governance. So, it’s an easy choice for me.”

The age for La Crosse Young Democrats ranges from 18 to 40, though they’re focus is mainly on those who are either not in college or graduating college, because, they said, La Crosse already has such a strong college Democratic group.

Dull talked about some of the issues they see as important to “Young Democrats,” and how they’re open to debate.

“If you think traditional Democratic values maybe aren’t left enough, I would say come to a meeting, push us left,” Dull said. “We love to fight a little bit, if we work in the system we have, right? So, come give us a good fight, we love to hear it.”

Host of WIZM's La Crosse Talk PM | University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point graduate | Hometown: Greenville, Wis | Avid noonball basketball player and sand volleyballer in La Crosse

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