Belmont County Democrats want the party's youth to come out and help them prepare for the 2012 elections.
The new Belmont County Young Democrats organization will hold its first meeting from 6-7 p.m. Thursday in the community room at the Ohio Valley Mall.
The meeting is open to all people age 36 and younger who have an interest in governmental affairs and who "want to foster and promote the philosophy, principles and goals of the Democrat Party," said Ed Good, chairman of the Belmont County Democratic Party.
Those over 36 may attend and be "honorary" members of club.
Thursday's session will be the initial, organizational meeting for the group.
"We had a Young Democrats club many years ago," Good noted. "But we all got old. Now the group is reactivated, and we're going to bring new people into the fold. They are the future."
He noted last year's effort to overturn Senate Bill 5 - legislation that would have limited collective bargaining rights for public employees - inspired many younger Democrats to get involved in politics. Good expects re-election campaigns this year for President Barack Obama and Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, to also entice many to become active this year.
"We have to get them involved, let that group take hold and integrate them into party," he said. "We're just trying to build a better base for the party. We will need help with sign distribution and going door-to-door. We have a great relationship with labor, and with other constituent groups, but this is one group we haven't tapped into."
Good said local Democrats also may look to establish Young Democrat chapters at local high schools and colleges.
Conor Craig of Powhatan Point, a senior at Shadyside High School, has worked to establish the new Young Democrats Club in Belmont County.
He will facilitate the meeting until a chairman is selected.
"Young people are always needed in the Democratic Party," Craig said. "Their opinions, and their support, are always needed. I encourage them to come out - not just for the Democratic Party, but for politics in general."
He believes working for campaigns and elections can help young adults build a positive social network.
"There are good things in politics," Craig said. "You can build lasting relationships and friends through politics. And these are the types of friendships that don't go away."