The March 8 membership meeting of the Shasta County Dems featured special guest Jenny Bach, Secretary of the California Democratic Party, who is running for a Vice Chair position in the state party.
When Jenny was elected CDP Secretary in 2017, she was the first young Democrat elected to executive leadership in over 20 years, and is still the only candidate under 30 in the 2021 officer elections. The daughter of Vietnamese refugees, Jenny works as a consultant to non-profits on food security issues, and with the Asian Pacific American Leadership Foundation to train and mentor AAPI candidates for office. She previously served as a Field Representative for State Senator Dr. Richard Pan, and as a consultant to the Asian & Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus. In 2020, she worked on the Office of the Secretary of State’s Vote Safe California campaign to provide voter education and voter access resources to the API community, in-language.
As an activist and party leader, Jenny focusses on youth engagement and outreach. She sees the need to address affordability in party activism, and relates personally to the challenges that youth and working families face when trying to become participants in the political system. As an officer, and facing costs for an average state convention of up to $2,000 per delegate, she picked up a part-time job at her local grocery store to supplement her consulting income. “We can do better,” she said, “to be supportive of our activists during this challenging time.”
Jenny pointed to a Republican party strategy of actively recruiting high schoolers and college students by paying for scholarships and grant programs, and providing funding for young people to run for office. “We should do better, on our end, to also provide the right resources for the next generation.”
She believes the party should strengthen its presence in all regions of the state to combat misinformation, and gave a harsh example of the rampant disinformation being spread in ethnic communities by recounting an “extremely alarming” incident she observed at an Asian Market. Recall petitioners were targeting ethnic Asians, “giving bad information to shoppers and collecting signatures.” They baited customers by asking, “are you for Communism?” and if they answered no, urged them to sign the petition, with no disclosure the petition was related to an attempt to recall Governor Newsom.
Misinformation and disinformation in public media, she said, is “not only a threat to our democracy, but to our public health.” She urged the party to address safety measures for party activists through the pandemic, provide accessible information on vaccines, and help communicate public benefits to the most vulnerable communities. “Misinformation about the vaccine has spread,” she said, with false claims of deadly side effects or tracking devices that are being broadcast on ethnic and conservative media. “We should really have more of a presence in ethnic news media, and partner with more of our trusted messengers on the ground to really fight this.”
Jenny’s parents’ journey as refugees and immigrants inspired her to serve as a champion for the under-served, and immigration issues are a key priority. Growing up, she was called on to read and translate everything from the family’s bills to their first ballots. Now, she advocates for more opportunities at the state party level to amplify the voices of undocumented immigrants.
More information on Jenny and her campaign can be found on her website: https://bachforcdp.com