April 26, 2017 Edition

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Ross heads State
Young Democrats

Blake Ross of Walnut Ridge gives his inauguration speech after being sworn in as the new president of the Young Democrats of Arkansas.

John Bland

In an inauguration ceremony held Saturday afternoon in the Old Supreme Court Room of the State Capitol in Little Rock, Blake Ross of Walnut Ridge became the new president of the Young Democrats of Arkansas. He was elected for a two-year term.

Ross, who has been active in the organization since 2013, said he has been interested in politics "basically, my whole life." He is a 2012 graduate of Walnut Ridge High School, where he served as Student Council president. His parents are Bryan and Janet Ross.

As state president, Ross will serve as a liaison between the Young Democrats and the state party. He will appoint his senior staff, plan events and is "expected to raise a lot of money." He heads a 15-member executive committee that includes the seven statewide officers and two directors from each congressional district.

The Young Democrats of Arkansas have a spring convention, which took place this past weekend in Little Rock, and a fall conference, which rotates to different parts of the state. Arkansas State University in Jonesboro hosted last year’s fall conference, and he helped with that event. The state convention had a record attendance with 250 present, he added.

Most of the convention events were held in the State Capitol, but a Legacy Banquet was held Friday night in the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. The president and vice president of the Young Democrats of America attended the banquet.

Early in his race for president, Ross said he had an opponent, who later dropped out and supported him. Blake adapted his original campaign speech to an inaugural address, with several rewrites along the way.

In his speech, he stated that "prosperity in America is not based on the height of the wall, but the length of the table," meaning that he favors diversity, more people being allowed the privilege of being American and expanding the definition of "us." Part of his platform is to push for the abolishment of the penny, he added.

Besides making a lot of friends and contacts, Blake said, "I have a very great group of people working with me and help from the previous administration."

Blake is active in the Northeast Arkansas Young Professionals Chapter of Young Democrats, an organization he started. His rich baritone voice can be heard on Combined Media radio stations in Pocahontas, where he announces a morning show three days a week, does commercials and runs the soundboard, among other duties.

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