Member of the Month
MoM April 2017: Elliot Friar
Elliot Friar is one of the many involved and progressive MYD members, seeking to organize in today’s ever changing political climate. Here’s his story.
Elliot is an active member of MYD, and has long been passionate about many policy areas, including health care and education; however, he finds himself most interested in affordable housing, a hot topic in New York City right now given recent federal budget cuts to housing programs.
He has recently taken up the role of Vice Chair of MYD’s new Affordable Living Task Force, where he has been a great leader for young progressives looking to learn more about public housing and get involved in promoting efficient housing policy. “A lack of access to affordable housing contributes to social disparities, limits the productivity of our economy and leads to poor quality of life,” Elliot says. “All education (from Pre-K to college) and health care should be a public good rather than a commodity, and equal access to both is incredibly important for creating an equitable society.”
As a 22-year-old recent college graduate, it would make sense for Elliot to be new to the world of politics; however, his work in politics dates back to 2008, when he volunteered for then-Senator Barack Obama’s Presidential campaign. He painted signs, knocked on doors, and canvassed, beginning his long journey into political involvement.
After graduating from Emerson College last year with degrees in Marketing Management and Journalism, Elliot moved to New York City to work as a content manager for a startup in Chelsea. Here, he continued this activism by joining Manhattan Young Democrats. He credits the organization for giving him not only great volunteer opportunities, but a way to make new friends.
Elliot’s longtime friend, Kelly Kasulis, does not seem surprised by Elliot’s involvement in the political group, nor his success in helping to lead one of its task forces. “I’ve gotten to know Elliot over the last five years, but it truthfully just takes a few minutes with him to realize that he’s passionate about politics,” she says. “There hasn’t been a day that we’ve talked where he hasn’t brought up what’s happening in the political sphere. It really matters to him on a personal level, but I also think that he enjoys challenging himself with viewpoints that differ from his own.”
When asked where he would like to see MYD go in the future, Elliot hopes it helps young progressives to win public offices. “I would love to see MYD empower more young people, particularly from marginalized groups, to actually run for elected positions,” he says. “Age isn’t really thought about in terms of identity, but I think it’s really important for there to be diversity in age in our government — and inclusion of all people in general.”
Elliot has come a long way from his hometown of York, Maine. In all his success, Elliot has always looked up to his parents, admiring them for running several successful small businesses despite starting their family young. Elliot likes to destress from politics by taking long, thoughtful walks in the city with friends (gelato in hand!) As far as his future goes, he doesn’t have an exact plan, but knows he wants to “advance transformatives ideas for a better world.”
MYD believes Elliot is already accomplishing his goal by serving as a progressive and active New York City resident and inspiring others to get involved through his activism. We are proud to have Elliot as one of our leading members, and have full confidence that he will continue to help promote progressive policies in New York City.