Dori Ann Pliska sat at a coffee shop in Sunnyside and remembered being “the high school kid” that walked into a Senator’s office to learn more about politics.
“I do think it’s very much about public service,” she said. “Whether in you’re in the government side or in the campaign side, [you’re] making sure the everyday people you talk to know that it’s there for them.”
Today she is the second female president of the 11-year-old Queens County Young Democrats. She was elected as Executive Vice President until the previous president, Adrian Drepaul, resigned a few weeks ago.
Nevertheless, she is eager to continue the work of the organization in ensuring Democrats and members get support.
Pliska, a Queens College graduate who grew up in Middle Village and now resides in Sunnyside, is experienced with working in government and in political campaigns. She worked for former City Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley, moved to Iowa to help various campaigns, and returning to New York to organize with other officials and groups. She helped in the last campaign election of State Assemblymember Dan Quart (D-Upper East Side, Midtown).
While in Iowa, she found campaigning attractive for highlighting issues for residents sometimes unaware of the power they have in politics.
“Even if you don’t win, you can have a very important impact on people who didn’t know they had access on these choices,” she said.
While not affiliated with any campaign, Pliska still helps as a freelancer. For example, she’s worked with Brooklyn Public Library over their budgets.
Pliska also addressed issues that she viewed as important in the city. Providing more opportunities for women is one with the “21 in ‘21” campaign as an example. This effort, announced last year, would ensure 21 women are elected to the 51-seat City Council in the 2021 elections. Pliska felt more could be done to help women in both campaigns and elections.
“There does sometimes feel like there’s a little bit of a block,” she said.
Would Pliska ever consider working for her own campaign? She laughed as she didn’t feel comfortable talking about herself. The job of helping others get elected was more rewarding for her.
“Everyone who has ever worked in politics had a moment of “Yeah, I can do that [and] I have some good ideas,’” she said. “But I really like the impact of being able to work on a campaign and get someone elected.”
The 31-year-old Queens native also spoke on the potential of Democratic success two years after the upset victory of Donald Trump. She felt it caused more young people to get involved rather than alienation.
“We’ve been around for a little around. We understand the world we live in. Getting involved in elections and participation in the system we have is the only way we can change things,” she said.
For current and potential members of QCYD, Pliska said the organization would continue organize and publicize events with officials. In addition, it would provide opportunities to talk with officials and work in politics.
“We want to make sure everyone is welcomed and has access. We’re the youth arm of the Democratic party and our job is to make sure that people have access to the party, understand the world they live in and have their voice heard,” she said.
The Queens County Young Democrats next meeting is slated for 7 p.m., this Wednesday, April 18 at Katch Astoria 31-19 Newtown Avenue. in Astoria. City Council Member Costa Constantinides will be guest speaker to discuss environmental issues.