BROOKLYN, Feb. 15, 2019 — At Tuesday night’s Kings County Democratic Committee (KCDC) meeting at the Brooklyn Expo Center, we witnessed progress toward a Democratic Party held accountable for its priorities and actions – but also still-pervasive intransigence we will continue to challenge.
As expected, the meeting was dominated by a Public Advocate forum and straw poll that ended, predictably, with an endorsement of Brooklyn Council Member Jumaane Williams. It was difficult not to think that Party leaders used the Public Advocate forum to run out the clock on democracy and leave little time for real Party business or member participation.
In the weeks leading up to the meeting, KCDC members at large submitted a resolution, in accordance with Party rules, to advocate for a New Business section of the next meeting’s agenda. Because of the clear groundswell of support for this resolution, in a conversation with Brandon West, President of New Kings Democrats, on Monday, Executive Committee Chairman Frank Seddio committed to reserving the last hour of the meeting for an open session. However, given the duration of the Public Advocate forum – one of numerous forums that have taken place during this election cycle – we were left with only a couple of minutes to address Party matters.
The Party did address the call for more opportunities for participation late in the night: Chairman Bova spoke briefly on standing committees and provided an email address that members could contact to express their interest in joining. This solution isn’t perfect: it’s not clear who will run the email account, how the committees will function, and whether they’ll even report out at subsequent general meetings. But it’s something.
“KCDC members – there representing their neighborhoods, their blocks, on an icy night in Brooklyn – are simply seeking ways to participate in the Party.” said West. “We'll continue to pour effort into partnering with the Party and having conversations with them, but we expect the Party to do the same – to be responsive to not only leaders of political clubs like ours, but to KCDC members at large.”
We are still looking for a concrete path to engagement on behalf of KCDC members at large, but in the meantime, New Kings Democrats encourages everyone to take the Party up on its offer: send emails stating your interest in participating in standing committees. Join your Assembly District Committee (ADC) or work to stand one up (and let us know if you need help). Engage early and often with your District Leaders and tell them what you want to see them do to better represent your constituents and theirs.
We’re thankful to the District Leaders, other electeds, and fellow club leaders that supported the resolution leading up to Tuesday’s meeting, and encourage you to work with all of them in your efforts to reform the Democratic Party as well. The more people that join KCDC and work to disentangle its web of rules and power structures, the more we’re starting to see cracks in the system. We need block-by-block local change in Brooklyn. We need more people at every meeting – more reform-minded Democrats challenging the status quo and working for what’s best for their neighbors.
The Brooklyn Democratic Party can and should be the vanguard for the Democratic Party across the country. As Chairman Seddio said Tuesday night, “We’re all Democrats.” He’s right, and credit due where credit is earned: he made sure to introduce the topics we wanted to discuss during the abbreviated open session. But today’s Brooklyn Democrats welcome participation, thoughtful dissent, and action towards creating a Party that ensures equitable access to politics across the borough. We want the Brooklyn Democratic Party to be a model for the state and nation, a powerful and progressive body that lives its ideals. We’re going to keep working to get there, and hope you’ll join us.