The Winter County Committee Meeting Should Prioritize Relevant Business and Enable Engagement

On February 12, 2019, the Kings County Democratic Committee (KCDC) will hold its winter meeting, the second of four meetings of the two-year KCDC term. New Kings Democrats is encouraging our members and the general public to attend. However, we are concerned by indications from KCDC leadership that they will not allot time for New Business.

So far, County leadership has not distributed an agenda; we hope they will distribute one well in advance of the meeting. The meeting should be a meaningful forum for participation and, as such, there should be explicit time for committee business to take place in the agenda. Specifically, we believe proposals for rules changes ought to be heard. The September meeting demonstrated both an unprecedented level of engagement from grassroots activists within the party and how badly the party needs voting reform. These proposals for voting reform deserve hearing before the full membership.

We raised this concern with County leadership and they denied the request on the grounds that the winter meeting must be solely focused on public policy, but this is not required by the KCDC bylaws; New Business can be included in the agenda. There has been a groundswell of support for Party leadership to respond to recently proposed rules changes, and we want to see leadership respond positively to this unprecedented level of engagement. We are asking party leadership to circulate an agenda which includes New Business and allows the membership to hear rules change proposals driven by the events of the September meeting.

KCDC members at large are collecting signatures in support of a resolution to ensure that New Business is part of the July meeting agenda, and we support them in doing so. We encourage leadership to allow for the meeting to be an open and collaborative space, whether or not there is a resolution demanding it.

We believe the KCDC meeting should be used to discuss important matters including:

  • Calls for Party leadership to provide more advance notice of the meeting date, time, and location; make the meeting agenda available ahead of time; and include meeting minutes and instructions on how to run for County Committee on its website, as a means of encouraging engagement and participation from general membership;
  • Reports from the Assembly District Committees that have formed as a result of reinvigorated membership at the district level;
  • Requests for Party leadership to form standing committees, as there is interest among KCDC members in joining and bringing their skills to the Party;
  • Updates regarding the rules change proposals that District Leaders, Assembly Members, and KCDC members have referred to the Rules Committee, and the timeline of when these proposals will be considered by the Rules Committee and the Executive Committee or general membership of KCDC; and
  • The Party’s financial status, including a report from the Treasurer.

As members of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, we all came together in the fall to flip the New York State Senate blue. We now have a Democratic majority in the State Senate and the opportunity to effect real, progressive change for New Yorkers. However, NKD continues to believe that meaningful change starts at the County level, and that without a local Party that operates transparently and encourages participation, Brooklyn is at risk of squandering opportunities for further Democratic electoral and policy victories. Allowing for New Business to be discussed at the KCDC meeting creates an opportunity for necessary discussion about how the Party can continue to welcome and engage members.

If Party leadership does not address the call for New Business or the specific discussion points outlined above and in member outreach to Party leadership, we will encourage KCDC members to publicly ask questions during the meeting. While NKD aims to disrupt the way Brooklyn politics has historically worked – not the meeting itself – we encourage KCDC members to hold leadership accountable to the three-thousand person body of representatives there on behalf of their neighbors and community.

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