BROOKLYN, Sept. 13, 2018 — New Kings Democrats believes Kings County Democratic Party leadership is actively attempting to reduce attendance and participation of County Committee members by scheduling its first meeting of a newly elected body on Thursday, September 27 at 6:00 PM at Kingsborough Community College, located in the far reaches of the borough. The meeting time and location will make it difficult or nearly impossible for many members to attend the meeting. The college is, at best, 20 minutes from the nearest subway station, and the very last stop on the two bus lines that service that neighborhood.
New Kings Democrats President Brandon West said, “This is the most important meeting of the Kings County Democratic Party for the next two years because the membership will be voting on its leaders for this election cycle. To have the meeting at the very end of Manhattan Beach at the Kingsborough Community College, far from the nearest subway stop and early in the evening, suggests Party leadership does not want genuine engagement from its elected general membership.”
New Kings Democrats reached out to Kings County Democratic Chairman Frank Seddio and Executive Director Jeff Feldman to ask them to change the location and start time of the meeting. Mr. Seddio explained that the County leadership expects to spend approximately the first hour of the meeting sorting proxy votes, with most of the agenda occurring after. He did not address our other concerns.
“Even so,” said West, “it is frustrating that the Party would not try harder to accommodate the large number people who work in Manhattan or other parts of the city, during rush hour no less. One can only assume it is resorting to these tactics to try to manipulate the results of the leadership election. At a time where people are showing up in droves to participate in local politics, this is how the Party wants to engage with the grassroots?”
This year, hundreds of Brooklynites have joined County Committee for the first time. Many of these people ran with the logistical support of #RepYourBlock, a community-led campaign convened by New Kings Democrats to promote civic engagement among everyday residents of the borough. One of the goals of #RepYourBlock is to make County Committee more representative of and accountable to Brooklyn Democrats. The scheduling of this meeting is exemplary of how County leadership appears to be intent on limiting access and engagement, and why it must be reformed.
New Kings Democrats also reached out to Kingsborough Community College to inquire about parking and learned that the event organizers stated they did not expect a big turnout to the meeting. We hope they’re wrong.
Regardless of where or when this meeting is held, we are excited to be a part of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, and more motivated than ever to reform it. We will not be discouraged by attempts to exclude the Brooklynites who are excited to be part of this democratic body, representing their blocks across the borough.
As such, we are working to coordinate transportation for all County Committee members who want to attend the September 27 meeting—and we strongly encourage them all to do so. We believe that ensuring as full attendance as possible is the responsibility of the Party leadership, and are disappointed that they were not the ones to take on this role.
About New Kings Democrats
New Kings Democrats is a progressive, grassroots political organization committed to bringing transparency, accountability, and inclusionary democracy to the Kings County Democratic Party. Founded by veterans of the Obama campaign, New Kings Democrats serves as a training ground for individuals seeking to become more engaged in local politics, and hopes to nurture a new generation of elected Brooklyn Democratic leaders. New Kings Democrats connects Brooklynites from across the borough seeking to transform local politics.
#RepYourBlock is a community-led campaign of New Kings Democrats to help everyday Brooklynites reform local government by winning a seat on the 3,000-member Kings County Democratic Committee (a.k.a. the Brooklyn Democratic Party). We all think of Brooklyn as overwhelmingly Democratic, yet decisions about the borough’s Democratic priorities and candidates are made by a few party insiders. It’s time to fix this by making sure everyone—in particular those traditionally excluded from the electoral process—can access County Committee and transform the Democratic Party. It’s time Brooklyn set the standard for inclusive and accountable local politics.
Director of Communications