February 2018 General Meeting Roundup

February’s General Meeting was all about Rep Your Block, NKD’s campaign to help everyday Brooklyn Democrats participate in their local party, known as County Committee.

Keep reading for a summary of the campaign’s goals, history, and scope this year, or if you’re eager to find out what you can do, scroll down for 10 great ways to get involved with Rep Your Block and New Kings Democrats.

Remember, the most exciting work at NKD happens between our General Meetings!


Photo credit: Sara Shoener


Rep Your Block, Past and Present

“The important stuff is hard, and this is what we think is the important stuff.”

— Brandon West, President, New Kings Democrats

Brandon West, NKD’s newly minted President, gave an overview of why County Committee matters. For one thing, this obscure political body holds a surprising amount of power. County Committee chooses the candidates for special elections, effectively deciding the fates of one third of all state legislature races.

As Rep Your Block Project Manager Sara Shoener pointed out, County Committee should also be the grassroots of the Democratic Party. It could be a place where we cultivate the future Democratic leaders nationally. After all, if it’s not happening in Bluest Brooklyn, then where? Yet, almost half of the Committee’s 5,000 seats sit empty, and its makeup simply doesn’t look like Brooklyn. That’s where Rep Your Block comes in.

So far, Rep Your Block has successfully helped over 200 people run for County Committee, bringing together a reform coalition that has started to make the party more transparent, accountable, and inclusive. This year, NKD plans to take the campaign to the next level by reaching out to new partners and cover more areas of Brooklyn.

Rep Your Block’s organizing efforts in 2018, led by VP of Organizing Angela LaScala-Gruenewald, will focus on increasing participation in nine of Brooklyn’s twenty-one Assembly Districts. These districts have the right combination of assets, like NKD members and local partners, and a high number of empty County Committee seats.

Photo credit: Sara Shoener


Every member of NKD’s Executive Committee has a role to play in the campaign. Over the next six months, you can expect the campaign to ramp up, with your help:

  • March–May: NKD will reach out to partner organizations, like local political clubs, to help recruit and petition for new County Committee members.

  • May–June: NKD will provide training to Rep Your Block participants to help them petition and win a seat on County Committee.

  • June: Every weekend in June, NKD volunteers will be knocking on doors to help petition for County Committee candidates who applied through Rep Your Block. At the end of June, NKD will collect all signatures from candidates and submit them to the Board of elections on their behalf to make sure that filing goes smoothly.

Stay tuned for next steps! In the meantime, there are lots of ways to get involved!

Five Ways to Get Involved with the Rep Your Block Campaign

  1. Rep Your Block! If we haven’t told you yet, you should run for County Committee. It’s the easiest way to help make Brooklyn politics more progressive and inclusive, and we will support you every step of the way. To get involved, visit: www.repyourblock.com

  2. Communications: Our appetite for creative people is insatiable. Rep Your Block needs more copywriters, social media managers, graphic designers, videographers and inbox managers to join our ranks. To find an outlet for your creativity, email Cindy Tran at: [email protected]

  3. Organizing: To get involved, email Angela LaScala-Gruenewald at: [email protected]

  4. Membership: Rep Your block is an opportunity to both grow NKD membership, and to  mobilize existing NKD members in new ways. Have a great idea to build up NKD’s outreach and retention through Rep Your Block? Email Becky Steinberg at: [email protected]

  5. Vision: Reforming County Committee isn’t just about the quantity of candidates, it’s about the quality. The Policy Committee plans to engage 1,000 Brooklynites to build a new vision for our local Democratic Party, including County Committee. To help lead workshops around Brooklyn or analyze the findings, register for a workshop training happening tonight, Monday, February 26th or this coming Thursday, March 1st, or email Mariana Alexander at [email protected]

Five Ways to Get MORE Involved with New Kings Democrats

  1. Become NKD’s new Secretary: We need a quick and snappy writer to take down minutes during our General Meetings and Executive Committee Meetings, and to manage the NKD email inbox with patience, responsiveness, and charm. It’s a great way to get to know our ExCo, and learn about the inner workings of NKD. To apply, email Cindy Tran at: [email protected]

  2. Become NKD’s new Event Organizer: Our general meetings need an organized individual to keep the trains running on time. You would be responsible for securing a venue, equipment, and other logistics for our monthly general meetings. To apply, email Becky Steinberg at: [email protected]

  3. Endorsements: We have identified some key races around Brooklyn that NKD will weigh in on during election season this fall, including the 7th, 9th, and 11th congressional districts, and the 20th and 22nd state senate districts. Our Political Affairs Committee will identify an initial roster of candidates in these races for the NKD membership to vote on for endorsements. To join the committee, email Emily Hoffman: [email protected]

  4. Fundraising: We have big ambitions this year, and we need a brilliant fundraising team to find new ways to fund them. To join the committee, email Fred LaPolla at: [email protected]

  5. Donate: Kick off 2018 by donating $18 to help us grow our impact! newkings.nationbuilder.com/donate

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