Brooklyn Democratic Reform Clubs, Unite!

democratic logo w Brooklyn Democratic Reform Clubs, Unite!City & State‘s newsletter this morning first reported the intentions of various Democratic clubs to unite under a common banner, the “Brooklyn Reform Coalition,” to oppose Brooklyn’s Democratic leader, Assemblyman Vito Lopez. The group announced their full intentions this afternoon to shake up local levels of party leadership.

“The goal of the coalition is to clean up Brooklyn Democratic politics, which has been marred by countless scandals for decades, including the recent guilty plea of Senator Carl Kruger, the multiple arrests of Assemblyman William Boyland, and, on a larger scale, the indictment of three of the last four chairmen of the Kings County Democratic Party on corruption charges,” the statement read.

Democratic politics in Brooklyn is often defined by whether a candidate or group expresses support or antipathy towards Mr. Lopez, and this new coalition is the latest shot across the bow.

“By investing just a few hours of your time, you can become a real elected official and have the power to vote Vito Lopez and his cronies out of office,” Alex Low, the president of New Kings Democrats, said in the statement. “I urge every Brooklyn Democrat who cares about political reform and social justice to reach out to our coalition to find out more about this important initiative.”

The clubs joining this new effort are the New Kings Democrats, Independent Neighborhood Democrats, Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats, Lambda Independent Democrats, Bay Ridge Democrats, and the Southern Brooklyn Democrats.

View the full press release below:

BROOKLYN REFORM COALITION TAKES AIM AT BOROUGH CORRUPTION WITH CAMPAIGN TO RECRUIT POLITICAL CANDIDATES TO RUN FOR LOCAL OFFICE

New Wave of Reformers Aims to Inspire, Train Brooklyn Democrats to Run for County Committee Seats in Direct Challenge to Party Boss Vito Lopez

A new coalition of Brooklyn Democratic clubs announced today that it would seek to reform the Kings County Democratic Party from within by recruiting an unprecedented number of candidates to run for County Committee, the grassroots body of the Democratic Party, which can play an important role in our Borough’s politics – when there is a middle of term vacancy in a state elected office, it is the County Committee who determines the Democratic candidate whose name will appear on the ballot. Party boss and Assemblyman, Vito Lopez, has used this often overlooked power to expand his control of elections throughout Kings County.

The new alliance, known as the Brooklyn Reform Coalition, unites many of the borough’s reform-motivated political clubs, including New Kings Democrats, Independent Neighborhood Democrats, Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats, Lambda Independent Democrats, Bay Ridge Democrats, and the Southern Brooklyn Democrats. The goal of the coalition is to clean up Brooklyn Democratic politics, which has been marred by countless scandals for decades, including the recent guilty plea of Senator Carl Kruger, the multiple arrests of Assemblyman William Boyland, and, on a larger scale, the indictment of three of the last four chairmen of the Kings County Democratic Party on corruption charges.

The coalition is aiming to recruit, train, and help elect hundreds of enrolled Democrats to the County Committee. County Committee members constitute the grassroots level of leadership within the local Democratic Party. Generally, they represent just the few blocks around their homes, or roughly 700 to 1,000 registered Democrats. For each of these “Election Districts”, there are two or four County Committee members (depending on population), equally divided between male and female representatives. The vast majority of the 5,000 county committee seats across Brooklyn go unfilled, which means that if only one candidate were to run for them, he or she would win automatically.

“Running for County Committee is quick, free, easy, and fun – and the benefits of doing so are enormous,” explained Alex Low, the president of New Kings Democrats. “By investing just a few hours of your time, you can become a real elected official and have the power to vote Vito Lopez and his cronies out of office. I urge every Brooklyn Democrat who cares about political reform and social justice to reach out to our coalition to find out more about this important initiative.”

In 2010, when the last biannual County Committee elections took place, New Kings Democrats successfully elected over 100 County Committee Members, the vast majority of whom had never run for office before – nor ever thought of doing so. This year, by using social media, community organizing, and word-of-mouth outreach, the Brooklyn Reform Coalition hopes to increase tenfold the number of reformers elected to the County Committee.

“This is grassroots politics at its finest,” said Lincoln Restler, a Democratic District Leader, who represents Greenpoint, Williamsburg, and Fort Greene. “We’re asking you, your spouse, your roommates, your friends, your family members, your neighbors – every Democrat in Brooklyn – to run for office. Why? So that the most important decisions affecting our democracy aren’t made in the backrooms and the clubhouses – they’re made by you.”