BROOKLYN — A coalition of Brooklyn Democrats opposed to Kings County Democratic Party Chairman Vito Lopez announced yesterday that it would seek to reform the local party by recruiting an unprecedented number of candidates to run for Democratic County Committee.
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 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 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. 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 [current Brooklyn Democratic Party Chairman] Vito Lopez and his cronies out of office.”
In 2010, when the last biannual County Committee elections took place, New Kings Democrats successfully elected more than 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.”
For more information about how to run for County Committee, go to www.newkingsdemocrats.com.
Note: Brooklyn Eagle managing editor Raanan Geberer is a member of the Manhattan Democratic County Committee.