NKD Fights For Reforms, Elects West As New President

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Ten years after its founding, the New Kings Democrats (NKD) club is still fighting with the Kings County Democratic Party hierarchy to get reforms through.

That was the main message at the club’s first general meeting of the year held this week at the First Unitarian Church, 19-121 Pierrepont Street in Brooklyn Heights.

The first part of the meeting surrounded a policy piece that was born of the special election that happened at the end of this past year when former State Sen. Daniel Squadron (D-Brooklyn Heights, Lower Manhattan) stepped down early.

The process to pick the person to serve the remainder of his term, according to Democratic Party rules, was up to Manhattan and Kings County chairs. The Manhattan Democratic County Committee held a vote among Committee members while Kings County Party Chair Frank Seddio voted on behalf of Brooklyn Committee members, tipping the balance in favor of who NKD allege was the establishment backed candidate, former Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, who now holds the seat.

In response, some NKD members held protests directly after that decision. Now a few members came up with a proposal to change the Party bylaws to reform the Party’s system for filling vacant seats in the event that a primary election is unfeasible.

The proposal would require a special meeting and a County Committee members vote, which would bind the County Chair (Seddio) to their decision. In addition, if the vacancy is county-wide, the proposal requires that the nominee be chosen through a majority vote of the entire Committee in whole, rather than just the Executive Committee.

The NKD plan to present this rule change at the upcoming County Committee Meeting slated for 8 p.m., next Wednesday, Jan. 24 at the American Legion Post 1060, 5601 Avenue N, (between East 57th and East 56th Streets).

In other news from the meeting, the club voted in its new 2018 Executive Committee including Brandon West as the NKD’s new president, who is replacing Anusha Venkataraman, who stepped down to join the de Blasio Administration.

Other executive committee members for the year include Jesse Pierce, Chief of Operations; Mariana Alexander, VP of Policy; Emily Hoffman, VP of Political Affairs; Angela LaScala-Gruenewald, VP of Organizing; Cindy Tran, Director of Communications; Fred LaPolla, Treasurer; and Becky Steinberg, Director of Membership.