The New Kings Democrats (NKD) believes that it is time to move beyond just reactionary opposition to the current leadership in the Kings County Democratic Party and focus on creating a positive vision for the future of the party.
Thus, the political club is launching two large initiatives this year to get more people involved in county politics: the Rep Your Block initiative, aimed at getting more people to run for the thousands of seats on the county committee, and the Vision Project initiative, a survey of what Brooklynites from each assembly district want for the future of the Democratic party.
“This is all about political engagement and getting a seat at the table, and making [the county committee] a place that we can build future leaders from,” said NKD President Brandon West at the clubs meeting yesterday held at the First Unitarian Church, 119-121 Pierrepont Street in Brooklyn Heights,
As a reform group, NKD has worked to get Kings County Democratic Party Chair Frank Seddio and the executive committee of the party, to make the local party more transparent and accessible to the average resident. They have gotten the party to notice them and implement changes such as increasing the number of committee meetings held between elections and considering changes to the way that candidates are chosen by the party for special elections.
Now in order to get the numbers for a real insurgency they are not just looking to get their members on the committee, but they also plan on partnering with other Brooklyn clubs and organizing outreach campaigns into targeted assembly districts to get more new people sitting on the committee.
While the club has been unsatisfied with committee meetings to this point, they have acknowledged the importance of the soft power the executive committee wields when it comes to picking candidates that go on to get elected. To help people with their committee campaigns, the club will be providing petitioning training and assistance in May and June for the petitioning period through their Rep Your Block program.
In addition to just getting more people to run, the second goal is to get a more diverse group of people involved. Aware that the make up of the room and the club membership is not a reflection of the county as a whole West continued, “there are parts of the borough more engaged in local politics, different demographics, people of color, and we may be aligned in some ways in out interests, but we haven’t been speaking to them. We don’t just want a coalition drawing together for our needs and out interests, but done in a way that incorporates people who live in these communities and brings them in in a sincere and personal way.”
The club hopes add more voices to the mix through the vision project, a plan to speak with 1,000 Brooklynites in a series of workshops held across the borough, one in each assembly district. The hope is that after compiling the data, they will be able to better report on what more Democrats want the borough to look like and what they want of their leaders in the Democratic party.
Even with their ambitious plans, the club has not forgotten about the upcoming House and State Senate elections though.
NKD Vice President of Political Affairs Emily Hoffmann announced that they were looking to set up meetings with candidates from the following races to start the club’s endorsement process: candidates for the 7th, 9th, and 11th congressional districts, the 20th and 22nd State Senate Districts, and to be determined District Leader Races.