Newly Appointed Dem Party Lady Boss Bichotte Visits IND


Brooklyn Democratic Party Chair and Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte (D-Flatbush, Ditmas Park) eyeballed the room filled with Independent Neighborhood Democrats (IND) club members at St. Francis College last night.

“There’s a lot to learn about Brooklyn. Brooklyn’s a large borough, it’s very diverse and I never would have imagined that I would have taken this role,” she said, introducing herself.

Bichotte succeeds former Party boss Frank Seddio, who announced he was stepping down last month.

“Women can lead too,” laughed Bichotte, “and many times, better.” 

Since being appointed the first woman and woman of color to the county leader role she has been making her tour around Brooklyn, and some of the IND members hadn’t met her yet, but appeared eager to hear what she had to say. “We come from different walks of life but we want fairness. We want equity,” continued Bichotte.

IND Members question Brooklyn Democratic Party Chair and Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte. Photo by Ariama Long.

A proud Haitian-American, Bichotte recounted her family’s hardships and her struggles with education as a non-native English speaker. She spoke about being bedridden and home-schooled as a child from a horrific car accident to excelling as an engineer as a young adult. Eventually, Bichotte changed career paths, going back to her civic roots from school, and ran for office in her hometown of Brooklyn.

Assemblywoman Mathylde Frontus. Photo by Ariama Long

“The machine or the establishment was not happy that I won,” said Bichotte who wasn’t shy about talking about how her reach across racial and cultural lines played into her getting elected as district leader. “It was an election that engaged a lot of people who weren’t necessarily engaged for a long time, and they were excited.”

Bichotte said that her vision for Brooklyn includes unified and civically engaged communities. She plans to build up the dwindling treasury by being more fiscally responsible, which means tapping into the donor list and campaigns, dinners, employing district leaders to get more people to participate, and fundraisers.

Throughout the night Bichotte, as well as other speakers, came back to the ideas of newness, accountability, and unity within the community. 

Assembly Member Mathylde Frontus (D-Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Bay Ridge) stood in solidarity with Bichotte as a fellow Haitian-American and the second person of color to represent a traditionally ‘white’ district in Brooklyn. She spoke about some of her accomplishments in legislation, and the absolute need to ban together against neo-Nazism that has cropped up in Bay Ridge. 

State Senator Andrew Gounardes (D-Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesend, Gerritsen Beach, Manhattan Beach, Marine Park) expressed the urgency of public safety when it comes to reckless drivers in the city, lowering the sexual harassment threshold, holding the MTA accountable, and working with Bichotte to have more translators at poll sites for upcoming elections.    

“I think there’s a lot of ‘This is the way we’ve always done things,’ and I would like to see us break out of that. I do think she brings a fresh set of eyes,” said Nicole M. Hunt, a member at the meeting.