Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Independent Brooklyn Democrats bestow awards 

"I love coming to this house!" Democratic Party of Brooklyn Chair Frank Seddio told the assembly of Brooklyn Independent Democrats as they gathered in Alice and Lowell Rubin's classic Prospect Park South living room to bestow awards on party notables that included City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Brooklyn Navy Yard Executive Vice President Jocelynne Rainey, City Planning Commissioner Joseph Douek and past Brooklyn Bar Association President Gregory Cerchione.

"This is good, old-fashioned Brooklyn politics!" past Brooklyn Bar Association President Andy Fisher said.

Mingling with party heavyweights, such as City Councilmembers Mathieu Eugene, Vincent Gentile and Chaim Deutsch, were freshman judicial candidates Susan Quirk and Rachel Freier. Quirk had already sought and won endorsement of the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats, while Freier, a Hasidic attorney and founder of the all-female Ezras Nashim volunteer EMT corps, drew upon the biblical Devorah as an inspiration for her candidacy.

But inspiration and endorsements don't pay rent or keep the lights on. There is work to be done, people to meet, networks to build.

"Fundraising is the most important part of the process," Seddio reminded everyone.

"I sign the checks," Comptroller Stringer quipped after receiving his award from 44th District Leader Lori Knipel and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. He went on to recount his mother's relief upon learning that a broken thumb, incurred while playing with his daughter, didn't impede him signing his name.

Rainey, of the Navy Yard, alluded to the dark side of money in politics — as an impediment to what many believe is vital reform — when she praised the congressional Democrats who took the chamber floor, literally, compelling votes on several gun control bills in light of the recent Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando.

"I'm a Democrat," she said. "Because I'm raising two boys in Brooklyn and I know how important gun control is!" This prompted applause throughout.

While on a national level the Party of Jefferson maintains its resistance to unification between progressive and centrist elements, the people gathered here on a quiet Brooklyn street, far from the sound and fury of the global stage, continued the unsexy — and nearly always unremunerated — work vital to maintaining the party's foundation.

As the evening drew to a close, Andy Fisher summed it up in simple terms: "Think Democrat; live Democrat; vote Democrat!"

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