In July, we wrote about the challenges of accommodating an elected official as Democratic County Committee Chair. We expressed that the greatest risks to creating an inclusive and representative committee would be:
the consolidation of power in the elected official;
the conflicting goals of public service and partisan politics; and
that elected officials need to focus on the job they were elected to do by the voters of Staten Island to make their districts better.
This piece sparked conversations within the Party, including local Democratic leaders, who were driven to discuss with community leaders how we can make this party work for everyone. What followed was a long road of education and discourse to address these risks in a thoughtful and collaborative way. Our goal is to share what happened between our July op-ed and our ultimate vote for Assemblymember Michael Cusick for Party Chair in September, in hopes that we can all continue to share experiences and information, to learn from one another and remove some of the mystery that often shrouds the political process in Staten Island.
Fighting for a fair and representative county committee is a complicated task. There are many factions and coalitions within the local Democratic Party that are trying to work together and make room for each other at the table. Even with a seat at the table, it often seems like we make one step forward and then take ten steps back; you are going back in time, identifying systemic problems, while looking forward to building something new: a local party that truly includes and represents all of Staten Island’s Democrats.
Last summer, members of Staten Island’s Democratic County Committee succeeded in sitting together at the table and listening to diverse perspectives and concerns, in order to establish the most representative county committee in our borough’s history.