District Leaders & County Committee Members ReImagine Politics in Assembly District 44, Ditmas Park

Residents of the 44th Assembly District came together on November 10th to talk about politics and community in their neighborhood at the Pakistani Youth Association (thank you to Kashif Hussain for having us!). They were hosted by District Leaders Doug Schneider and Lori Citron Knipel (Lori was unable to attend). Many of the participants were members of Brooklyn’s County Committee and were able to speak about the future of the party grounded in what they had experienced thus far as elected members.

The discussion about the future of the party quickly focussed in on the idea that politicians should be dedicated to serving their constituents and guided by compassion and empathy. One participant added that it is important that they be brave - willing to diverge from ‘politics-as-usual’ in service of their constituents. Integrity, transparency, and accountability also resonated with most folks. Specifically regarding the Kings County Democratic Party, participants envisioned a future where the party’s main purpose was to eradicate poverty and racism and ensure that political leaders cared more about the community than accruing power.

When asked which leaders they admired the answers were diverse - Zephyr Teachout was admired for running while pregnant, a participant noting that for someone to run while pregnant or as a parent of young children, shows passion and commitment. Assemblywoman Diana Richardson was also mentioned for her outspokenness and commitment to engaging constituents (she holds monthly constituent meetings). Similarly, Rodneyse Bichotte was held up as an independent thinker who listens to her constituents and is authentic in her leadership. Another independent thinker highlighted was Bernie Sanders, who has been willing to go (far) beyond the standard Democratic talking points.

If this is what people want of their leaders, what about their fellow community members? Empathy was again highlighted, with DL Doug Schneider summing it up in saying that kindness and the little thing we do every day that matter. Empathy and kindness means understanding how your actions impact your community, staying informed, and engaging with your community. One participant imagined a day when we would receive half of our news from our neighbors and the other half from journalists.

Vision Project