Envisioning the Future with Southern Brooklyn Democrats
On Monday April 23, four members of the Southern Brooklyn Democrats gathered at Three Star Restaurant in Sheepshead Bay to discuss their vision for Brooklyn Democratic politics. Even within the intimate gathering, many of the values named were supported by at least two members of the group. Transparency, listening, inclusion, and experience were of particular importance, with honesty, accountability, and humility names by at least one participant.
Among the leaders they admire, the group identified Hillary Clinton, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Mark Treyger for their dedication to community service, their willingness to hear all sides, and their commitment to take responsibility with action. The group voiced that being accessible to the community was a key quality they admired in their leaders, as well as a commitment to prioritize success of the community over winning elections.
When discussing the qualities of a good citizen, the group honed in on the personal responsibility of each member of the community to educate themselves about the issues and stay informed. Good citizens, they felt, shared a sense that "we are all in this together" and "care about the community as a whole.
To enhance collaboration between leaders and citizens, the group identified a need for greater engagement in every single election. To this end, the group suggested seeking ways for citizens to actively engage with leaders to provide input into policy initiatives, as well as fostering healthy political competition within the party, without creating deep divisions.
When they envisioned the future party, the group identified many ways the hoped local Democratic politics would be both more representative and inclusive. To foster greater political involvement, the group recommended making election laws simpler and more transparent, will also providing voters with easy access to early voting, and same-day voter registration for 18-24 year olds. In addition to higher political participation, they identified the need for a more diverse, inclusive population of elected leaders who reflect the diversity of the community. They also voiced the need to reduce the influence of private special interests on elections, and foster better communication with the public on behalf of the Democratic Party.