Frank Seddio Elected Chair Of Kings County Democrats

September 25, 2012 Helen Klein
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Former Assemblymember Frank Seddio, who has served as a Democratic district leader since 2010, was elected the new chairperson of the Kings County Democratic Party on Wednesday, September 19, by an overwhelming margin.

Seddio got the nod to assume the powerful though unpaid post from fellow district leaders, with only two (Charles and Inez Barron) voting in opposition. There were also two abstentions, from co-leaders Jo Anne Simon and Chris Owens; Simon had announced her candidacy for the party post but subsequently withdrew it, allowing Seddio to run unopposed. Seddio replaces Assemblymember Vito Lopez, who declined to run for re-election to the position after a sexual harassment scandal erupted last month.

As well as voting for Seddio, the borough’s elected district leaders (two representing each Assembly District) also voted to eliminate the 11 at-large district leader positions created by Lopez, which had come under fire as part of a mechanism he had developed to make sure the party backed what and whom he supported.

That vote is part of what Seddio promised when he announced his candidacy, he said. “I made it clear that I wanted to change the way we do things in Brooklyn,” Seddio told this paper.

Specifically, he said, he has three goals – “Transparency in how we operate, cooperation between all factions to elect Democrats and, most important, I want everyone to have a place at the table. The goal is a united Brooklyn. It’s got to stop being us and them. It’s got to be we. This is a new age for politics in Brooklyn.

“We are going to be as democratic as possible in our decisions,” Seddio went on, noting that he had already “formed a rules committee to look at all rules with an eye to making changes.” In addition, he said, the county organization will be “creating a website with information for everybody, and we are going to be holding more meetings of the executive committee. We are looking to do regular meetings of the county committee so more people can participate.”

Seddio has a long history of community and political involvement. Now an attorney in private practice, he has also been a Surrogate Court judge, a NYPD police officer, traffic enforcement commissioner for the city of New York, and both district manager and chair (at different times) of Brooklyn’s Community Board 18, whose catchment area includes a broad swath of southeastern Brooklyn.

His assumption of the county leader post is supported by many within the party’s reform wing.

“I congratulate my friend Frank Seddio for being elected the new chair of our local committee and recognize his early efforts to chart a new course for politics in our borough,” said Councilmember Jumaane Williams. “Brooklyn may not always agree, but it must come together to support progressive policies that benefit families from Bath Beach to Bushwick. Independent, results-oriented and reform-minded leadership are values important to me, and it appears today’s Kings County Democratic Party is embracing those values more closely than yesterday.“

Assemblymember Karim Camara, who some party insiders had hoped to draft as a candidate for chair, concurred. In a statement, he noted, “I am confident that Frank Seddio will work to establish the inclusive, unified and transparent Kings County political party that so many are yearning for. Through a series of meetings and conversations with Frank, I have heard firsthand his willingness to broaden the Kings County leadership team in a way that is unparalleled in recent Kings County history.

“That step alone is already unifying a party that had become Balkanized and distracted from its goal of electing good Democrats and being a progressive beacon for the state,” Camara went on. “I am confident that he will lead this county into an era of good will and good deeds. I look forward to being a part of the leadership team in Brooklyn to help make this happen.”

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