Sue Ann Partnow plays an overlooked role in Canarsie
In politics, there are often plenty of people looking to take credit for good deeds and ideas. However, in reality there are many people working behind the scenes that are never given their due, but play a vital role in coming up with and executing good ideas.
In the Canarsie neighborhood of Brooklyn, Sue Ann Partnow is one of those people who often goes overlooked, but is responsible for a lot of good that is done.
By day, Partnow is the director of the senior center at the Jewish Association Serving the Ages (JASA), an organization devoted to keeping senior citizens important pieces to their neighborhoods. By night, she is one half of the district leaders for the 59th District, along with Hon. Frank Seddio as her male counterpart.
Partnow does a lot of work with the Brooklyn Democratic body as district leader. The job of a district leader includes choosing the Brooklyn Democratic Party leader, nominating the Democratic judicial candidates, endorsing candidates and representing Brooklyn at the New York State Democratic Convention.
Partnow is also an executive member of the district leader’s own group, the Thomas Jefferson Democratic Club, which meets every Thursday night. Through the club, Partnow is able to listen to local concerns from neighbors.
“We hear different issues from the community,” Partnow said. “There are elected officials [that come] down to also hear any problems … [We do] anything we can do to help or step in. That’s what we’re there for.”
Seddio, a former Surrogate Court judge and current chairman of the Brooklyn Democratic Party said that Partnow is the “best thing to ever happen to me in politics.” He described her as an expert team manager who knows how to get things done in a quiet fashion.
“She became my partner last year and added a whole new dimension in my life,” he said. “She has become a behind the scenes partner who gets everything done without looking for any sort of credit or limelight. She’s a humble person who appreciates politics and grew up with it her entire life.”
Partnow is especially passionate about helping Brooklyn’s elders, which is what led her to work for JASA. She will celebrate her 33rd year with JASA in January and still enjoys the work she does there every day.
“I love being involved with the seniors,” Partnow said.
As director, Partnow plans all of the events, parties and trips for the seniors. She also sets up outreach programs that help the seniors influence their hometowns for the better.
“The JASA mission is what we all try and follow, which is to keep the seniors an integral part of their community,” she explained.
JASA is currently tackling bullying with workshops in which their seniors will be going to schools to talk directly to children. This idea formulated in the hopes of ending bullying at an early age to produce more sympathetic adults.
The event planning doesn’t stop there. Partnow also helps to coordinate the Jefferson Democratic Club’s events, like their annual dinner dance party that took place last month at the El Caribe.
Planning an event like that is certainly no easy task. This year’s event took place in November and featured approximately 500 people in attendance. Coordinating the logistics of an event like that is no easy task under the best of circumstances, but throw in some of the biggest political egos in the borough, city and state and juggling the seating arrangements and speaking times, and it becomes tricky.
Partnow not only pulls it all off, but she does it almost flawlessly, standing in the background and smiling while politicians like Mayor Bill de Blasio or City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito get most of the attention.
Seddio explained that it’s her vast experience working with seniors that lets her navigate politics with ease.
“She has 30 years of dealing with seniors in her program, and let me tell you, if you think there is an easy group to deal with, it’s not senior citizens,” Seddio explained. “She works with people and their issues. She knows how to make them happy and knows how to address problems in a positive way.”
On top of all that happens in her day-to-day life, Partnow is also the matriarch of her own family. Wife to Kings County Supreme Court Judge Mark Partnow, the couple has two sons and is expecting a grandchild in February.
With her day filled from start to finish, Partnow still manages to keep a positive attitude.
“It’s a lot of juggling, but it works,” Partnow said. “At least there’s enough hours in the day to do everything. Somedays are very long, but they work. I enjoy what I do.”
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