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Seddio to step down as Brooklyn Democratic Party chair, Bichotte eyed as successor

January 14, 2020 Paula Katinas
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Brooklyn’s Democratic Party is about to undergo a sea change.

Frank Seddio, who has served as party chairperson since 2012, has confirmed that he is resigning from his post.

Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte, whose most recent role is as the party’s finance committee chairperson, is the odds-on favorite to replace Seddio as the leader, according to the Brooklyn Paper, which was the first to report the news of Seddio’s plans to resign.

His current term as chairperson would have ended in September.

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Seddio, a former Surrogate’s Court judge, will formally announce his intention to step down as chairperson at a Brooklyn Democratic County Committee meeting on Wednesday. (There are 1.1 million registered Democrats in Brooklyn, according to the New York State Board of Elections.)

He will likely remain as the Democratic district leader of the 59th Assembly District. The district, which is represented in the New York State Assembly by Democratic Assemblymember Jaime Williams, includes parts of Canarsie, Georgetown, Mill Basin and Gerritsen Beach.

Bichotte, who is favored to replace Seddio, represents the 42nd Assembly District, a seat that takes in parts of Flatbush, East Flatbush, Ditmas Park and Midwood. She was first elected in 2014 and is the first Haitian-American woman in New York City to win elective office.

In a 2016 interview with the Brooklyn Eagle, Bichotte said she is proud of the fact she was the first Haitian-American woman to win election.

“My district has the largest Haitian population in New York State,” she told the Brooklyn Eagle. “I believe that the Haitian people needed representation. We legislators want to uplift the community.”

Seddio, a retired police officer, has a long history of service to New York City and to the Democratic Party that dates back decades.

He became the commissioner of traffic operations for the Department of Transportation in the 1980s under former Mayor Ed Koch. Upon Koch’s retirement, Seddio, who was nearly 40 years old at the time, decided to enroll in law school at the suggestion of Tony Genovesi, the former president of the Thomas Jefferson Democratic Club.

After graduating from St. John’s University Law School, Seddio started a private practice and became counsel for the West Indian Day Parade and the Knights of Columbus. He also worked to help create the Canarsie Volunteer Ambulance Corps and the Flatlands Volunteer Ambulance Corps.

Seddio became a Surrogate’s Court judge in 2005, but left after less than two years.

In 2010, then party leader Vito Lopez stepped down following a sexual harassment scandal, and Seddio was nominated to take his place.

Seddio became president of the Brooklyn Bar Association in June of 2016. While some expected him to be president in name only, Seddio, who still actively runs a private practice, was hands-on and got a pro se help center installed in the Surrogate’s Court with the help of Hon. Margarita Lopez Torres, to assist people representing themselves in that court.

Over the years, Seddio has become almost as famous for the elaborate Christmas lights and decorations at his Canarsie house as he is for his political skills. He hosts an annual holiday party that attracts hundreds of well-wishers and usually features musical performances.

Additional reporting by Rob Abruzzese.

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