Haitian-American Rodneyse Bichotte becomes chair of the Brooklyn Democratic Party  by Raymond A Joseph

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Haitian-American Rodneyse Bichotte becomes chair of the Brooklyn Democratic Party  by Raymond A Joseph

We apologize to our readers and to Assembly member Rodneyse Bichotte for the mistake which occurred in our last issue in which the following story about Assembly member whose pictures were mistakenly used to illustrate another unrelated story. As the saying goes, it’s never too late to do good. Our congratulations to the new chair of the Brooklyn Democratic Party. RAJ

Brooklyn, N.Y. On Monday, January 20, Rodneyse Bichotte made history when she became the first Black woman, of Haitian ancestry also, to be elected chair of the Brooklyn Democratic Party. She assumes her post following the resignation of Frank Seddio, known as “The Boss” who was in charge of the party for the past eight years. Will she be called “Madame Boss?” Not necessarily, but certainly she will bring new blood into the party.

This is not the only “first” for Ms. Bichotte, who was the first Haitian-American to be elected to the New York Assembly in 2014, running in a four-person’s race, including two men of Caribbean heritage and a Haitian sister. She managed to get 50% of the vote. In all other races since, she’s won the primaries by 75% and the general elections by 90%. In the latest race for leader of Kings County Democrats, she showed her drawing power once more. She won with 39 votes in favor, one abstention and no negative vote. Asked about why such an overwhelmingly positive vote, Ms. Bichotte says, she always supports fellow democrats in their own races, thus she has many friends. Among those she’s worked to elect, count Mayor Bill de Blasio, Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, whose election campaign she chaired.

She has also worked in the campaigns of other Assembly colleagues. She ticked off Clyde Vanel, Mathylde Fontus, Diane Richardson, Tremaine Wright, Latrice Walker and more. She counts Councilmember Laurie

Cumbo of the 35th Council District in Brooklyn as one for whom she willingly toiled. And the spirited campaign she led last year to elect her fellow Haitian American Farah Louis to the 45th Conuncil seat in Brooklyn will remain a classic Rodneyse Bichotte.

With friends like those, at all levels of government and with a satisfied constituency in the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn neighborhoods of East Flatbush, Flatbush, Ditmas Park and Midwood, Rodneyse Bichotte can always count on the support of a diversified community as she assumes her new task as Party leader.

Since the post of Party leader isn’t salaried, what’s attractive about it? The chair helps in recruiting members and keeping them. The chair also has the prerogative of choosing candidates for certain government posts, such as judges and other top political posts. But fundraising ability may be one asset that makes for an excellent chair. In that light, Rodneyse Bichotte is ahead of many. Reportedly the campaign fund of the Brooklyn Democratic Party is in the red, but Ms. Bichotte’s Assembly district has reserves approaching $500,000.

On accepting the post on the evening of January 20, at the Thomas Jefferson Democratic Club in Carnasie, Ms. Bichotte promised to get the Kings County Democratic Committee solvent and transparent. She said all district leaders will be called upon to work to that end. She has much to accomplish, with only one full staffer and one on half time. But she’s not the only legislator in that situation. She mentions several others – in Bronx, Staten Island, Syracuse and Queens.

What’s the meaning of her win and what’s her advice for others?

“It means that women and immigrants can take the lead in helping shape our electoral process. There has been like an uprising of qualified Haitian- Americans who are running for office that should be known more widely. For too long the Haitian community has been undermined and undercounted, downgrading their power. This is changing.”

But it’s not all negative, as Ms. Bichotte points out: “There are five Haitian-American Assembly members. Potentially, three are running for State Senator. Three to five others are looking at the City Council. We should motivate them, and I will encourage whoever is interested in politics to be truly engaged in civic activities.”

  • RAJ, February 5, 2020

Cet article est publié par l’hebdomadaire Haïti-Observateur, édition du 5 février 2020 VOL. L, No. 5 New York, et se trouve en P.  1, 3 à : http://haiti-observateur.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/H-O-5-Februar-2020.pdf