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How to Get Involved in Local Politics
1. Get Appointed to your Community Board: New York City is broken down into 59 Community Districts, each with a Community Board comprised of fifty volunteers selected by the Borough President and local Councilperson(s). Your Community Board plays an important advisory role in the neighborhood, with jurisdiction from zoning policy to assessing bike lanes to advising on liquor licenses to just about anything else that the Community Board members may have an opinion about.
2. Join a Community Board Committee: The secret of Community Boards is that most work happens in committee and you don’t actually have to be a member of the board to be a voting member of the committees on, typically, Transportation, Land-Use, Environmental Protection, Education and Youth Services, Parks, Housing, and Public Safety.
3. Register to vote where you live as a Democrat: Registered Democrats are the only people with any voice in Brooklyn politics. You may think Democrats are just Republican-lite or you may have issues about being affiliated with a political party—get over it. For every registered Republican in Brooklyn, there are eight registered Democrats. Whoever wins the local Democratic primary election is your elected official.
4. Vote early and often: You eat local, you shop local, it’s time to vote local. You care about what happens in your neighborhood—isn’t it worth voting for an elected official who is going to advocate effectively for more green spaces and better mass transit? In local elections a few votes can decide the race.
5. Run for County Committee: You want to shake things up in your neighborhood—it’s time to run for the most important elected office you’ve never, ever heard of. You can be the Democratic Party block captain for your street simply by gathering about 30 signatures from your neighbors. And as the County Committee person not only do you have a role in dismantling the Brooklyn Democratic Machine, but you can be a part of the new organizing infrastructure across Brooklyn neighborhoods! Check out NewKingsDemocrats.com to sign up to run for county committee!
Lincoln Restler is the District Leader and State Committeeman from the 50th Assembly District: Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Fort Greene and Clinton Hill.