Haitian American Politics

Haitian-American Assemblywoman Bichotte Becomes First Woman To Head Brooklyn Democratic Party

Rodneyse Bichotte
Assemblywoman and new Brooklyn Democratic Party Chair Rodneyse Bichotte, center, with her The Shirley Chisholm Democratic Club following the historical vote.

Rodneyse Bichotte made history as the first woman to head the Brooklyn Democratic Party on Monday night.

Haitian-American New York State Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte is the new Kings County Democratic Party Chairperson, becoming the first woman to hold the position and the first black woman to lead a county party in New York City. The election took place at a meeting of the Brooklyn Democratic Party’s County Committee at the Thomas Jefferson Democratic Club in Canarsie on Monday, the national holiday marking Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  She was approved 39–1, with the only non-yes vote being an abstention.

“Given the importance of this year’s presidential election and next year’s municipal elections, I am honored to have been elected as the first female Democratic County Leader in New York City at such a pivotal time,” Bichotte said.

The assemblywoman thanked former head Frank Seddio while celebrating her win. “It’s a very humbling experience, obviously historic,” Bichotte told reporters. “And I’m really excited. I’m very happy to get the support of my district leaders.”

Rodneyse Bichotte
An exuberant Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte celebrates the intersection of Newkirk Street and Nostrand Avenue being renamed on Friday for Toussaint Louverture. Eagle photos by Andy Katz

Bichotte, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, who represents the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn, replaced Frank Seddio, 74, who retired last Wednesday as chair of the Brooklyn Democratic Party. Bichotte has represented Flatbush, East Flatbush, Ditmas Park, and Midwood in the State Assembly since 2015, and was the first Haitian-American ever elected to the State Legislature.

“My goal is to ensure that our diverse party remains the most inclusive in the city and in the country,” Bichotte told the room. “The Democratic Party is a party of working people, and we will be the party of working people from every corner of the borough.”

According to Kings County Politics,  a press release sent out after the confirmation compiled a series of congratulatory messages to Bichotte from other elected officials, including District Leaders and others.

“I want to congratulate Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte on this incredible accomplishment and for her new role at the helm of the Brooklyn Democratic Party,” Attorney General Letitia James was quoted as saying in the release. “For years, I have worked with Rodneyse and witnessed firsthand her commitment to public service and work to uplift communities across Brooklyn. As the first woman to be elected to this post, we are sending an important message to all of our communities and encouraging them to become engaged in our civic process and have a voice in the issues that impact us every day.”

“Brooklyn’s Democratic Party is made up of people of all backgrounds and all walks of life,” she said in a statement following her election. “It is more important than ever that our leadership reflects the diverse communities that have kept Brooklyn and our Democratic Party going for decades. More women of color and descendants of immigrants, like myself, are running for public office to amplify the voices of their local communities and add to the public discourse. Moreover, community and grassroots engagement are necessary to increase civic engagement across the borough.”

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