By James DeWeese
Since it was founded more than two decades ago, the club has expanded beyond its traditional geographic, ethnic and even ideological boundaries, said Lois Marbach, president of the Eastern Queens Democratic Club. The new name, she said, is a nod to a broader base and also reflects something of the independent nature of the club that unlike others is not limited to any particular assembly district.”Our members come from all over the county,” Marbach said of the club whose membership numbers are in the hundreds. “Sometimes people feel excluded because they don't live in the area. We wanted to be more inclusive.”The new name also more closely reflects the political character of the club, Marbach said.”Because of the way we do outreach to all of the new Americans, we have a very progressive platform,” she said.Marbach said the Queens County Progressive Democratic Club also is unique because of its boroughwide membership and independent character, alluding to the power of the Queens County Democratic Organization under the control of former U.S. Rep. Thomas Manton, whose seat is now occupied by Jackson Heights Rep. Joseph Crowley. “A lot of the Democratic clubs are limited to state Assembly districts,” she said. “We're independent of the Assembly people.”Marbach said President George W. Bush's election to a second term had galvanized previously apolitical Democrats and spurred an interest in involvement that the club would be happy to channel. In the spring, the club will organize a series of informative forums on Social Security, national health insurance and electoral politics. “These forums are to learn something from,” said Marbach, who added that she intended the meetings to be more than a legislative check-in. “We want to learn.”Letters went out earlier this month describing the club's name change. Dues and contributions will be rolled over and the slate of officers who were previously nominated will remain the same. The club also will continue to meet at Pride of Judea in Douglaston, although Marbach said in the future meetings might be held in different locations throughout the borough.The club is hosting a brunch to celebrate New Year's, the name change and the inauguration of board members Jan. 30 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Douglaston Manor, located at 63-20 Commonwealth Blvd. The brunch is free for paid members. Others can join that day. Membership costs $15 a year.For more information, call Lois Marbach at 718-229-4201 or send an e-mail to QCPDC@aol.com.Reach reporter James DeWeese by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 157.