By William Lewis
This year, political clubs in Queens and other parts of the city went all out in support of their partys candidates, proving that political clubs form the backbone of the county political party structure. These clubs are a means by which some registered voters choose to continually participate in the American political process.
Club members in attendance have an opportunity to ask questions and state their opinions about issues important to them. This enables the public officials to hear first?hand what the average citizen who is politically involved believes about proposed future government policies at the local, state and federal levels.
Although political clubs do not set county party policy or select candidates for office, since these things are done by a committee of county executive members and district leaders led by the county chairman, they have an impact on party policy matters.
Most of the larger clubs that have been in operation for a long time have a monthly newsletter sent out to club members and registered party members within their club jurisdiction. This newsletter may include articles about current political issues and news about their community. Some newsletters also include reprinted articles from newspapers they think will be of interest to their members.
All clubs have at least one major fund?raising social event a year. Usually, the funds obtained from this event, besides the membership dues, pay the clubs expenses. Meetings to elect club officers are held once a year, sometimes every two years. The club officers form an executive committee, which is sometimes called the board of directors.
Supervising club functions can be a time?consuming task, which includes designating a program for club meetings, including obtaining guest speakers, making sure club mailings are prepared and sent out timely and keeping the membership list up?to?date. Gaining new members is also a priority. Most clubs have monthly executive committee meetings besides the general monthly meeting.
Two clubs that have existed in northeast Queens for a long time include the Queens Village Republican Club and the Jefferson Democratic Club. The Queens Village club has a busy agenda during its meetings because committee reports are given, which include reports from the boards of directors and trustees.
The entire club membership can be involved if they choose to be. Votes are sometimes taken involving approval of club major expenses. The Jefferson Democratic Club, however, usually conducts most club business and administrative matters during executive committee meetings. The regular monthly meeting mostly consists of reports from district leaders and the club chairman before the main guest speaker gives his presentation.
It is during election time that clubs become most active and political interest is at its height. This is the time when club activists help circulate petitions and assist in various candidates election campaigns. The one time when political clubs can or do play a role in determining party policy is when there are party primary elections for district leader, members of the county committee or other party elective positions. A club can choose to endorse interparty candidates or stay neutral.
One important aspect of county political party effectiveness is how strong and loyal clubs are, although sometimes clubs are split in their allegiance when various factions are in competition for control of the county party organizational structure.