The importance of Assembly district leaders

By William Lewis

The Executive Committee of the mainstream political parties’ County Committee is very important in local politics.

That Executive Committee is usually comprised of Assembly district leaders, elected county officers and members at large. It is the Assembly district leaders who are supposed to be loyal to the party county organization. During these county executive meetings the county district leaders are instrumental in formulating county policy.

The Assembly district leaders usually work closely with the clubs in getting political work done. In many cases, district leaders hold office in one or more clubs. It is usually the case that district leaders have loyalty to the county leadership, including the county chairman. During political campaigns it is the district leaders who are instrumental in keeping communication open between campaign organizations and their candidates.

The district leaders organize petition drives to help get their candidates on the ballot. Although it is not the case now, there were a significant number of district leaders who caused friction and who opposed the county organization in Queens. This resulted in inter-party battles years ago in the 1960s and ‘70s when primaries were prevalent.

These major splits led to a civil war of sorts within the Democratic Party inside Tammany Hall, the powerful political machine, from 1958 to 1961. The group was being confronted by insurgents seeking to take control of the Democratic Party in New York City.

Those running Tammany Hall after 1961 had a more liberal political philosophy compared to those previously who previously ran the political machine. In the early 1960s there were primaries for district leader, county committee and state committee all over the city. The net result was that the insurgents won most of the primaries for these three positions during that period of time.

Under the rule of Tammany Hall and its leader, Carmine DeSapio, the battle for control of New York City went on for several years and the Democratic Party emerged under new leadership in New York City. The candidates who came on during that period usually were more liberal than during the time before. As we look at the current situation in Queens through their organization by district leaders all over Queens, the Democratic Party here controls all the offices except for two City Council seats in Queens and western Queens.

In the Republican Party this past year in Queens, the district leaders voted in a new county chairman.

Looking again at the organizational structure, there are district leaders who also are elected officials and who come to county and club meetings as both district leaders and elected assemblymen or some other office. The district leaders in both the Republican and Democratic parties have a leader and a co-leader, consisting of one male and one female. Winning elections depends upon the efforts of district leaders in organizing a campaign. The grassroots efforts of political organizations are very important throughout the election cycle in determining election results.

This year as we look at the national political situation, President Trump is having a difficult time getting the finances to build the wall in the southwestern United States to keep out illegal immigrants. Most of the Congress does not seem to want to go along with the finances of building the wall.

The candidates who are going to be running in the Republican Party are either for or against the wall, which should make the elections nationally very interesting this year.

More from Around New York