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Meet Brooklyn's New Boss!

In a historic fashion, Rodneyse Bichotte the current Assemblywoman for 
the 42nd District in Brooklyn, is the first woman elected to serve as the chair of the Democratic party in Brooklyn.
Bichotte was elected in a huge victory in 2015 to replace Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs in the 42nd district that includes part of  East Flatbush, Faltbush, Ditmas Park, and Midwood in Brooklyn. The biggest district with the highest concentration of Haitians in Brooklyn. 
Bichotte is another milestone for the Haitian community and the community at large. It’s heartening and uplifting and a profound step forward for a community that is in a desperate need of good leadership.
Haitianbeatz had the opportunity to speak to Assemblywoman Bichotte to discuss the new role she’s undertaking: 
HB- Congratulations Assemblywoman  Rodneyse Bichotte on becoming the Kings County Democratic party leader. For those who don’t know what the job entails, how would you describe your role?
RB- My role is to lead the democratic party in the largest county,  Brooklyn, which  has the largest amount of registered democrats in the entire US.  I help  keep the Democratic Party strong by helping elected officials who share the democrat values, as well as support new and fresh candidates who want to join the party as elected officials. I also play a part in  the judiciary process when  appointing and nominating judges or by  helping candidates run for judgeship.In addition to  overseeing the workers in the civic community and hires at the board of elections.
HB- How did you find out you were going to be nominated for the position?
RB- Well I was called by Frank Seddio, the former chairperson, and he told me his plans to retire. He said that he felt that I was the best district leader to take over, given my ten years in the position and the fact that I’ve been heavily involved in helping candidates run, like Farah Louis,  as well as raising money for the county. 
HB- So you’re the first Haitian American to hold the position and first woman to be in this position? 
RB- I am the first woman to hold this position and also the first African American in the whole city to be elected as the county chair. What was most historical was that it was done on Martin Luther King  Jr. Day, so it feels like his dream lives on.  In addition to the fact that an  Italian man saw the future in a black woman to lead the Democratic Party.
HB- What would be your top priority in this new position?
RB- My top priority is  to help raise money for the Democratic Party in order for it to  continue to function and operate. I also want to keep building our party to help  elect candidates that  fight for us, fight for our policies. My other goal is to help  unify the Democratic Party so that we are not fighting internally but are on the same page. We all want the same things at our core, although at times our messaging may be different. We all want quality of life, adequate health care, economic development in our communities, good schools, and affordable housing. 
HB- I heard, you jumped right to action by holding your first fundraiser already, how did it go? 
RB- We had it at Giando on the Water in Williamsburg, overseeing the Brooklyn  bridge, which was a lovely location. My guest speaker was Governor Cuomo, and there was a general buzz of excitement in the air that had  people genuinely looking forward to  change. People  from all sectors  were represented,  healthcare ,  labor, housing, education and business .
HB- Let’s get to the issues now. Can you explain to our readers how important it is for everyone to participate in the 2020 Census?
RB- The census is a formal count of how many people live in districts  across the United States. IIt is  very important that we take part in the census,  because if we don’t then we will lose funding  for that particular area. We have to be counted correctly in order  to show that we exist  and do  need services. In addition,  congressional district lines are drawn based on how many people are there, if we don’t have enough people we may lose a Congressional seat in the State of New York. The  census will be happening in about a  month or so and we  ask everyone to please participate and be counted.  The count  includes all  people in your household, including infants. It is important to add that it does not matter if you are a citizen or not.  
HB- One of your roles involves screening potential judges. Tell me about the Judicial Screening Committee process in Brooklyn?
RB- I  help candidates run for judgeship  and those who wish to be elevated to Supreme Court they go through a screening process and we look at the years service that they have done and how they’ve contributed to the community. We vote as the Brooklyn county; the district leaders (42 of us) we vote on who we will elevate and nominate to become judges. We typically vote on someone that has some level of experience, who are connected with the community, who are fair, equitable and want to bring real justice to the courtroom. 
HB- How do you balance your time now with your two positions?
RB- I just have to be smarter and wiser in the way I use my time plus   I do have a number of volunteers. I make sure that my office knows what my priorities are and plans my time wisely.  My priorities are my constituents, so  together with my executive director, whom I speak with everyday, we meet the demands placed on my office.  
HB- Talking about volunteering, Let’s say there’s some young college grads in political science reading this interview who want  to get involved in an internship. What's the process?
RB- They can send me a resume to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
HB- Recently President Trump announced that he will be sending Border Patrol agents to New York City to help with arrests and deportations. What's your opinion on that issue in  such a heavy immigrant population?
RB- We want  to make sure that everyone knows  their rights when it comes to ICE and understand that police  officers can not intrude in federal immigration enforcement activities. In the district offices we have documents that spell out  their rights clearly, in all languages. I also want to remind everyone to  carry ID with you at all times. 
HB- Are you allowed to endorse someone for the NY presidential Democratic primary coming up? have you made the decision yet?
RB- Yes, I am but I have not made the decision yet.
 HB- I was thinking to get a "breaking news" moment (lol). A lot of seats will be open for the City Council election next year... a lot of potential women running, what’s your overall look into how you want the City Council to look like?
RB- We would love to  support more women. I am currently supporting a Latina women Darma Diaz in the 37th council district in Bushwick. I look forward to working with qualified women. If you happen to be a woman there’s a push for that. 
HB- I know you don’t really like to get involved in politics back in Haiti, however with the increasing insecurity, kidnapping, fighting between political parties, division between the government and the opposition, this is not just a Haitian issue, this is a human issue. What do you think is the root of Haiti’s problem, and what should be a possible solution?
RB- Haitian politics are  very complicated.  I hope that there was  a way that the diaspora could invest in Haiti to help take care of it.  I am  hoping the dual citizenship for the diaspora is  enacted and that they’re potentially able to vote. Ever since we came out of a dictatorship the country has been finding its way.It will take some time to get the government  stable and get the constitution respected. 
HB- With your busy schedule, what do you do to relax?
RB- I watch movies, Netflix and I exercise. 
HB- Do you dance? Do you listen to Haitian music? 
RB- Oh yes I do, I go to Haitianbeatz events all the time and have a lot of fun.
HB- Do you cook Haitian food?
RB- Believe it or not I do cook, the easy thing I prefer to cook is breakfast like aransò, eggs and plantains.
HB- Thank you Assemblywoman for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to us, and hopefully I’ll see you at the next Haitianbeatz event.
RD- Thank you Haitianbeatz!
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