2020 is now in the rear view mirror (FINALLY!) and the Brooklyn Young Republican Club looks forward to what is to be a year of rebirth. As an independent entity from the establishment, the BKYR are choosing to tread a new wing of the party. A governing philosophy that ensures all people have the right to thrive. A Civic Republican government that promotes the common good of all people. Our goal is to build a solution-driven political culture by engaging the community and electing better leaders, who will represent our communities and fight for innovative, civic republican solutions to our current crises.
This fight for substantive transformations and a solution-driven political culture will take all of us. Members must renew their membership by January 31st. In order to push full steam ahead with our mission, we will need investment. The BKYR have adjusted its yearly dues to reflect a sincere commitment to building a new coalition.
Lastly, all members must adhere to our new membership policy. No longer can we tolerate these transgressions of the nationalist populist majority of the party. The young Republicans of this club will reject hostility to equal justice, equal rights, and equal opportunity for every American to thrive. We reject racist and xenophobic rhetoric and policies. We reject baseless conspiracy theories whose purpose is to incite violence against fellow Americans and suppress our sacred right to vote. READ FULL STATMENT AND RESOLUTION HERE.
No longer can we tolerate these transgressions of the nationalist populist majority of the party. Reagan’s 11th commandment is dead.
The young Republicans of this club will reject hostility to equal justice, equal rights, and equal opportunity for every American to thrive.
We reject racist and xenophobic rhetoric and policies.
We reject baseless conspiracy theories whose purpose is to incite violence against fellow Americans and suppress our sacred right to vote.
Accordingly, the members of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club Board of Directors have instituted the following policies to ensure the integrity of the club’s commitment to Republican principles and our organization’s objectives.
The battle for the soul of the American experiment and the battle for the soul of the Republican Party go hand in hand. This is but one small step in that battle. And only if we are all in it together can we make that giant leap towards liberty and justice for all.
Joel M. Acevedo, BKYR President
On Wednesday, November 11, 2020, the Board of Directors of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club adopted the following Resolution at their monthly Board of Directors Meeting.
Resolution #7-2020 states,
“NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT:
RESOLVED, by the Board of Directors of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club Inc., that grounds for rejecting a membership application or expelling a member as “inimical to the best interests of the club” shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
An applicant who does not receive the sponsorship of at least two voting members of the Board of Directors attesting to the applicant’s general sympathy with or preference for the Republican Party’s principles and support for the objects of the club.
An applicant or member who has not attended at least two meetings or events of the club within the last 12 months.
An applicant or member who seeks to advance, contrary to the principles of the Republican Party, any ideology or policy, directly or indirectly, that defends or contributes to:
the continued existence or legacy of systemic or institutional racism,
white supremacy or any racial, ethnic, or religious supremacy or nationalism of any kind,
sympathy with the causes of the Confederate States of America, or
acts of hate, exclusion, disenfranchisement or discrimination of any kind against American citizens or any person because of matters of conscience or immutable characteristics.
An applicant or member who seeks to undermine support for equal rights, equal justice and equal opportunity for all persons, or to advance policies whose consequences would be evidently tantamount to the same.
An applicant or member who seeks to advance theories or arguments substantially lacking an objective and independently verifiable factual basis.
An applicant or member who seeks to advance any anti-republican platform, movement, faction or person whose effect would substantially be to undermine liberty as non-domination, the integrity of due process, the rule of law, separation of powers, federalism and limited constitutional democratically-elected republican government, which are our only bulwarks to protect and promote liberty and justice for all.”
President Joel Acevedo on behalf of the BKYR issued the following statement on the Presidential election.
On behalf of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club I congratulate President-elect Joseph R. Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala D. Harris. This is an historic election that deserves America’s praise for that we have the first Black woman ever elected to the Vice Presidency. America has a tall order ahead of us and only together can we get pass this inflection point in our history. To echo the words of Gov. Larry Hogan, “Everyone, regardless of political affiliation, should want him to succeed because we need our country to succeed.” Many Americans desperately want all sides to come together for bipartisan, common sense solutions to the serious problems that plague this country. The time to tune out the extremes is now. We can no longer adhere and enable toxic politics. We must come together as the United States of America and continue to advance life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all.
Joel M. Acevedo, President of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club.
Dear Supporter of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club,
Over the last few months, the Brooklyn Young Republican Club has been working on some exciting projects. Unfortunately, many of these projects were launched during the height of the pandemic, in the midst of turmoil. However, the Club has persevered through these times and would like to bring supporters back to a new normal. With that, there are several opportunities waiting for you!
BKYR: GOTV Opportunities (Saturday/Sunday, August 8/9, 2020)
First, the Brooklyn Young Republican Club would like to promote an opportunity to volunteer this weekend (August 8 and 9) for the 2020 GOP candidate for Congressional District NY-11, Nicole Malliotakis. This is not an endorsement, as this candidate has not gone through our endorsement process; the Brooklyn Young Republican Club has not endorsed any candidate for any election in 2020, even staying neutral in primaries. However, now that the primary season is over, we believe that many of our members would be interested in this opportunity.
If you’d like to VOLUNTEER THIS WEEKEND WITH NICOLE MALLIOTAKIS FOR CONGRESS, please reach out to Brooklyn Young Republican Club Vice President Andrew Windsor at firstname.lastname@example.org
BKYR: Civic Republican Caucus (Monday, August 10, 2020)
The Civic Republican Caucus, under Co-Chairs Jonathan Judge and Jay Cruger, was established to propose, discuss, and approve Civic Republican-oriented policy positions from members, guest speakers, and others. There have been two meetings since its creation this summer; the third meeting of the Brooklyn Young Republican Civic Republican Caucus will be held Monday, August 10. Please sign up here for an invite:
TOPICS: Review personal promotional profiles to invite more members to the Civic Republican Caucus and discuss specific topics to highlight where we can interview experts and discuss how to liberate people from domination in various areas of life.
Monday, August 24th @ 7 PM Tuesday, September 8th @ 7 PM Monday, September 21st @ 7 PM
Looking forward to working with you on this exciting effort to achieve liberty as freedom from domination for all.
BKYR: Policy Committee Meeting (Wednesday, August 19, 2020)
Come join the Brooklyn Young Republican Club Policy Committee, as we work towards adopting a policy platform to present to the club membership for a vote. Be a part of the making and shaping of a forward-thinking BKYR Brooklyn Platform for all.
The Committee is working to prepare policy initiatives in the form of individual resolutions (the “Resolutions”) containing: the policy objective clearly and succinctly stated, the rationale for the policy objective, and a list of action items with quantifiable measurements of meaningful pursuit. The Committee shall transmit such Resolutions to the Club membership and schedule one or more Committee hearings to receive testimony from Club members as well as invited non-members as the Committee Chair may deem appropriate on all of the Resolutions.
BKYR: August General Meeting (Wednesday, August 26, 2020)
We will be having our BKYR General Meeting on Wednesday, August 26, 2020. The agenda for this meeting is TBD. Make sure to follow us on Social Media (@BrooklynYR) for more updates regarding our General Meeting.
For the second time in 9 years–a record-breaking distinction, the Kings County Republican County Committee tonight has once again decided to sever ties with the Brooklyn Young Republican Club with no notice, no charges and no opportunity to partake in any deliberations.
Given that the leadership of the Brooklyn GOP arbitrarily refused any and all communications with our organization months ago at the start of an election cycle, we see that they are sticking to their typical “winning” electoral strategies.
But on top of requiring 100% fealty to MAGA and Trump in order to be a good Republican and embracing racist and anti-immigrant rhetoric that appeals to exactly 24% of New Yorkers and 0% of the United States Constitution, we’re not exactly sorry to see them go.
We’ll continue to pursue actions that make the Republican Party internally and externally the best vehicle for advancing life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all. And we’ll let Brooklyn Republican Party leadership do what it does best: lose elections while eating its own.
On Wednesday, July 29, 2020, the Brooklyn Young Republican Club had our Annual Meeting & Elections for the BKYR Executive Board and Board of Directors. Let us welcome and congratulate our 2020-2021 Executive Board!
Joel Acevedo, President (2nd Term)
Andrew J. Windsor, Vice President (2nd Term)
Joseph Gomez, Secretary (1st Term)
Board of Directors:
One write-in vote was submitted for “Ron Konkoma” for the position of Treasurer. It was determined by the Chair of the Election Committee at the annual meeting that Mr. Konkoma was not qualified for either office having not satisfied the meeting attendance and membership requirements in the bylaws, specifically that Mr. Konkoma is not and has never been a member of the Club. Nevertheless, Mr. Konkoma only received one vote, and would not have reached the threshold of votes required to take office even if the candidate were deemed qualified for office.
One write-in vote was submitted for “Nicole Liebman” for the positions of Treasurer and Board of Director. It was determined by the Chair of the Election Committee at the annual meeting that Ms. Liebman was not qualified for either office, having not satisfied the meeting attendance and membership requirements for office in the bylaws, specifically that Ms. Liebman did not attend fifty percent of Club meetings in the calendar year. Nevertheless, Ms. Liebman only received one vote, and would not have reached the threshold of votes required to take office even if the candidate were deemed qualified for office.
One write-in vote was submitted for “Jason Loughran” for the position of Treasurer and the candidate was elected to the position of Treasurer by write-in having received the majority of votes. It was determined by the Chair of the Election Committee at the annual meeting that Mr. Loughran was qualified for office having satisfied the meeting attendance and membership requirements in the bylaws. At the annual meeting, Mr. Loughran accepted this position pending confirmation that it was not a conflict of interest with his employment. He has since then declined the position due to a conflict of interest.
Recap of 2020 Thus Far
BKYR Civic Republican Caucus:
Established by the Board of Directors on June 10, 2020, the BKYR Civic Republican Caucus met Wednesday, July 15, 2020, Chair of the Civic Republican Caucus, Jonathan Judge, hosted a successful inaugural meeting of the Caucus. The Caucus was established to propose, discuss, achieve consensus, and approve proposed Civic Republican-oriented policy positions from members, guest speakers, and others.
The purposes of the Civic Republican Caucus are:
a) to educate people about civic republicanism as a political philosophy;
b) to foster discussion about how it can be practiced within the Republican Party, in politics generally, and most importantly within policymaking; and
c) to advance the adoption of civic republicanism, wherever necessary and appropriate, within the Club, the Republican Party at the local, state and national levels, and within politics and policymaking generally.
The next meeting of the Brooklyn Young Republican Civic Republican Caucus will be held Monday, August 10. Please sign up here for an invite:
The Brooklyn Young Republican Club established a Policy Committee, co-chaired by Felicia Kalan and Eric Butkiewicz. The Committee has met twice, in the months of April and June, and is currently working on policy proposals to present to the membership of the club:
“Creation of a Policy Committee; Purposes; A standing Policy Committee (the “Committee”) shall be constituted to review all Club business concerning matters of public and party policy in order to prepare informed recommendations to the Board of Directors and/or to the Club membership, as appropriate, before further consideration is made. The Committee shall also prepare an annual agenda (the “Agenda”) of priority issues and initiatives for the Club to undertake. The Agenda shall be prepared and submitted for consideration by the Club membership no later than April 30th of each year.” (Resolution #2-2020)
The next meeting of the Brooklyn Young Republican Policy Committee will be held Wednesday, August 19. Any members wishing to join email us at email@example.com for an invite.
2020 Events & News
January 2020, Out of Many, One: Advancing Equity and Justice for All | BKYR Meeting: The Brooklyn Young Republican Club had an awesome 2020 kick-off at the January meeting and heard from our Community Advocates Panel.
Community Advocates Panel
Jason Loughran, Associate Director of Special Programs & Initiatives at Department of Veterans Affairs, speaking on Veterans Outreach;
Felicia Kalan, Founder of Elevate Her Consulting, a freelancing collective that supports moms in finding remote work with a mission to end the gender-based wage gap, speaking on Women’s Empowerment;
Anthony J. Finkel, Founder of DPH Property Maintenance Service, a company that addresses a need in his community for high-quality, low-cost property maintenance services, speaking on Entrepreneurship;
Devin Balkind, President of the Sahana Software Foundation, a nonprofit organization that produces the world’s most popular open source information management system for disaster relief and humanitarian aid, speaking on Clean & Transparent Government.
February 2020, Black History Month: Advancing Black Equity Panel: The Brooklyn Young Republican Club celebrated Black History Month with a panel on equity for Black Americans, moderated by NY1’s Errol Louis, discussing issues and solutions needed to advance Black equity in Brooklyn and beyond.
Dr. Janice Johnson Dias, Professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Anthony Beckford, President of Black Lives Matter Brooklyn
March 2020, Women’s History Month: Advancing HerStory Panel: The Brooklyn Young Republican Club celebrated Women’s History Month with a panel on the role of Women in the Republican Party and America, moderated by Republican Women for Progress Co-founder, Meghan Milloy.
Advancing HerStory Panel:
Meghan Milloy, Co-Founder of Republican Women for Progress.
Shoshana Weissmann, Director of Digital Media at R Street Institute.
Alexandra Sherer, Republican District Leader & State Committeewoman, A.D. 74
Sarah Quinlan, Conservative Contributor at Arc Digital
March 2020, Vice President Andrew Windsor served as Acting President while President Joel Acevedo was activated with the Army National Guard: Over the last few months, the COVID-19 pandemic has tragically affected tens of thousands of lives. One governmental response, activation of the New York State Army National Guard, sent Brooklyn Young Republican President Joel Acevedo on New York State’s COVID-19 Response Mission. In that time, as listed below, the club readjusted execution of the 2020 Strategic Plan under Acting President Andrew Windsor, and members took it upon themselves to lead COVID-19 relief in their own communities.
April 2020, Creation of BKYR Policy Committee: The Brooklyn Young Republican Club established a Policy Committee, co-chaired by Felicia Kalan and Eric Butkiewicz. The Committee has met twice, in the months of April and June, and are currently working on policy proposals to present to the membership of the club.
June 2020, Instagram Interview with former NYU College Republican President, Kristen Gourrier: The conversation revolved around race relations in the Republican Party and America. A recording of the conversation can be found on the Club’s Instagram page: @BrooklynYR
June 2020, Creation of BKYR Civic Republican Caucus: This is a caucus within the Brooklyn Young Republican Club for all interested members and others who desire to learn more about civic republicanism, and wish to influence policy and Republican politics on the premise of achieving liberty as non-domination for everyone.
June 2020, Membership Meeting & Trivia: Club member Joseph Gomez, prior to being elected Secretary, hosted a trivia night on New York State politics, where Club members caught up with each other and competed for a $20 Amazon Gift Card.
Campaigns You May Be Interested In
Lastly, the Brooklyn Young Republican Club would like to promote the following Brooklyn GOP candidates. This is not an endorsement, as these candidates have not gone through our endorsement process; the Brooklyn Young Republican Club has not endorsed any candidate for any election in 2020, even staying neutral in primaries. However, now that the primary season is over, we believe that many of our members would be interested in volunteering for the following Brooklyn GOP candidates:
Nicole Malliotakis, Congress District 11
Vito Bruno, NYS Senate District 22
Michael Tannousis, Assembly District 64
To volunteer and help these candidates win election SIGN UP HERE:
Joel M. Acevedo, President of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club, has made the following statement:
“Dear Club Members,
As some of you know, I’m a reservist in the Army National Guard, and we are being activated to assist with efforts relating to coronavirus containment measures in New York State. This means that I will temporarily be unable to handle the day-to-day tasks as President of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club. In my absence, per our bylaws, Vice President Andrew J. Windsor II will assume those day-to-day functions as acting President effective Wednesday, March 18, 2020, until I return.
I urge everyone to be safe, stay healthy, and give your full support to Andrew and the club’s activities during this time until my activation has concluded. Wishing you all the best until that time.”
Andrew J. Windsor II, Vice President of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club, has made the following statement:
Firstly, I want to commend Joel on his dedication to serve the people of our state in his capacity as a reservist in the Army National Guard. Selfless citizens working together for the greater good during difficult times, like now, are what saves lives and makes America an incredible place to call home. I look forward to continuing the programming and activities of the club that Joel has spearheaded and, beyond that, we’re all looking forward to his swift return. Stay safe, good luck and Godspeed, Joel.”
Due to recommendations from New York City Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Brooklyn Young Republican Club will be transitioning our Wednesday, March 25 “Women’s History Month: Advancing HerStory” panel to online streaming platforms: Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube. During our time of social distancing, we think it’s important to continue our celebration of Women’s History Month and continue to drive conversation on important issues.
According to the New York City Department of Health, “Limiting the number of people who congregate and interact with one another within a facility and allowing more physical space between people can help to curb spread of this infection.” We want to do our part to mitigate exposure and transmission of COVID-19.
INFORMATION TO PROTECT AND UNDERSTAND COVID-19 BELOW:
• The virus can spread to people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet) with an infected person when that person coughs or sneezes.
• The virus is spreading between people with no link to travel or to another positive case.
• Scientists disagree on how long COVID-19 lives on surfaces, but it can live on surfaces that people frequently touch. The virus can then be spread if someone touches their eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
• Public health officials are still learning about the virus that causes COVID-19, but it is believed that people who are experiencing symptoms (coughing and sneezing) are most likely to transmit the virus to others.
New Yorkers are longing for good government and parties who foster meaningful competition in order to serve the people objectively well. We should be holding our elected leaders to a higher standard and hold them accountable for not addressing the needs of the community. Kicking the can down the road for the next election or opposing any proposal due to blind partisanship is not cutting it nor has it ever. It does not serve the people. The solutions that can create substantive transformations transcend partisan purity by seeking to serve the greater good of all. The goal is to advance good solutions on issues that matter. The Brooklyn Young Republican Club is committed to building the kind of political organization you can come to trust will advance life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all.
under a system of due process and the rule of law, there must always be room
for compassion, context and mercy–for not even one of us is perfect.
We are committed to civil
self-government that respects individual liberties, justice, and equal rights
for all people. A person’s race, religion, immigration status, gender, sexual
orientation, and gender expression should have no bearing on a person’s ability
to enjoy our unalienable rights, “that among these are Life, Liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness.”
Let’s work together to advance
equity. Any one of us can
find ourselves struggling from hardship, misfortune, mistake or oppression. Too
many have and too many still do. That’s why we must stand together as one
nation, united, and pledge to aid each other mutually and equitably whenever
required, so we can all live up to our fullest potential as a free and just
people. It’s our goal to advance policies of inclusion that will expand
opportunity for all.
Ideological purity has been a disaster on both sides of the political aisle.
Compromise is not capitulation. Compromise towards progress is instead the cornerstone of success and prosperity for all people throughout history. Brooklynites are tired of the status quo, and they deserve bold leadership that is positive, constructive, and cognizant of their needs, their desires and their dreams. We should not be trying to move Brooklyn right or left. We should be working together to move Brooklyn forward.
Lastly, it’s okay to disagree. Engaging in civil discourse is what makes this country the greatest country in the world. We need a bullish market for ideas. Our republic needs it to survive. Doing so will make our government more proactive in improving the lives of all people in Brooklyn and beyond.
It’s time we advance a party with an
agenda focused on advancing our unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness. A vision that will move America forward.
In late August of 1619 a ship docked
at Point Comfort in the British Colony of Virginia with a cargo of about 30
enslaved Africans, thus marking the beginning of a system of chattel slavery
that would last for the next 250 years (Silverstein, 2019). The United States
of America was built upon the backs of an entire generation of enslaved people.
Black History Month is a time to reflect on the blood, sweat, and tears that
made this country great, the contributions that sowed the fabric of American
culture, and how much more we need to do, so that all people have the
opportunity to achieve the American Dream.
Black history is American history, and the BKYR made a special effort to recognize, learn, and celebrate our shared history.
In recognition of Black History
Month, the Brooklyn Young Republican Club (BKYR) hosted a very special
“Advancing Black Equity” panel, moderated by Spectrum News Anchor,
NY1, Errol Louis on Wednesday, February 26, 2020, in Bedford-Stuyvesant,
Brooklyn. The panel featured Republican congressional candidate running against
Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Jineea Butler, Black Lives Matter Brooklyn
President Anthony Beckford, and John Jay College of Criminal Justice Professor
Dr. Janice Johnson-Dias.
The purpose of this event was to drive a conversation that is often neglected on both sides of the political aisles. It was a heated, but an inspiring discussion with one goal in mind: Advancing Black Equity in Brooklyn and beyond. The panel discussed: systemic racism, building wealth, black advocacy, and the barriers hindering the advancement of black equity.
The following day marked the 160th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s historic “Right Makes Might” speech in Cooper Union’s Great Hall; a speech that would forever change the direction of the United States of America. President Lincoln stood in front of the masses on February 26, 1860, to condemned slavery, appealed to the righteous position of the free states, and spoke truth to power on what is right and wrong.
BKYR members attended The Lincoln Project’s “Country Over Party ” event at Cooper Union on Thursday, February 27, 2020. The event opened with an excerpt of Lincoln’s speech that would define the evening, “Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.” The Lincoln Project filled the room with a sense of hope and reaffirmed the notion that political choices are moral choices, and that unity comes not from compromise, but through shared conviction. Abraham Lincoln ended slavery because it was right. In 1880, you couldn’t become a member of the BKYR unless they supported the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments, because it was right. We stood up for what was right, fought for moral reasons, and we struck down laws for moral reasons.
The BKYR’s mission and the historical mission of the party of Lincoln is to “Advance life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all,” no matter who you are and where you come from, because we are human and most importantly we are Americans. It is in this mission and the historic reform legacy of the Republican Party towards this objective that we should see ourselves as Republicans.
We have now reach that time of the year for the Brooklyn Young Republican Club, in which our greatest experiment in human history is utilized. Democracy.
Pursuant to our bylaws, the Brooklyn Young Republican Club is once again preparing to hold elections for our Club Officers and Board of Directors, which will be held at our annual meeting this summer.
The positions up for
President, currently held by Joel Acevedo
Vice-President, currently held by Andrew Windsor
Treasurer, currently vacant
Secretary, currently vacant
Eleven Members of the Board of Directors, currently held by Jonathan Judge, Jay Cruger, Joseph Colella and Joshua Ferraiuolo; with seven vacancies.
All nominees for Club Officers, “shall be eligible for office, who at the time of their nomination and election, shall have been a Regular member in good standing from the prior calendar year and shall have attended at least 50% of the minimum number of required Regular meetings of the Club, or no fewer than (2) Regular or Special meetings of the Club, in the prior calendar year, as documented on the official attendance sheets maintained by the Club Secretary” (Article V, Sec 2). Nominees for Board of Directors, “shall be eligible for a position of Director of the Board, who at the time of their nomination and election, shall have been a Regular member in good standing from the prior calendar year and shall have attended at least 50% of the minimum number of required Regular meetings of the Club, or no fewer than (2) Regular or Special meetings of the Club, in the prior calendar year, as documented on the official attendance sheets maintained by the Club Secretary”(Article VI, Sec 2).
Nominations for positions on the Executive Team and Board of Directors, are submitted via email to the attention of the Elections Committee Chair, Avery Pereira, who was appointed on January 2, 2020 by the Board of Directors, pursuant to our bylaws. Nominations may be made by any club member in good standing by emailing their list of nominations to Averyn94@yahoo.com.
Please provide the Election Committee Chair with your full name, so he could cross check if you are eligible to submit your nominations (Failure to do so will result in your nominations being void for consideration.) The Elections Committee will certify that nominees are qualified to serve and will ensure that they disclose compliance with our bylaws’ conflicts of interest provisions.
Nominations must be received on or before 12:00 AM, Wednesday, March 25, 2020. No nomination made by a member who is not in good standing may be accepted. If you would like to make a nomination or run for a position but have not paid your dues yet for 2020, please visit our website, brooklynyr.com and renew online today. Nominations will be read out and seconded at our March 25th Meeting. Any nominee who is not seconded will not be eligible to run for office at the club’s Annual Meeting.
If you have any
questions, please refer to the club’s bylaws or email us at
The Brooklyn Young Republican Club is proud to announce our “BKYR Agenda 2020: Taking Action Together” agenda initiative. On Monday, January 6, 2020, the BKYR Board of Directors voted unanimously on the adoption of Resolution #2-2020 to establish a process for the adoption of the Club’s yearly agenda initiatives. The purpose of this initiative is to fulfill our Club’s mission of advancing life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all in Brooklyn and beyond. We want to understand individual or/and community concerns and form actionable task forces that will move the needle on the issues that young Brooklyn cares about.
Through the creation of the BKYR Policy Committee, chaired by Felicia Kalan, “A standing Policy Committee (the “Committee”) shall be constituted to review all Club business concerning matters of public and party policy in order to prepare informed recommendations to the Board of Directors and/or to the Club membership, as appropriate, before further consideration is made. The Committee shall also prepare an annual agenda (the “Agenda”) of priority issues and initiatives for the Club to undertake. The Agenda shall be prepared and submitted for consideration by the Club membership no later than April 30th of each year” (Resolution #2-2020).
On January, 26th, 2020, we launched the “Policy Committee 2020 Agenda Submissions Form,”the first step in the process of developing the BKYR platform. The form allows us to understand the needs of Brooklyn and then use that information to advance solutions. According to the Resolution, “Issues and initiatives (“Submissions”) to be considered for inclusion in the annual Agenda may be made by eligible Club members, as well as non-members at the discretion of the President, to the Committee in accordance with the following requirements:
Submissions may only be made by individuals who live, work or attend an academic institution in Brooklyn under the age of 40; Any Submission that intentionally seeks to exclude, demean or harm any class of individuals based on any of the following criteria shall be deemed ipso facto out of order from any further consideration: race, color, creed, age, national origin, religion, citizenship status, gender, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, partnership status, caregiver status, sexual and reproductive health decisions, uniformed service, any lawful source of income; and status as a victim of domestic violence or status as a victim of sex offenses or stalking.”
We invite you to submit an issue or initiative that matters to YOU and/or YOUR COMMUNITY that you would want us to take ACTION on. For example:“The following issue or initiative should be undertaken by the Brooklyn Young Republican Club to ensure life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are more equally enjoyed by everyone in Brooklyn and beyond:
The New York City Police should be better trained to deal with mental health crises or have a task force dedicated to responding to mental health crises;
High Schools should make financial literacy classes a requirement in high school;
Give tax breaks to employers to promote biking to work;
Combat mold in public housing
The Brooklyn Young Republican Club looks forward to advancing life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and advancing equity wherever it may lack in Brooklyn and beyond! DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: FEBURARY 29, 2020.
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. All people, made equal by the Creator, are freely endowed with these inalienable rights, as the Declaration of Independence rightly recognizes.
But can we all be said to enjoy equal opportunity in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness if a police officer, unlike a civilian, can murder you with impunity and qualified immunity?
If a large marauding group of people, justifiably angry over injustice, is able and permitted on a mere whim to destroy your home, your business or your life, do you, as an individual, enjoy equal liberty with the group?
How free are we if preventable, treatable and curable illness dominates our ability to function equally in society compared with the momentarily healthy because of the market’s failure to ensure health care access for all who need it?
These notions of equal opportunity to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness inherently reveal the God-given, innate sovereignty of every single individual person to be freely able to live fully and make whatever choices for themselves as they see fit according to their needs, desires and conscience.
Of course the boundaries of this sovereignty will be tested. Some individuals or groups will inevitably achieve the ability to assert arbitrary and capricious power over the lives, bodies, choices and options of others in order to pursue their own ends. And some will indeed exercise this power over others. In effect, some people’s enjoyment of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness will be deprived by domination of others abusing their rights, power, and privilege in enjoying the same.
We need not list the innumerable and horrific ways we have witnessed this behavior inflicted on people at individual and systemic proportions throughout history.
Yet, wise people who have deeply understood these rights and behaviors saw the need to balance them through the institution of government. In essence, government is the physical manifestation of the proverbial social contract whereby sovereign individuals concede limits to their privilege and power in exchange for mutually guaranteeing to one another the ability to enjoy certain fundamental rights no matter what.
To achieve this, governments have taken all kinds of forms throughout history, from direct democracy to absolutist monarchy and dictatorship.
However, one framework of republican government stands out in clear contrast from all others: the civic republican framework.
What distinguishes the civic republican approach to government?
The civic republican’s aim is achieving a world where every person is free from domination. It is the core belief of the civic republican that liberty can only truly exist, and be enjoyed equally, where no dominating forces are able to harm or restrict a person’s life, body, choices or options as a result of arbitrary and capricious power. What is arbitrary and capricious power here? It is any force capable of getting away with causing harm, through abuse of its own liberties or leveraging an imbalance of power or privilege at its sole discretion, without ever actuallyhaving to answer for it or make things right going forward.
To accomplish liberty as non-domination equally and equitably for all persons and groups, the people of a society have to agree to manage their affairs publicly not by rule of power but exclusively by rule of law, whereby all persons regularly living under a set of laws actively partake in their formulation as well as their just enforcement.
The purpose of the rule of law is to establish clear, objective and impersonal boundaries where domination over anyone’s liberty is rendered null and void. The rule of law must also prescribe what actions are to be taken to regulate and prevent actual or potential dominating forces in the society. When unlawful domination occurs or arbitrary and capricious power is exerted that does harm to any individual, justice must be rendered impartially in order to restore a balance of liberty by correcting the resulting imbalance of equity among all affected parties.
Ultimately the people of such a society safeguard the rule of law and liberty as non-domination through publicly elected and administered institutions that serve as agents on their behalf. However, these institutions of republican government too must be carefully limited, lest they themselves perversely dominate through arbitrary and capricious power over the liberties they are meant to protect.
To be clear, the rule of law is not about thoughtless enforcement of whatever literal written words exist in the law. That too often could result in an unjust, legalistic tyranny. When constructed inclusively and enforced justly in the context of achieving liberty as non-domination for everyone, the proper rule of law actually encourages peace and prosperity organically because of the absence of harm and retribution from injustices that would otherwise foment disorder. In fact, to the contrary, it is the consistently blatant and uncorrected violations of the rule of law and the principle of liberty as non-domination that result in unrest, extreme poverty and other socio-economic ills, perpetuation of cycles of injustice, theft and destruction of property and, most importantly, unnecessary loss of life. This is exactly where the rule of law and liberty as non-domination can prove “right makes might,” not the other way around.
Therefore, the single most important question the civic republican would ask on any matter is, does this eliminate arbitrary and capricious power that dominates anyone’s liberty? If it eliminates arbitrary and capricious power, then it fulfills the civic republican ideal of liberty as non-domination. Otherwise, new policies and reforms must be enacted to correct this.
Eyeball Test: The eyeball test requires that people should be so resourced and protected in the basic choices of life—in short, the basic liberties—that they can look others in the eye without fear or deference of the kind that a power of interference might inspire. When you enjoy social, medical, and judicial security, and benefit from a suitable legal and economic order, your security does not depend on the indulgence and condescension of others. You can walk tall and assume the status of an equal with the most powerful in the land.
Tough Luck Test: The tough luck test requires that the government should support and protect its people on the basis of such equally shared control that if a collective decision goes against you, then you have reason to view this as tough luck, even by the most demanding local criteria, and not as the sign of malicious forces working against you or your kind. If the government decides to allow a waste transfer station to be built near your backyard, for example, then it does so on the basis of processes and principles of decision-making that you join with others in making; it is not the product of a coalition of hostile interests out to get you or your neighbors. Thus you can feel that the adverse decision about the waste transfer station was just bad luck, an unfortunate setback on a par with a bout of illness.
Straight Talk Test: Finally, the straight talk test requires that the peoples of a society each have such resources and protections in dealing with groups, institutions, states and other bodies that the contributions of their representatives in collaborative and political settings can reasonably be construed at face value. They are contributions made in public exchanges where the parties each command respect; none has reason to speak in the presumptuous tones of the master and none in the mealymouthed tones of the servant. Thus, if a people’s representatives assume a different posture, say by deferring to the spokespersons for another group, for an international agency, or for a multinational corporation, then by contemporary criteria they can be accused of timidity or paranoia.
With the understanding that proper republican government ought to function as the robust public moderator of the rule of law and dismantler of dominating forces that rob people of their ability to enjoy liberty equally, almost any issue and its appropriate policy outcomes can be viewed in a more focused light. Consider what powers or forces, seen as acceptable right now, are actually exerting inequitable, arbitrary and capricious domination over people’s liberty with regard to climate change, criminal justice, education, immigration, business, property, labor, the war on drugs, national defense, health care and more. The implications and solutions to consider from here are profound and seemingly revolutionary.
Now it is important to understand that civic republicanism rises above the current conception of politics as we know it. There is no libertarian, conservative, moderate or progressive. No left, center or right. There is but one test for civic republican governance: whether liberty is enjoyed equally by all people without threat of domination. All other considerations can be evaluated as derivative from there.
It is this state of just and equal freedom that ought to be the highest calling of the United States of America and all levels of government under it. By doing so, we may finally endow everyone with the promised fruits of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution at last, once and for all.
There’s no time to waste in ensuring everyone is truly free from domination of any kind. Now let’s get to work.
Jonathan J. Judge is the Chair of the newly formed Civic Republican Caucus of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club. He is also former President (2008–2011) and currently serves as a member of its Board of Directors.
In light of this coronavirus crisis, it has become abundantly clear that the conservative approach to government that too many of my fellow Republicans still cling to ultimately results in a failure to govern effectively at all.
Conservatism is just no longer a valid competing style or philosophy of governance in my eyes. Rather, it’s plain and simple abdication of governing justly and competently all together. It yields primarily instead to the forces of might makes right, to survival of the fittest or richest or ”purest,” to Hobbes’ state of nature for those who haven’t the privilege to escape it — at first, anyway.
It does absolutely nothing to advance life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for everyone.
Conservatism’s aim, whether intentionally or not, is pointing much more closely towards feudalism for the many, not freedom and justice for all.
While President Donald J. Trump has embodied the fullest manifestation to-date of what the conservative Republican approach leads to, he doesn’t bear the responsibility alone by any means. This has been a decades-long movement fomented by thousands of disaffected Americans, who masqueraded this “conservative”set of policies as virtuous, God-given, authentically American and enlightened — which, yes, even I had believed for a time — when it really is anything but.
When it comes to establishing justice, promoting the general welfare, ensuring domestic tranquility, providing for the common defense, and securing the blessings of liberty for ourselves and future generations, the conservative answer of reducing the public sector’s role and capabilities towards those ends is fully against the good design of our constitutional republic.
This isn’t to say fiscal responsibility, or deregulating when just and virtuous to do so to foster a competitive and reliable market, or preventing government over-reach and abuse aren’t important values. They are! But they’re not conservative values. They are fundamentally American constitutional good government values. No one party or movement owns those, and God help us if only one ever really should!
However, there is zero virtue in putting money over people at all costs, even if one thinks it’s in the service of equal opportunity for all. It just isn’t.
“Republicans are for both the man and the dollar, but in case of conflict, the man before the dollar.”
If contemporary Republicans weren’t largely afflicted by conservatism, this might be truer yet today — except examples like the following keep happening instead:
Failing to take decisive action in an epidemic in order to protect the stock market and 401(k)s only for everyone to be sitting ducks in a dire and deadly crisis later.
Trying to gut the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to dismantle an alleged socialist takeover by health care with few, if any, alternative health care options for most people to afford in order to stay healthy.
Deregulating industry to help put people “back to work” despite automation and in less safe, less secure, and still fewer positions than they once had.
Conservative these policies may be, but they are radically opposed to anything I could ever imagine our Founders hoped for from the republic they built.
Nor does it represent any kind of world I would actually wish to live in, either as a lifelong Republican from Brooklyn or as an American.
Now for those of you who identify as conservative because of your social, religious or moral values, well, they can remain your social, religious and moral values — for yourself. That’s absolutely fine. But let’s not deceive ourselves into thinking there’s any way those values are effective governing values that honor the design of our constitutional republic’s mission to serve the people well with liberty and justice for all. They have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Good values are neither conservative nor progressive, socialist nor libertarian. We all already know the fundamentally good values of truth, honesty, fairness, charity, service, conscientiousness, and kindness. No movement or party has a monopoly on those; the rest is personal preference.
So it’s time for conservatism in the Republican Party and in American government and politics to finally go the way of the novel coronavirus.
Yes, it caught some of us off guard.
Yes, some of us didn’t think it could be so bad.
But now we know better.
Coupled with effective social distancing and frequent hand washing, most of us could be rid of it in a year or less. The damage will be contained. Then it will largely live consigned to the history books and manuals for better prevention in order to avoid mass reinfection later.
And then finally American government at all levels can get back to doing the profound, competent and just work for all people that our Constitution intended.
Jonathan J. Judge is the former President of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club (2008–2011) and currently serves as a member of its Board of Directors.