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Brooklyn Democrats React to BK Council Member Ari Kagan's Controversial Departure From Their Party

Brooklyn Democratic Party Chair Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn and Speaker Adrienne Adams issue statements.
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Ari Kagan. Photo: John McCarten/NYC Council Media Unit.

Ari Kagan, the council member representing Bensonhurst, Coney Island, Gravesend and Sea Gate, just made a controversial switch from Democrat to Republican on Monday, Dec. 5.

Kagan is also now launching a general election bid against fellow Brooklyn Council Member Justin Brannan.

Kagan announced the switcheroo on Monday on the steps of City Hall, standing with the council’s other five Republican members, according to AMNY.

“Over the last several years in my personal humble opinion, [the] Democratic Party in New York became moving to the left at such a speed that they could not even keep up,” Kagan said, AMNY reported.

“And on issue after issue every year, every month, I started to feel that it’s not me leaving the Democratic Party, but [the] Democratic Party very quickly started to leave me.”

Under the Democratic Organizational Rules, the Kings County Democratic County Committee will now form an ad hoc Committee that will be charged to examine ethic-related issues including the conduct of party members when complaints are submitted to the Brooklyn Democratic Party. Updates will be given when the committee is formed and examinations are underway.

Brooklyn Democratic Party Chair Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn has issued the following statement today following Ari Kagan's resignation from the Democratic Party:

"While we do express regret for Kagan's actions, we thank him for his years of service to the party and his community, and urge all to remember that democracy must always be respected between political parties, despite our vehement differences," Bichotte Hermelyn said.

Speaker Adrienne Adams issued a statement on the matter as well, saying,  “Voters sent Council Member Kagan to the Council as a member of the majority conference and this drastic about-face seriously calls into question his commitment to the policy priorities of our conference that will impact his committee roles, particularly his chairmanship given the fact that he is joining a party that denies climate change."

"New Yorkers have expectations for their representatives to carry the values that they were elected to prioritize over politics. Our Democratic Conference will continue to consistently place the public interest of our city over politics without Council Member Kagan.”