Former 44th Assembly District Leader Bennett Condemns Eaton and Calls for Reform
We have received a copy of a letter from a fellow reader, and this is huge. Apparently, this letter was originally sent out to the executive committee of the Kings County Republican Party by former 44th Assembly District Leader Yvette Velázquez Bennett decrying the failures of Chairman Craig “The Duke” Eaton and his “petty, childish power trips.” Bennett also explicitly condemns Political Consultant Gerry O’Brien, The Merlin of Malice, for his tactics in the 39th City Council District race.
Noting that female and minority District Leaders are becoming an endangered species in our party, Bennett holds The Duke accountable for the failures of our party, stating Eaton’s “arrogance far exceeds his wisdom, and it is tearing our party asunder.”
Below is the text of Bennett’s letter:
This is not an easy letter to write to you, but for the sake of our party, I must.
We have an incredibly important decision to make this Wednesday at the County Committee Convention that will dictate the fate of our party in Brooklyn for many years to come. We can choose to support the status quo that has excluded, ignored, and downright attacked anyone with an earnest interest in building our party and seeing us succeed. Or we can choose a new direction, one with far more experience, wisdom and savvy to lead our party to new heights.
Now, I am currently no longer recognized as the District Leader of the 44th Assembly District, and there are quite a few other female and minority district leaders for whom this is the case—all which is a consequence of our current Chairman’s lack of leadership and petty vindictiveness.
For instance, when Gerry O’Brien was wrongly permitted to hold my district’s petitions hostage in order to bully me into some kind of “submission,” I called on our current Chairman to demonstrate his leadership to correct the matter. He, instead, did nothing and deferred not to a duly elected District Leader but to O’Brien—a mere paid consultant!
When O’Brien stole portions of my district’s petitions just before they were due to be submitted, I called on our chairman for leadership and, yet again, he caved in and did nothing.
When O’Brien argued before the Board of Elections to have my name removed from the ballot because we were short by 12 signatures—12 signatures that could have easily been obtained if we had been able to count the remaining petitions that were illicitly in O’Brien’s possession, our Chairman, an attorney, sat quietly on the sidelines saying nothing to defend one of the most fervent supporters of his chairmanship from Day One.
And even until that point, I still had faith that our Chairman was trying to do right under incredible pressure, until he demonstrated the ultimate in petty, childish power trips. He had me and several other individuals in my district, as well as in other districts, removed from Election Day jobs. And then, as others have reported, he uses the money that we helped him raise for our party to re-elect himself Chairman by designating himself the recipient of the entire county’s proxy votes.
But this letter is not about sour grapes about a position or a per diem post at the Board of Elections, I assure you. I need neither the position in order to continue my work in building our party in my community, nor the money that comes from these important Election Day jobs.
Rather, I tell you this to warn you: this Chairman knows not the meaning of loyalty and especially that it is a two-way street. His arrogance far exceeds his wisdom, and it is tearing our party asunder. After almost three years as Chairman, we have made no gains and indeed far too many losses. The people have lost all faith in the integrity of our party, and now he is actively ostracizing anyone with even the slightest initiative to rebuild our party and its values.
Lastly, let me remind you that we the leaders elect the Chairman, and not the other way around. So let’s not permit these abuses to persist any further from the person whom we elect as our chief servant.
I would go further, but I have no doubt that you already know well about what many of our colleagues have been saying for quite some time. But don’t lose hope—you as a leader have the power to change course, and I urge you to do just that this Wednesday.
Yvette Velázquez Bennett
Republican Grassroots Advocate
44th Assembly District
***As a side note, I want to personally congratulate Ms. Bennett for taking a stand against the forces of failure and promoting reform in our party. Thank you, Ms. Bennett for your leadership! – FD