Brooklyn Democrats gathered Wednesday night to pick their next county leader in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal involving their departing chairman, State Assemblyman Vito Lopez. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
If Vito Lopez ruled the Brooklyn Democratic party with an iron fist, Frank Seddio says his will be a rule by consensus.
"My style is that if we have a disagreement, we have a right to disagree," Seddio said. "If we have a difference of opinion and we can't agree on something, maybe down the road we can find another way to do it."
Wednesday night, following a meeting of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, its leaders voted overwhelmingly to elect Seddio, a former state Assemblyman, long-time operator in the Brooklyn Democratic machine and a Vito Lopez ally.
There were concerns Seddio might be too much of an old-guard insider to effect reform. But he's promised changes.
Assemblyman Karim Camara, once viewed as a potential rival for the post, instead backed Seddio.
"He has the personality," Camara said. "In politics, you have to have the personality. You have to be able to deal with people. He has the people skills."
"I've always been an independent," Seddio said. "I've known Vito for over 30 years. As a matter of fact, we were actually involved as a younger person, in his original election, when he became the Assemblyman. But I've never been a protege of anyone."
Though largely beyond the public eye, the position of county boss carries immense power, including the ability to nominate judges.
Historically, it's had a corrupting influence. Lopez's predecessor, Clarence Norman, ended up in prison. But Seddio is preaching a break from the past.
"We're a new age," he said. "If we get the opportunity to do this together, we're gonna make Brooklyn the star of the state. We're the largest Democratic county in the entire country."
Seddio was considering a run for City Council next year but now he'll have to give that up, as election law prohibits politicians from holding a county chairmanship and city elected office at the same time.