Kent Remains Secretary of Democratic County Committee | News, Sports, Jobs
Although Loren Kent is not the Democratic Elections Commissioner for Chautauqua County, he plans to remain in his position as County Democrats’ secretary.
In March, Kent was appointed as Commissioner for Democratic Elections, but his appointment was overturned by the state’s Supreme Court. Ultimately, this post was filled by Luz Torres.
Even the tough Torres had the support of the majority of the county’s Democratic Committee members and had served as deputy electoral commissioner since 2018, his appointment upset a number of county Democrats, prompting a number of resignations.
According to Kent, since March, a total of 18 Democrats have resigned from various county committees.
The last three were from Chris Anderson and Nancy Padak, both from the Lakewood-Busti committee, and Amy Near from the Pomfret committee. Those three resigned shortly before Torres was appointed to the post.
Anderson and Padak, in their resignation letters, both took issue with Norm Green, who is the chairman of the County Democratic Committee and who had served as Election Commissioner until his retirement. In Anderson’s letter she wrote, “The process by which the Chautauqua County Democratic Committee is run is undemocratic and bordering on ethics. I can no longer in good conscience support a committee and a chairman who choose to continue to lead the party on this disastrous path. Committee decisions are made by only a few people who have weighted votes. The other 100 or so members have no decision-making power. This creates a monopoly power structure where only a handful of people make important decisions. It is not democratic. It is an unbalanced and rigged structure that has been built over the years by the president to consolidate power and ensure that he makes all the decisions for the party.
Padak emitted a similar sentiment. “Our County Democratic Party is broken and I no longer have faith in the leadership of County President Norm Green. The president has created a decision-making process that deprives almost all members of the county committee of the right to vote. Because decisions are currently made by the Executive Committee, which uses a weighted voting system, three people control over 90% of the votes needed to pass a motion. This allows the president and these three committee members to maintain power over the entire party, a difficult democratic process ”, she wrote.
Near’s resignation letter also questioned Green’s effectiveness. “I think the local Democratic Party, under the current leadership of the party chairman, has lost focus on winning the election and recruiting and training elected candidates for Chautauqua County. Several young Committee members recently resigned from the Committee. Good people leave without anyone being recruited to take their place. … I regret to leave the Committee when so much work needs to be done, but I do not see a way forward with the current leadership in place ”, she wrote.
These three resignations were submitted on May 24. On May 26, the legislature appointed Torres as Election Commissioner. During that meeting, Democratic lawmakers said the appointment was aimed at “Start the healing process”. Since that night, Kent said he had not received any further resignations.
Even though Kent did not get the post of election commissioner, he said he decided to stay in his post as secretary. “I thought a lot about the resignation of the Democratic Committee myself, but after much deliberation, I decided to continue. I can only hope that better days await us ”, he said.
Green, meanwhile, insists Torres was the most qualified person for the job and rightly won the support of the county’s Democratic Party. “Loren falsely claimed he lost his candidacy for election commissioner because the Democratic County Committee was against him with members who actually lived outside the town or city they represent. This is a common and legal situation with supporters of the Kent and Torres committees living in areas other than where they serve. All votes cast for Luz Torres to be our now confirmed Election Commissioner were voted on by committee members who circulated or circulated petitions for them. No one was added to the committee before the vote and only committee members with petitions submitted to the Election Board were allowed to vote ”, he said, adding that “Loren Kent lost and I appreciate that losing is difficult.”
Moreover, Green believes that Dunkirk city councilor Don Williams is also embroiled in this tension. “Right from the start, Loren Kent partnered with Dunkirk Councilor Don Williams and their supporters to lead the party and appoint Loren Kent to the post of Election Commissioner. This alliance was, in my opinion, an extension of Don’s alignment with the Republicans of the Dunkirk city council and their sacked city service heads. Don’s attempt to retaliate after being called up for his own failures in the public service is at the heart of the baseless attacks by Kent supporters, ” he said.
Williams faces a primary this month against Natalie Luczkowiak for the First Ward.