Bay Democrats to honor community do-gooders at holiday dinner

SHEEPSHEAD BAY — A Sheepshead Bay Democratic club will expand its reach beyond politics when it hosts its annual fundraising dinner this month, according to the organization’s founder and leader.

Ari Kagan, Democratic district leader of the 45th Assembly District, said the Bay Democrats’ sixth annual holiday party on Dec. 17 will give club members the chance to pay tribute to community do-gooders and celebrate their achievements.

“We try to give awards to people who do a good job of serving the community,” Kagan told the Home Reporter.

The dinner will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 17, at Signature Restaurant, 2007 Emmons Ave., starting at 6:30 p.m. Kagan and his co-district leader, Margarita Kagan (no relation) will co-host the dinner.

Funds raised at the event will go to the Bay Democrats Club and portions of the money will be used by the club to fund various charity projects in the area, Kagan said.

Richard Rozhik was named Attorney of the Year and EZ Living Home Care of NY received the Best Service Provider of the Year award. The Victoria Stancil Community Leadership Award is going to Louie Liu, vice president of Brooklyn Community Improvement Association; the Community Service Award is being given to Abida Sattar, first vice chairperson of the Coney Island Hospital Community Advisory Board; and Samuel Cooper, former vice president of the Marlboro Residents Association, will receive the Community Service Award.

“Our district is very diverse and our award winners reflect that diversity,” said Kagan, whose district includes parts of Sheepshead Bay, Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach Homecrest, Gravesend and Midwood.

The residents living in the 45th Assembly District include Russian, Asian and Pakistani immigrant communities. The district is represented by Democratic Assemblymember Steven Cymbrowitz. U.S. Reps. Yvette Clarke, Hakeem Jeffries and Max Rose; State Sens. Simcha Felder, Andrew Gounardes and Diane Savino, and Councilmembers Chaim Deutsch and Mark Treyger all represent parts of the district.

The Bay Democrats was formed in 2014, two years after Kagan was elected district leader. Kagan, who came to the U.S. from his native Belarus in 1993 at the age of 26, currently serves as a community liaison to New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer. Kagan ran for State Assembly in 2006 and for City Council in 2013, losing both times in the Democratic primary.

Kagan said he enjoys his role as district leader. “I ran for district leader because I am a unifier. I can bring people together,” he said. “At our club meetings, you will see people socializing with each other from various communities who might not have gotten the chance to meet and talk to each other before.”

The Bay Democrats Club meets once a month, on the first Wednesday of the month, at 2508 Coney Island Ave., at 7:30 p.m. The January meeting will take place on Jan. 8 because the first Wednesday of the month is Jan. 1.

“We believe all politics is local,” said Kagan. “At our meetings, we talk about local issues like how to help the Sheepshead Bay Library, Sandy recovery and why our subway stations are not accessible. Don’t get me wrong, we do the things political clubs do, like getting petition signatures for candidates. But we are involved in more than politics.”

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