Linda Minucci doesn’t like the spotlight. She’s an elected official, but holds some of the most obscure positions in the Democratic Party. Minucci is a county committee member, which according to her doesn’t serve much of a purpose.
As a former delegate to the Democratic state judicial convention, she says the process essentially rubber stamps judges who run unopposed during the state judicial convention.
Currently, Minucci serves as a state committee member, also known in some neighborhoods as District Leaders, making her responsible for staffing polling locations, vetting judicial candidates, registering voters and increasing voter turnout.
Causal political observers may not know what these unpaid positions are, but Minucci says she has enjoyed volunteering for the Democratic Party in relative obscurity for the past 35 years.
Minucci would like to continue her hold over her small Democratic fiefdom. This year, she’s fighting off young upstart, Kristina Naplatarski, for female state committee member, a position also known as female District Leader. (She’s also on the ballot as a judicial delegate.)
As opposed to 24-year-old native Greenpointer Naplatarski, Minnuci is certifiably part of the old guard. Also born and raised in Greenpoint, Minucci has seen the neighborhood change from a working class Polish enclave to hip destination for young professionals.
“Years ago everyone knew everybody. Everyone knew everybody’s parents,” she said in an interview with Greenpointers.
And in contrast to Naplatarski, who started in politics directly after graduating from college by joining Council Member Antonio Reynoso’s office, Minucci started her professional career as a cosmetologist. She eventually migrated to office work, snagging a gig as executive assistant for Community School Board 14.
At the same time, Minucci started helping out in Democratic elections, volunteering on Ada Smith’s State Senate campaign, among others.
Her political connections eventually aided her in netting a job in the City Council doing secretarial work, which WNYC described as a “patronage position.”
Minucci disputes the characterization: “Any job in the council is political. To say it’s not would be a lie, but a patronage job? I had to apply for it like everybody else.”
Now, Minucci is retired, but she’s still a formidable presence in North Brooklyn politics. In 2016, she defeated Emily Gallagher, who is challenging Assemblyman Joseph Lentol in this year’s primary, for female state committee member.
And just like in 2016, she’s fighting against characterizations that she’s a cog in Brooklyn’s Democratic Party machine, defending herself against a similarly young, progressive candidate.
“I am not a rubber stamp for the county. I have bucked many county leaders on judgeships,” she said. ”I have personally worked very hard to get women elected to the [judicial] bench.”
Minucci also defends her record in the community, citing her work helping people find jobs as well as assisting seniors in housing court.
Tomorrow, after the primary, Minnuci hopes she’ll get back to the same work she’s engaged in for more than three decades, which she insists, is on her own terms.
“I’m my own person,” she said.