HUDSON — Four of 10 Hudson Democratic committee members have announced their resignations, two of whom also held executive positions.
Virginia Martin, secretary and 3rd Ward representative; Stephen Dunn, treasurer and 4th Ward representative; and John Kane, 1st Ward representative, announced their resignations at the committee’s meeting Tuesday. Monica Byrne, 1st Ward representative, submitted her resignation earlier in the day.
All positions are open with the exception of Kane’s because he has not officially sent a written resignation, Chairwoman Kate Treacy said.
Martin, Kane and Dunn resigning the same night was not a coincidence, although each had varying motives, Dunn said. Byrne was unaware of the other resignations when she announced her departure, she said.
Kane and members of the committee disagreed about whether it was appropriate for him to reach out to local politicians on behalf of the committee. In an email addressed to former mayor Tiffany Martin, former mayor Rick Rector and former 1st Ward Alderman Rob Bujan, Kane wrote that the committee is in a recruitment process and wants to speak with them regarding the state of Hudson and potential candidates.
But his intention was not to speak for the entire committee, Kane said.
Treacy then emailed the committee and posted on its Facebook group an apology for Kane’s unauthorized communication. A later post from the Hudson Democrats account apologized for the post about Kane, saying members are allowed to communicate as they wish, but are encouraged to be clear they are doing so on their own behalf and not as a committee representative.
“That post is one of my reasons for leaving,” Kane said. “The other reason is sometimes the most powerful thing you can do is leave and tell people why you don’t believe in the committee anymore.”
Ensuring any communication going out on behalf of the committee is speaking for the committee is part of Treacy’s duties as chairwoman, which is why the clarification was made, she said Friday. Committee members have been in disagreement about if, how and when they should endorse candidates, Kane said.
Dunn resigned from the committee for various reasons. He is recovering from open-heart surgery performed last March, and as time has gone on, he has seen less of a place for himself in Hudson politics.
“This old man and his weak heart can only handle so much,” Dunn said.
Dunn said the committee should educate candidates and ultimately give voters more choices, even if committee members don’t agree with candidates’ views. But the thought of including candidates with opposing views is a “thought crime” in Hudson, he said.
Having smart, energetic, knowledgeable candidates with a good temperament who can help improve the city’s future is more important than where candidates stand on a particular issue, he said. He has been criticized for that view.
“And there are all these people who show up, you use a politically incorrect term and they’ll tear you apart,” he said. “I find that demoralizing. I don’t like the tone of the specific discourse.”
Candidates face fewer hurdles running for office than they used to, such as requiring fewer signatures to get on the ballot and being able to change parties closer to the election, which makes the role of the committee less significant for prospective candidates, Dunn said.
Byrne had been in her role for about two to three weeks, she said. She was hesitant to take on the position as a newcomer with other obligations to her schoolwork and business, but was persuaded to join.
The Feb. 2 forum Byrne hosted with Kane for 1st Ward residents was concerning to her, particularly hearing complaints about a lack of inclusion from the committee. Byrne decided the position would be better filled by someone who has been involved with the community longer and can fully commit to helping the committee change for the better.
“It really became clear to me the community was not happy with the committee and the community didn’t feel it was serving it well,” Byrne said. “There needs to be more representation, especially in Hudson.”
Martin’s history of working with the committee led to her decision to resign, she said, declining to explain further.
“I decided that my efforts were best invested elsewhere,” she said.
There are other avenues for her to impact the community, she said.
“There are so many different ways and different places that one can make a difference,” she said. “I couldn’t even begin to list them.”
Any registered Democrat in the 106th Assembly District can run to fill the open positions on the committee, Treacy said.