NYC Councilman Ari Kagan steps down as committee head after Dem-to-GOP flip

Councilman Ari Kagan, who earlier this week announced he was leaving the Democratic Party to join the Republicans, has resigned as chairman of the Council’s resiliency committee.

His resignation on Wednesday came just days after Council Speaker Adrienne Adams suggested publicly there would be consequences for his defection.

According to two sources, Kagan and the Republicans had two options as far as Kagan’s chairmanship of the Committee on Resiliency and Waterfronts — either be deposed through an embarrassing full Council vote, or quietly step down.

It is not clear whether the Council Speaker conveyed these options to Kagan directly.

Ultimately, Kagan chose the latter option, which he confirmed Thursday morning.

“I resigned rather than to wait until being expelled by the Council leadership,” he told the Daily News. “Now I can be more open about how I feel about the Council’s misguided priorities. It is liberating to not be a Democrat who is always expected to stay in line.”

Councilman Ari Kagan

Earlier this week, the council speaker criticized Kagan for his decision to leave Democrats and on Wednesday said “everything” was under discussion as far as addressing the move.

“Voters sent Council member Kagan to the Council as a member of the majority conference and this drastic about-face seriously calls into question his commitment to the policy priorities of our conference that will impact his committee roles, particularly his chairmanship given the fact that he is joining a party that denies climate change,” Adams said in a statement released Monday.

“New Yorkers have expectations for their representatives to carry the values that they were elected to prioritize over politics. Our Democratic Conference will continue to consistently place the public interest of our city over politics without Council member Kagan.”

Kagan joined Councilman Joe Borelli and several other Republicans to formally announce his move on Monday. He said it stemmed from a redistricting process that left him without a political home and vowed to challenge Democratic Councilman Justin Brannan in the next election.

Before his defection, Kagan’s political mentor was Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, the newly-minted House minority leader.

According to sources, Jeffries urged Kagan not to make the move.

“Kagan’s rabbi is Hakeem. Hakeem told him to stand down,” one source said. “Kagan said no and then went to Borelli.”

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