U.S. Rep. Jamaal Bowman hosted a campaign office opening party to celebrate the new space which will serve as a hub for campaigning efforts to take place and supporters to gather. The event took place on Friday, July 8, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and the office is located at 550 Gramatan Ave. Mount Vernon, NY 10552.
At the event, Bowman greeted constituents with music, food and yard signs that read “Jamaal Bowman NY16 Democrat for Congress Vote August 23,” signifying the upcoming Democratic party primary on August 23 that will determine which Democratic candidate will run in the district’s general election on November 8th according to Ballotpedia.org. New York’s 16th District consists of the northern Bronx and sections of Westchester County including Mount Vernon, Yonkers, and New Rochelle. Rep. Bowman is running for re-election to continue representing this district.
“I’m so grateful for all the support we’ve gotten over the years. When we ran for office in 2019 no one had a shot, but we won a historic victory because we built a diverse coalition if amazing people, smart people, people who really care about the community and care about this country” Bowman said. “It’s a real blessing to be able to continue to do this work, continue to engage the community.”
Bowman currently sits on the House Committee on Education and Labor and the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology in the 117th Congress. During this term in 2021, he also unveiled the Green New Deal for Public Schools Act which would aim to upgrade public school buildings to combat climate change.
Among the attendees included other local government officials and supporters like Anushka Kumar. Kumar, 17, is the CEO and founder of an organization called, The Promise We Share. As a constituent from Scarsdale, she was excited to attend Bowman’s event because of his assistance and collaboration to uphold the mission of The Promise We Share, “to lift high risk families out of the poverty cycle through nutrition, education and community health services.”
“Congressman Bowman has helped me take my work to the next level,” Kumar said. “He is so keen on connecting the nonprofit circle and the advocacy happening in his community.”
Kumar also works on Congressman Bowman’s campaign by phone banking. She calls constituents to inform them about the candidates running, how to register to vote, and tells them about Bowman’s efforts and work within the community.
“Young people can expect to have a seat at the table,” Bowman said. “The young minds of the country are the ones that are going to rebuild the country and give us the vision and hold us accountable for what needs to be done.”
In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that provided the constitutional right to an abortion on June 24. Bowman has expressed that he will continue to advocate for abortion rights and reproductive rights.
“I think it’s good that Congressman Bowman is continuing this fight,” said Matthew Barotz, 17, high school student within the district. “This is a time that we need to take action right now, so his stance on continuing to fight for abortion nationally is really important.”
Additionally, Barotz is excited for the new campaign office space to once again collaborate and work with other Bowman supporters in person, given the limited interaction due to the COVID-19 pandemic these past two years.
“When you’re trying to phonebank alone in your room is so different from phone banking in a whole office where everyone is sharing the same ideas and really excited about the candidate,” he said.
“When Congressman Bowman is there, the energy that he brings to the room is unmatched with anyone you’ll ever meet,” Barotz said. “Anytime you speak with him, he always gives encouraging words, he always gives you something memorable that you’re going to take with you.”
Echoing this same sentiment is David Smalls, 20, who is currently participating in a fellowship called Bowman for Congress Summer Organizing Fellowships. He was able to secure this positon by what he calls “shooting his shot” and sending a direct message to Bowman asking about an opportunity to help with his campaign.
Not only was Smalls glad at how quickly and receptive Bowman connected him with this program, but also by his down to earth demeanor and ability to genuinely connect with his community.
“Growing up I’ve always thought of people in Congress, people in the government, I thought they were untouchable, unreachable,” Smalls said. “But I’ve seen with Representative Bowman…he is literally a part of the community…and places people as a first priority…he makes you feel like you’re his family.”
Looking ahead to the upcoming primary election, residents like Tasha Young, from Greenburg, are looking forward to seeing how Bowman will continue to impact the district as she believes he is “inclusive of everyone and is productive.”
Young also believes that “pain points,” or issues that people feel directly impacted by, should be steppingstone for individuals to get involved in local politics. That way they can research and vote for representatives that they feel aligns with their beliefs.