Underdog candidate hoping to spring an upset in primary for NY’s 16th Congressional District

Jamaal Bowman is challenging powerful incumbent Rep. Eliot Engel in the Democratic primary for New York’s 16th Congressional District in 2020.

The district, which covers the northern Bronx and the southern half of Westchester County, has been represented by Engel since 2013.

Bowman, a former Bronx middle school principal, has the backing of the Justice Democrats, a progressive political action committee who previously recruited Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. He has also earned the support of actress and former gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon. 

“We need more educators, more teachers, more middle school principals, more professors, more cameramen, more sanitation workers, more bartenders. We need diversity in Congress so we can meet the diverse needs of the people of this country,” Bowman said. 

Bowman says he promises, first and foremost, to focus on quadrupling federal funding for low-income schools. He is also an outspoken critic of standardized testing and is confident his 16 years serving as an educator in the Bronx, combined with his strong community roots will give him a leg up over his opponent. 

“I’m from the community, I’ve worked in the community, I am them and they are me and I look forward to working with them to build a movement for this district.”

Win or lose, Bowman says he hopes to inspire people of all background to become active members in our democracy. 


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