Rep. Charles Rangel said he needs to step up his presence in the Bronx and that he plans to talk with leader of the Bronx Democratic County Committee Carl Heastie, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and local elected officials to see what he can do for the borough. After being elected, a spokesman for Mr. Rangel said the congressman would open a satellite office in the Bronx this year. That hasn’t happened yet and when pressed in a recent interview, Mr. Rangel would not say whether he would open that office after all.
He said he wants to speak with Bronx elected officials to see what would “give them the most comfort.”
“There’s no question that I have to get a presence there,” Mr. Rangel said.
After redistricting, Mr. Rangel’s Upper Manhattan district now includes Kingsbridge, Van Cortlandt Village, Kingsbridge Heights, University Heights and Bedford Park. Mr. Rangel lost by 233 votes in the Bronx part of the district to state Sen. Adriano Espaillat.
Still, Mr. Rangel said representing the Bronx will benefit him and his constituents on the mainland.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity for me and for them. For me to extend what influence I have with the president and the congress, and also to have a presence there for constituents who I haven’t met yet,” he said.
“I’ve always had Harlem on my mind,” he said. “It’s a great challenge and a great opportunity.”
Good, not great
Reps. Eliot Engel and Charles Rangel are not doing cartwheels over the tax deal struck by President Barack Obama at the end of the year, but both said they were relieved America did not go over the so-called fiscal cliff. They also said the deal was a major victory for Democrats because Republicans who said they would never vote for any tax increases did just that.
“I’m not jumping for joy over it but I do think that the president and the vice president did a good job at getting the Republicans to vote for tax increases for the very wealthy after they pledged they would never vote for any tax increases. I think that’s big,” Mr. Engel said in a recent interview.