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Thursday, October 30, 2014

No dough for Rangel’s Bronx office

By Adam Wisnieski
Posted

Rep. Charles Rangel said he does not have the budget to open a district office in the Bronx.

Mr. Rangel, who won re-election last year, represents a chunk of the Bronx including Kingsbridge, Kingsbridge Heights, Van Cortlandt Village, Bedford Park and Norwood. 

Because of redistricting last year, his Upper Manhattan district was expanded across the Harlem River into the Bronx. After barely beating state Sen. Adriano Espaillat in the Democratic primary and easily winning the general election last year, Mr. Rangel said he planned to open a district office in the Bronx.

“You know as soon as I was making way for it, they cut our budgets back. And so what I am doing now is bumming office space with the public officials that are here now,” Mr. Rangel said as he stepped into his car after hosting a business forum at Lehman College on April 4.

Mr. Rangel has one office in his district, located in the seventh floor of the Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building at West 125th Street in Harlem.

He pays more than $7,000 per month in rent for the office, according to reports he’s filed. Last week he said he was trying to negotiate a lower rent with his landlord so that he might free up some funds for a satellite office in the Bronx.

Currently, Mr. Rangel said he has been trying to borrow office space from state Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson — whose office is in the Bronx, but not within his district — but he has yet to offer constituent services in the Bronx. 

Last year, Mr. Rangel had the second largest budget of New York Congress members, at $1.43 million in 2012. Most New York members of Congress have a budget in the $1.3 million range, including Mr. Engel’s $1.31 million.

It is unclear how much his budget has been cut this year. 

Hannah Kim, a spokeswoman for Mr. Rangel wrote in an e-mail that it was “significantly less,” but a figure was not available as of press time. She wrote that because of the sequester, the cuts are not official, but there have already been “two reductions in our budget and we’re expecting another steep one soon.”

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