When I walk down Johnson Avenue on a summer evening, all the energy and life and diversity that makes up the Riverdale community floods my senses. The sound of children racing around the parking meters as their moms try to regain some control, juggling shopping bags. The smell of food from the restaurant kitchens. The drivers bumping their horns as they jockey for parking space. The older generation kibitzing and arguing about politics at the bank or the bagel shop.
This is the Riverdale I know, my home for so many years now, a place of friendship and community. After the legislative battles are fought, it’s good to come home and to be here with my neighbors.
But about those battles. Friends, I am once again seeking election as your representative in Congress. I ask for your vote in the June 23 Democratic primary. And I am prepared to continue to fight for you — my neighbors — in Washington as a senior member of Democratic leadership, committed to bring the most resources back to this district as possible.
As we all know, these are very difficult times — so many of us have lost a family member, or been sick, or lost a job, or seen a decline in financial resources. That’s why strong, experienced leadership is so important right now.
Every two years, I ask the voters to consider my record, and it’s a record I’m deeply proud of — on health care, the environment, women’s rights, civil rights, all the way to constituent services. I have always put the needs of my constituents first.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I was on the legislative front lines fighting to ensure New York received the requisite federal support. When our hospitals were being shortchanged, I fought for and successfully procured an additional $5 billion in federal finding, five times more than any other state.
When red tape was preventing the import of 100,000 COVID-19 antibody tests, I used my position as chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee to expedite their import into New York City. And throughout this pandemic, my office in Riverdale has continued to help hundreds of constituents deal with issues, ranging from filing for unemployment to applying for paycheck protection program loans.
Still, we face many challenges in America today — none perhaps bigger than the lack of leadership, understanding, empathy and experience in the White House.
It feels like, in Trump’s America, we lurch from one crisis to another, many either started or exacerbated by a reckless president with no guiding principles.
As one of the six chairs who led the impeachment inquiry, I have been at the forefront of resisting this president and his radical agenda from the start. Right now, I’m investigating his most recent affront to our Constitution, the firing of the State Department inspector general, who at my request, was investigating the administration’s attempt to sell arms to Saudi Arabia without our approval. You can bet we will get to the bottom of this story, and hold everyone involved accountable for their actions.
And then there’s my work on domestic policy. Whether it be fighting for women’s equality and equal pay, protecting the Hudson from anchoring oil barges, working to bolster education funding for our schools, supporting a Green New Deal, or helping to found the Medicare for All Caucus, I remain committed to creating a better world for you, for me, and for future generations.
We must also confront the problem of racism and violence in this country.
When I watched the shocking murder of George Floyd at the hands of police, I remembered so many others whose lives were shortened in police custody — including right here in New York. Amadou Diallo. Eric Garner. Patrick Dorismond. And too many others.
We must change. Recently, I signed on as an original co-sponsor of the Justice in Policing Act, a sweeping new police reform bill drafted by Democrats in both houses that would ban chokeholds, limit “qualified immunity” for police officers, create a national misconduct registry, and the use of no-knock warrants in drug cases, and make lynching a federal crime, among other elements.
I have announced my support for large-scale reforms in the New York state legislature, particularly the repeal of 50-a, which protects the secrecy of police disciplinary records.
Friends, we must come together as a nation.
I strongly support the candidacy of former vice president Joe Biden, and look forward to a time when we can work together to make things better for this district, for New York, and for the nation.
The author is the U.S. Representative for New York’s 16th Congressional District.