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UPDATE Jamaal Bowman backs Alessandra Biaggi in New York’s 3rd Congressional District Race

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By SILE MOLONEY

Congressman Jamaal Bowman (NY-16) addresses the crowd at Edenwald YMCA center in the Northeast Bronx on Friday, October 22, 2021, during an event organized in honor of US Vice President Kamala Harris’s visit to the borough to promote the Biden administration’s Build Back better agenda Harris was in the borough at the invitation of Bowman and was accompanied on the trip by US Secretary of Heath & Human Services, Xavier Becerra.
Photo by David Greene

In perhaps not such a surprising announcement, Congressman Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), who represents parts of The Bronx and Westchester, formally endorsed New York State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (SD 34) for US Congress in New York’s 3rd congressional district (NY -3) on Tuesday, Feb. 8. Bowman’s endorsement comes one day after Biaggi launched her congressional campaign to succeed Democrat, Thomas Suozzi, as reported. Suozzi announced a bid to run for governor in November 2021.

“I am proud to endorse Senator Biaggi in her run for Congress,” Bowman said in a written statement. “Senator Biaggi leads with relentless compassion. She’s smart, bold, principled, hard-working, and most importantly, loves people. She is a champion for women’s rights and the working class, and her countless victories in the State Senate show that she truly understands the urgency of this moment.”

The congressman added, “As a member of Congress, I am working hard to build a nation that works for everyone, not just the privileged class, and I have full confidence Senator Biaggi, with her tireless advocacy, is looking to do the same. I look forward to Senator Biaggi joining me in DC so together we can continue to fight for working New Yorkers and for a society that embodies the ideals of justice, equality, and solidarity.”

Reacting to the news, the senator, who, as reported, last year, was among a number of elected officials to fall ill with COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated, said, “I am thrilled and incredibly grateful to receive Congressman Jamaal Bowman’s endorsement .”

NYS Senator Alessandra Biaggi speaks at a press conference regarding healthcare for transportation workers at 4th Floor Senate Staircase in the Capitol Building, Albany NY on February 12, 2020.
Photo Courtesy of NY Senate Media Services

She added, “I have the privilege of serving several communities in tandem with the Congressman, and I have learned so much from his leadership. Congressman Bowman is a champion for working families. He possesses an admirable commitment to strengthening New York’s public education and ensuring teachers and students have the resources they need, regardless of zip code. It is an honor to be Congressman Bowman’s friend and colleague, and I look forward to taking our partnership to the halls of Congress.”

Meanwhile, as reported, rumors abound that Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernández (AD 80), may be thinking of running to fill the senator’s seat were Biaggi to win in NY-3. Norwood News reached out to the assemblywoman’s office for comment on Monday morning. We did not receive an immediate response. We will update this story upon receipt of any information we receive.

I am running for Governor of NY as a common sense Democrat who gets things done.

I have the track record, common sense approach to governing & bold new vision to get it done. I can do it, because I’ve done it! Please take a look at my video and share. https://t.co/0GiQIja1qr

— Tom Suozzi (@Tom_Suozzi) November 29, 2021

City & State reported that in addition to Fernández, AD 82 district leader, John Doyle, recently elected, district 13 city council member, Marjorie Velázquez, Bronx Community Board 11 member, Christian Amato, and Kate Theobald, chief of staff to Manhattan Council Member Keith Powers and a Riverdale resident were also considering running.

Norwood News reached out to each for comment. We received the following response from Doyle. “I worked for the State Senate for five years, and I’m a lifelong resident of this district. It’s important to me that we elect someone who understands how to make government work for people while also continuing the change Senator Biaggi and her colleagues started in 2018,” he said. “Whether as a candidate or a concerned citizen, I will be fighting to make sure we get the best possible Senator who can achieve great things for our community.”

Part 1 of an open letter from East Bronx residents to the New York State governor and legislature, opposing the most recent redistricting proposal for New York’s 3rd congressional district.
Image courtesy of Google Docs

Velázquez was quoted in the City & State story as saying, “I’m seriously considering running for State Senate.” She added, “The State Senate provides a great platform to make the lives of our neighborhoods better. I look forward to the process.” The councilwoman reportedly told City & State that COVID-19 and housing would be key issues in a possible senatorial campaign run.

For his part, Amato later told the Norwood News, “From the minute we took our district back from the clutches of the IDC, it has been crucial to ensure that our State Senator remains connected to the grassroots movement that helped us gain our historic Democratic Majority in the Senate.”

He added, “Over the years, I have had the privilege of working in the Senate to serve our community and help our constituents; as an organizer, I have worked across the Bronx and Westchester with regional advocates, and through the pandemic, I formed a mutual aid network that continues to bring 10,000 pounds of fresh produce weekly and over 1 million face masks and PPE supplies to our Bronx neighborhoods .”

Part 2 of an open letter from East Bronx residents to the New York State governor and legislature, opposing the most recent redistricting proposal for New York’s 3rd congressional district.
Image courtesy of Google Docs

Amato concluded, “I am deeply committed to seeing our communities rise together. As I explore the viability of a Senate run, I’ll be certain to remain connected to the grassroots voices in our District and will make a decision based on what is best for our community.”

Meanwhile, when contacted for comment, Theobald said, “I can confirm I’m considering it. The messages of support I’ve received since yesterday has only encouraged me more. The district needs strong, experienced leadership and I think I have a lot to offer.”

Bowman’s congressional district and Biaggi’s senatorial district currently both encompassing Riverdale, Mount Vernon, and Pelham. The newly drawn congressional NY-3 district, following the latest redistricting proposal by Democrats, which has since been signed off by Gov. Kathy Hochul, includes Westchester neighborhoods previously represented by Bowman.

However, as reported by The Bronx Times on Tuesday, East Bronx residents have sent an open letter to Hochul, State senate majority leader, Andrea Stewart Cousins, State assembly speaker, Carl Heastie, Biaggi, herself, and Assembly Member Michael Benedetto (AD 82 ), voicing their dissatisfaction with the new redistricting arrangements which sees the East of the borough essentially cut off from the rest of The Bronx and falling into New York’s newly drawn 3rd congressional district (NY-3), together with parts of Queens and Long Island . “We have about as much in common with someone in Smithtown, Long Island, as we do with someone on the planet Mars,” the residents wrote.

Part 3 of an open letter from East Bronx residents to the New York State governor and legislature, opposing the most recent redistricting proposal for New York’s 3rd congressional district.
Image courtesy of Google Docs

Also on Tuesday, as reported, former New York City Council Speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito endorsed Melanie D’Arrigo in New York’s 3rd congressional district race. Described as an organizer, healthcare advocate, activist, mother of three, and a leader in the Latino and Puerto Rican communities in The Bronx, D’Arrigo recently announced her candidacy in the race.

Ostensibly, though their backgrounds differ, it appears the two female candidates may well be targeting much of the same voter base. In the murky world of politics, a cynic might even surmise that someone, somewhere is attempting to orchestrate a split in the progressive vote.

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