Jamaal Bowman isn’t your average former middle school principal. That’s because the 44-year-old recently beat veteran Rep. Eliot L. Engel in the Democratic primary in New York’s 16th District.
Engel, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee, has represented the Bronx and Westchester County-based seat and its previous iterations since 1989. His win is tantamount to victory in the general election, given how Democrats dominate there. The race harked back to one of the biggest upsets of the 2018 election, when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez beat veteran Rep. Joe Crowley in the nearby 14th District.
In both races, younger, minority candidates tapped into a desire for change among Democratic voters in their majority-minority districts to beat older white men. That makes Bowman part of a generational change happening not just in New York politics, but across the country, and it’s happening at a time of extreme flux.
And with the nation taking a long look at its history of racial injustice, Bowman, a Black man, was able to provide a vivid bridge to the public with his own personal experiences with the police.
Heard on the Hill correspondent Clyde McGrady spoke to Bowman recently about his campaign, what it was like growing up, what he tells his own children about social justice and what keeps him motivated.
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