Through Tuesday, June 23, New York’s registered Democrats can vote in primary elections for November’s general election candidates. Congressman Eliot Engel (NY-16), whose district spans Riverdale, the Northern Bronx and all of Southern Westchester, is running for re-election. Congressman Engel is currently the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He also serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee, including its Subcommittee on Health.
He is the founder and co-chair of the House Energy and National Security Caucus. He also sits on the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, the Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Anti-Semitism, the HIV/AIDS Caucus, the Long Island Sound Caucus and the Animal Protection Caucus, among others.
NORPAC and others have a strong Get-Out-The-Vote effort this year. Mr. Engel’s strong bipartisan leadership supporting the U.S.-Israel relationship is being criticized by his main opponent, who has been endorsed by AOC.
“As chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee,” Engel stated, “I am proud of the work I have done to maintain American standing on the global stage and ensure American foreign policy is supportive of our allies, with a focus on diplomacy first.” Engel added, “I am also extremely proud of the constituent services my offices have provided over the course of 30 years to the community: From immigration and Social Security to stoplights and postal service, no problem is too big or too small.”
Campaign spokesperson Tom Watson described “The COVID pandemic has severely challenged our healthcare resources and public services in so many of our communities. Congressman Engel has won more than $6 billion for New York hospitals, as well as funds for community health centers and medical supplies. This need will only continue, and as a member of Democratic leadership, he is well-placed to continue to deliver.”
Engel explained, “As dean of the New York delegation, I was able to advocate for the inclusion of $5 billion in funding for New York education in the HEROES Act.” This bill is currently being considered by the Senate. Engel continued, “In addition, I remain very active in trying to expand quality health care options to all constituents throughout the district.” Engel is a founding member of the House Medicare for All Caucus and helped write the Affordable Care Act.
In the next session of Congress, Congressman Engel plans a broad progressive agenda with Democratic leadership. “First, to fix all the disastrous policies of the Trump era, and then to improve healthcare access for all, enact a bold plan against climate change, protect reproductive freedom and battle strongly against xenophobia and racist violence, including advancing criminal justice reform and fighting anti-Semitism,” listed Engel.
In response to the recent “hot mic” incident, Congressman Engel has explained that he was requesting time to speak at what he considered an important event. “My aside to the borough president has been taken out of context, quite deliberately. They can’t attack my record, so they’ve tried to smear me in other ways.”
Currently, Congressman Engel is being attacked by his opponent for “not showing up.” “It’s completely ridiculous and reprehensible,” commented Watson. “For one thing, Mr. Bowman only became a Democrat in 2018 when he was deciding to run for Congress. He missed many elections. He didn’t vote for president in 2012, and didn’t vote in the New York primary in 2016. In political terms, that’s certainly absent.” Watson continued, “Secondly, Congressman Engel is well known for showing up everywhere. He is a constant presence at local political events, rallies, activist gatherings, church and synagogue dinners, Cub Scout ceremonies and Little League games. If Mr. Bowman had bothered to attend any of those community gatherings at any point over the last decade, he would be aware of that. During the early part of the pandemic, Congressman Engel was on the legislative frontlines in Washington fighting for additional resources for New York including an extra $5 billion for hospitals. Saying that he’s ‘absent’ is the opposite of the truth.”
The Congressman is a Bronx native, raised in a city housing project, and attended New York City public schools. He became a teacher and guidance counselor in the school system. From 1977-1988, he served in the NYS Assembly, where he chaired the Committee on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, and the Subcommittee on Mitchell-Lama Housing.
Congressman Engel says often, “Voting is our most important responsibility as citizens. Yes, these are difficult times, but Democrats can and should get out and vote in the primary, safely in person or by absentee ballot.” Democrats who received mail-in ballots have until Tuesday, June 23 to return them. Early voting is available at select locations until Monday. With many voting options, fewer polling stations are open. In-person voters are advised to check if their assigned voting location has moved.