Thursday, October 06, 2022

There is a critical Democratic primary on August 23, 2022 in New York’s 16th Congressional District, a district which includes Scarsdale, New Rochelle, White Plains and much of the rest of Westchester County. The incumbent, Jamaal Bowman, has a poor record of constituent service, takes positions which are antithetical to the pro-Israel supporters in the 16th CD, and faces several challengers, chief among them (according to the New York Post and others) Vedat Gashi, whose promise is great, whose support for Israel is strong and who has the potential to be a very effective and influential Congressman for all the residents of the 16th CD.

Gashi’s story is an American success story. He is a lawyer and a Westchester County legislator. He came to the United States as a child with his parents, who were fleeing the oppressive regime in Kosovo. He believes in the promise of America, and his commitment to public service reflects that belief. He is a centrist Democrat, adept at building bridges between people and communities and in delivering services to those people and communities. He has been endorsed by many local public servants including Assemblywoman Amy Paulin; Catherine Borgia, chair of the Westchester County Legislature (where Mr. Gashi serves as chair of the Budget and Appropriations Committee); Mayor Mike Spano of Yonkers (New York’s third largest city, and part of the 16th CD); and Alfreda Williams, an influential leader in the Black community.

Gashi is challenging first-term Congressman Bowman who, in his short time in Congress, seems more intent on currying favor with the Democratic Socialists of America and the “Squad” (Reps. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Cori Bush) than in serving his Westchester constituents. Bowman, for reasons which are as inexcusable as they are inexplicable, was one of only six Democrats in the House who voted against the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, an act that will bring billions of dollars of federal funds to New York State and support many infrastructure initiatives in Westchester.

Bowman also voted against increasing funding for the Capitol police in the wake of the January 6 riots; voted against the National Defense Authorization Act; was vocal in his opposition to the Israel Relations Normalization Act, which endorsed the Abraham Accords, which endeavored to promote peace and economic development across the Mideast, and which had more than 330 co-sponsors (Republicans and Democrats) in the House; opposed the selling of precision-guided weapons to Israel in the wake of Israel’s defensive actions against Gaza in 2021; and joined some of his fellow Squad members in co-sponsoring a resolution in the House which would have given U.S. recognition to the Nakba, the Palestinian term for “catastrophe” and used by some Palestinians to describe the exodus of Palestinian Arabs in the wake of the founding of the modern state of Israel.

This paper has already published an article by a supporter of another one of Bowman’s challengers, Catherine Parker. The article failed to mention that Gashi has raised more than twice as much money as Parker, has a professional campaign staff and organization that was working to get out the vote for months before Parker entered the race, and that Parker, as a Johnny-come-lately, risks splitting the vote and sending Bowman back to Capitol Hill.

It is time for the 16th Congressional District to unite behind one candidate who can send Bowman home. It is time to have a representative who reflects the views of his constituents. It is time to elect Vedat Gashi as the next congressman in New York’s 16th Congressional District.

Harold Aspis
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