The Congressional and State Senate Democratic primary is Tuesday, August 23rd.
theLoop has asked a series of questions of the three leading candidates for the Congressional seat in New York’s new 16th Congressional District *: Westchester County Legislator Catherine Parker, Westchester County Legislator Vedat Gashi, and Jamaal Bowman.
In the first of the series, we spoke with Westchester County Legislator Catherine Parker.
Absentee ballot applications can be picked up and turned in at the Westchester County Board of Elections now through August 22nd. Early voting continues through Sunday, August 21st. Click here for times and locations across Westchester.
Click here to watch a recap of Indivisible Westchester’s NY-16 candidate forum.
Interview with Catherine Parker:
1) You are running for Congress in the new 16th CD, in a Democratic Primary against an incumbent. Why do you think you can do a better job than Rep. Bowman?
I have 7 times the elected experience as the next candidate in this race, including the incumbent. As a County Legislator for the last 9 years (and city council member for 6 years prior), representing 62,000 people in the district, I have a bonafide track record of delivering results for residents. That success comes from constantly being accessible to constituents, and maintaining a flow of information and opportunity to municipalities in district. One of the main responsibilities as an elected representative is to vote as their constituents would want to vote in order to have their values represented in Washington.
Rep. Bowman’s vote against the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act as his constituents were dealing with major flood events was disappointing and his votes opposing the Abraham Accords and the safety and security of Israel were disrespectful to a large population of residents and voters in the district. Voting not with constituents’ values, but Rep Lee Zeldin’s against aid to Ukraine has been another vote that has earned him this primary.
2) In terms of fundraising, you are behind both Bowman and Legislator Vedat Gashi. Does this concern you?
We have met every fundraising goal our campaign has set since I announced! In the two months since the district lines were finalized, a benchmark poll has our campaign outperforming Gashi (who has been campaigning since March) on an informed ballot. Looking back at 2020, Bowman was outspent and still won against a long-serving incumbent back and had a blue wave to carry him. This year is no different. We also only have to look back to 2020 to see that in the other congressional race in Westchester those that were from outside of the District and were able to raise millions lost badly because they had no base. Gashi should take note. Holding incumbents accountable for their votes and inaction is what voters are looking to do, and I believe I am the best candidate to represent them in Washington.
3) In terms of the issues, what is the first thing you will do as an elected Member of Congress?
There are a couple of very timely issues that must be ushered across the finish line but as we all know nothing happens quickly in Congress. I’ve always been pragmatic about what we can accomplish, so beyond pushing for the codification of Roe and protecting women’s rights in our constitution through shepherding the Equal Rights Amendment across the President’s desk, I’m looking to partner with colleagues on common sense legislation like HR1 (Voting Rights), HR8 (Gun Safety), and HR332 (Green New Deal). I’ll also immediately look for opportunities to fund investments in our infrastructure and flood mitigation projects for all of our communities that have suffered from severe flooding and aging infrastructure. I believe these packages of bills not only point us in the right direction of progress and prosperity but also have components that could be pulled out separately and supported to create some incremental change.
4) The Bowman campaign claims that some of your messages about him were false, for example, your campaign claims he voted against SALT, when in fact he voted in favor. What is your response to that?
Speaking of falsehoods against a candidate, for one of my opponents to call me antichoice when I have a long record of Planned Parenthood endorsements is truly despicable. Your question regarding Rep Bowman – he did in fact vote for the cap on SALT tax deductions to be reinstated in the Build Back Better Act. There were three roll call votes on HR 5376, the first of which he voted ‘NAY’ and the second two he voted ‘YEA’ on November 19, 2021. There has been considerable confusion on where the DSA (Democratic Socialists of America) sit on this issue. Where there is no confusion is I hear from constituents almost daily that reinstating the full SALT tax deduction would be a huge relief to many families in the district.
- The 16th district includes the northern Bronx and the southern half of Westchester County, including Larchmont and Mamaroneck and the suburban cities of Mount Vernon, Yonkers, New Rochelle, and Rye. It also includes the New York City neighborhood of Co-op City.
A reminder: Absentee ballot applications can be picked up and turned in at the Westchester County Board of Elections now through August 22nd. Early voting continues through Sunday, August 21st. Click here for times and locations across Westchester.