Is that change on the horizon? New York’s 17 Congressional District seat is up for grabs and Mondaire Jones is trying to take it.
Jones is a Stanford University and Harvard Law School graduate who formerly worked at the Department of Justice under the Obama Administration. And now, he’s running for Congress. Alongside fellow New York Democrat Ritchie Torres, Jones is one of two men who could be the first openly gay black man elected to the U.S. Congress.
According to NBC News, it’s Jones’ experience working under the Obama administration that has led to his aggressive political persona and perspective. He shares that seeing judicial recommendations knocked down by Republicans repeatedly led to his view that aggressive policy-making is necessary.
“Respectfully, we were not fighting hard enough,” he said.
He then noted how Democrats changed policy so that the Senate could confirm judges by a majority vote. This is the type of creative and assertive policymaking he hopes to pursue.
“I think that should have been done at the very beginning of the administration when it was clear that Republicans were not going to engage in reasonable behavior,” Jones added. “I think there was this naïveté, not felt by myself, but certainly naïveté among certain decision makers early on in the Obama presidency,” Jones said.
“In broad strokes, my generation recognizes that in 2021, when I hope to take office, we need to bring an energy to the role of Congress member and president of the United States that is that of a fire,” he added. “Someone who is going to fight tooth and nail for the things we say we believe in as the Democratic Party.”
But what are his specific political goals? Jones is running on the commitment to work on Financial Freedom (Student Debt Relief, Medicare for All, $15 Minimum Wage, and Universal Childcare); Climate Action (Green New Deal); Social Justice (Reproductive Justice, Humane, Immigration Policy, Criminal Justice Reform, LGBTQ+ Rights, Campaign Finance Reform, and Funding for Public Schools); and National Security (Impeachment, End Gun Violence, and an Iran Nuclear Deal).
But that’s getting ahead of himself. First, Jones’ campaign has to win. Jones says he’s focusing on the uphill climb that is his political race. He is currently competing against five others. This includes incumbent Nita Lowey, NARAL Pro-Choice America leader Allison Fine, Assemblymember David Buchwald, state Sen. David Carlucci and former Department of Defense official Evelyn Farkas.
For now, Jones needs to focus on the June 23 primary in 2020. It’s believed that whoever wins the primary will most likely win the general election. So for now, Jones has to buckle down and get his name out there.
We’ll see what happens next Summer.