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Amsterdam News endorses Meeks, Velazquez, Barron, Rangel for congressional election

ELINOR TATUM Publisher and Editor in Chief | 6/7/2012, 2:37 p.m.

Both Hakeem Jeffries and Charles Barron have been endorsed by the Amsterdam News in the past for various positions. Both are extremely capable and both would do well by the constituents of the 8th District. Ideally, we would love a candidate who has the fire and soul of Barron and the practicality and affable nature of Jeffries. But we must only choose one.

Barron embodies the soul of the community. He has been on the front lines fighting for the needs and the hopes of the people. It has not always a smooth ride; Barron can be both arrogant and stubborn, but those qualities are what has made him the successful freedom fighter he is.

Jeffries is more moderate and more palatable to some, but at this point, this seat needs fire--someone who might just take Washington by its ear and make it listen. We need attention brought to our communities, and a leader who will do that is Barron. He has delivered for his community, bringing affordable housing, new school buildings and renovating parks. He has helped bring millions of dollars to CUNY and has learned how to be a coalition builder in the City Council. He has taken difficult positions and has been the lone council member to vote against city budgets. He understands the budgeting process and all of the holes and hidden agendas within them. He will bring a new type of fight to Washington and that is why we endorse Charles Barron for the 8th Congressional District.

13th Congressional District: Charles B. Rangel

Rep. Charles B. Rangel has represented Harlem for over 40 years. His leadership in Congress created the Empowerment Zone legislation that led to the revitalization of inner-city communities all over the country. He has delivered for New York time and time again. His leadership helped facilitate bipartisan support for the first minimum wage hike in over a decade. He fought for the expansion of the earned income tax credit and spearheaded programs that subsidized the employment of hundreds of thousands of youth, veterans and ex-offenders by providing tax incentives to employers. He has supported and secured funding for major hospital and health center expansion and construction as well as securing an addition $400 million in Medicare payments to local hospitals.

Rangel has worked across the aisle for decades and understands how the other side works. He understands what they are trying to do to our communities and believes it is not time for him to leave the fight, but to lead the charge.

While he has several opponents in the race, the one who has gotten the most press of late is Adriano Espaillat. Espaillat did not even bother to respond to the Amsterdam News' endorsement meeting announcement. Maybe he believes the Black community is not one he needs to reach out to in representing the newly constituted district.

Joyce Johnson also sat with the editorial board, and while we applaud her political experience as a district leader, the editorial board felt her lean track record in elective office left her lacking as a candidate for the seat.

Clyde Williams, who is making his debut running for political office, did come to the endorsement meeting, and made a very powerful presentation. His experience in government and political pedigree is impressive, but we believe he needs to get reacquainted with the community --he has only recently moved back to the district--before he can think of representing it. He has good ideas and good connections, but no experience as an elected official.

We look forward to seeing Williams in the future, but for today, Rangel is still the man we want to see representing the newly created 13th Congressional District. That is why we endorse Charles B. Rangel for Congress.