Current Position: US Representative for NY District 16 since 2021
Former Position(s): Educator from 2003 – 2020
Vice Chair, Committee on Education and Labor
I spent 20 years as an educator, seeing firsthand how transforming a child’s learning environment can unlock their full potential. The Green New Deal for Public Schools is about transforming our schools into cleaner spaces for our children and our planet.
Rep. Jamaal Bowman: We Need Climate & Racial Justice Addressed in Broader Infrastructure Package
The Week, – September 13, 2021
Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), who has previously referred to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) as “the new Mitch McConnell,” took aim at the West Virginia lawmaker once again Monday morning, this time for his refusal to back Democrats’ $3.5 trillion spending package at its current cost.
“When we talk about a sense of urgency, people are losing their lives and their livelihoods right now because our infrastructure is 100-years-old and climate change is here to stay,” said Bowman on CNN’s New Day, recalling the damage Hurricane Ida wrecked on his district and constituents. “So it’s important for Senator Manchin and others to understand people are dying everyday … and we have to go big right now in this moment. It’s now or never when it comes to infrastructure and climate change, and Hurricane Ida proved that to be true.”
When asked what happens if Manchin holds firm on his price tag concerns, Bowman reminded host John Berman that “we still have a couple of weeks to get this worked out,” adding that “it’s important for the American people to know that this is the Democratic agenda in terms of Democratic leadership.”
Source: Government page
Congressman Jamaal Bowman, Ed.D., represents New York’s 16th District, which includes the Northern Bronx and parts of Westchester County, including Yonkers, New Rochelle, and Mount Vernon. Bowman was born and raised in New York City, spending his early years in public housing and rent-controlled apartments. He was raised by his mother, who supported them with her post office worker’s salary. After graduating from the University of New Haven, Rep. Bowman began his career as a crisis intervention teacher in a Bronx public school and went on to earn a master’s degree in guidance counseling from Mercy College and a doctorate in education from Manhattanville College.
In 2009, Bowman founded Cornerstone Academy for Social Action, a Bronx middle school focused on unlocking the natural brilliance of all children through a holistic curriculum, where he served as principal for a decade. At CASA, Bowman worked to center students’ voices, cultural awareness, and love. He worked to ensure advanced student involvement in science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Bowman has also been an outspoken advocate for rethinking education, including ending state-sanctioned yearly standardized testing.
Bowman was elected to Congress in 2020, running on a platform of transformative progressive policies that will improve the lives of those who have been legislated out of the American dream. Congressman Bowman is dedicated to passing visionary policy that infuses climate justice with economic and racial justice, and to highlighting the importance of research and investing communities of color.
Bowman lives in Yonkers, New York, with his wife and children.
- Congressional Progressive Caucus
- Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus
Jamaal Anthony Bowman (born April 1, 1976) is an American politician and educator serving as the U.S. representative for New York’s 16th congressional district since 2021. The district covers much of the north Bronx, as well as the southern half of Westchester County, including Mount Vernon, New Rochelle and Bowman’s hometown of Yonkers.
Bowman is the founder and former principal of the Cornerstone Academy for Social Action, a public middle school in Eastchester, Bronx. He is a member of the Lower Hudson Valley chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. He defeated 16-term incumbent Eliot Engel in the 2020 Democratic primary.
Early life and education
Bowman was born in Manhattan, a borough of New York City. He lived with his grandmother in the East River Houses in East Harlem during the week and with his mother and sisters in Yorkville on weekends. His grandmother died when he was eight years old. At age 16, he moved with his family to Sayreville, New Jersey. He attended Sayreville War Memorial High School, where he played on the football team.
Bowman briefly attended Potomac State Junior College before earning a Bachelor of Arts in sports management from the University of New Haven in 1999. He played college football for the New Haven Chargers. Bowman later earned a Master of Arts in counseling from Mercy College and a Doctor of Education in educational leadership from Manhattanville College.
After earning his undergraduate degree, Bowman decided not to pursue a career in sports management. Upon the suggestion of a family friend who worked for the New York City Department of Education, Bowman began working as an educator. His first job was as a crisis management teacher in a South Bronx elementary school. In 2009, he founded Cornerstone Academy for Social Action, a public middle school in the Bronx.
Bowman became a leading advocate against standardized testing. His blog on the role of standardized testing has received national attention. He has written about high-stakes testing’s role in perpetuating inequalities, including the turnover, tumult, and vicious cycle it creates in students’ and educators’ lives, as assessment performance damages a school’s ability to teach and, subsequently, the quality of the education upon which the student is assessed. By the mid-2010s, a quarter of Bowman’s students had opted out of standardized testing. He also advocated for children to receive arts, history, and science education in addition to the basics of literacy and numeracy. Bowman’s school policy used a restorative justice model to address the school-to-prison pipeline. After ten years as principal, he left the job to focus on his congressional campaign.
U.S. House of Representatives
The Justice Democrats recruited Bowman to run for the United States House of Representatives in New York’s 16th congressional district, represented by 16-term incumbent Eliot Engel. Engel had served as a member of the House since 1989 and as chair of the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs since the first session of the 116th United States Congress. Bowman was inspired to run by the insurgent 2018 campaign of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and described his platform as “anti-poverty and anti-racist”, with support for housing, criminal justice reform, education, Medicare for All, and a Green New Deal. No Republican even filed, meaning that whoever won the Democratic primary would be essentially assured of victory in November. Registered Democrats in the district outnumber registered Republicans by more than four to one, meaning that any hypothetical Republican challenger would have faced nearly impossible odds in any case. With a Cook Partisan Voting Index of D+24, it is the ninth-most Democratic district covering a significant portion of New York City.
Bowman’s campaign criticized Engel’s record on foreign policy and response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bowman’s endorsements from the Sunrise Movement and the New York Working Families Party assisted with fundraising despite being well behind Engel. He was also endorsed by Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and the editorial board of The New York Times.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a large portion of ballots were cast absentee, but because of Bowman’s 26-point lead on election night, news outlets soon started referring to him as the presumptive Democratic nominee. On July 17, 2020, based on their analysis of the absentee ballot count, the Associated Press called the primary race for Bowman.
Bowman’s primary victory all but guaranteed he would win the general election due to the 16th’s heavily Democratic nature and the lack of Republican opposition. He won in a landslide, defeating Conservative nominee Patrick McManus with 84% of the vote.
Upon his swearing-in, Bowman joined The Squad, a group of progressive Democratic lawmakers. He was photographed alongside the four original Squad members and another new member, Cori Bush of Missouri’s 1st congressional district. He is the Squad’s first male member.
In January 2021, following the storming of the United States Capitol, Bowman introduced the Congressional Oversight of Unjust Policing Act (COUP Act) to establish a commission to investigate how United States Capitol Police handled the storming of the Capitol and to look at potential ties of some of its members to white nationalism. Bowman said that introducing the bill is “critical when you look at the disparity in terms of how the Capitol Police responded to the insurrection on Wednesday, versus how they responded to—not just [Black Lives Matter] protestors this summer, but other people of color, and people who are disabled, historically”. Such legislation came after both Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer called for the resignation of the Capitol Police chief.
On November 5, 2021, Bowman was one of six House Democrats to break with their party and vote against the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act because it did not include the Build Back Better Act.
- Committee on Education and Labor
- Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
- Congressional Black Caucus
- Congressional Progressive Caucus
- Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus
|Democratic||Eliot Engel (incumbent)||36,149||40.6|
|Democratic||Andom Ghebreghiorgis (withdrawn)||761||0.9|
Bowman lives with his wife, Melissa Oppenheimer, and their three children in Yonkers, New York. His wife was upset about his decision to run for office for “the first eleven months”, Bowman revealed on an episode of The Carlos Watson Show.
Bowman is a fan of New York hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan. He described hip-hop as a “culture that is created by teenagers who were forgotten about, and because they were forgotten about, they were forced to come together and create something beautiful”. Bowman drew inspiration from the Wu-Tang Clan during his underdog campaign, and has frequently been seen in a Wu-Tang Clan emblazoned face covering during the COVID-19 pandemic, which GQ noted allowed Bowman to send voters a message. In February 2021, Bowman’s mother died of complications related to COVID-19.
- Clark, Dartunorro (June 14, 2020). “‘Unapologetic’: This progressive NYC principal is fighting to unseat a 16-term Democrat”. NBC News. Archived from the original on June 14, 2020. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
- “Jamaal Anthony Bowman”. Retrieved March 27, 2021.
- Carp, Alex (June 17, 2020). “Jamaal Bowman Takes the Lead”. New York. Archived from the original on June 17, 2020. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
- Johnson, Stephon (December 8, 2016). “Jamaal Bowman stumbled into education and doesn’t regret it”. New York Amsterdam News. Archived from the original on June 15, 2020. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
- Tufaro, Greg (October 27, 1993). “Bowman practices what he preaches: Sayreville senior stars on defense”. The Central New Jersey Home News. p. C2. Archived from the original on June 21, 2020. Retrieved June 18, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
- “LCV Action Fund and New York LCV Endorse Jamaal Bowman for Congress”. League of Conservation Voters. Retrieved November 26, 2020.
- Konick Jr., Emery (July 22, 1998). “Clark anxious for gridiron return: Part of talented cast at U. of New Haven”. The Central New Jersey Home News. p. B5. Archived from the original on June 20, 2020. Retrieved June 18, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
- Woyton, Michael (June 18, 2020). “Jamaal Bowman: Candidate For NY Congressional District 16”. Bronxville-Eastchester, NY Patch. Archived from the original on June 19, 2020. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
- Tampio, Nicholas (2018). Common Core: National Education Standards and the Threat to Democracy. Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 157–159. ISBN 978-1-4214-2464-4. Archived from the original on June 27, 2020. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
- deMause, Neil (March 28, 2016). “Low-Income Parents Are Caught Between the Growing Opt-Out Movement and the City’s Attempts to Clamp Down on Dissent”. Village Voice. Archived from the original on June 15, 2020. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
- Sahlberg, Pasi; Doyle, William (2019). Let the Children Play: How More Play Will Save Our Schools and Help Children Thrive. Oxford University Press. pp. 169–170. ISBN 978-0-19-093216-9. Archived from the original on August 12, 2020. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
- Chávez, Aída; Lacy, Akela (June 18, 2019). “Hawkish Democrat Rep. Eliot Engel Is Facing Two Primary Challengers”. The Intercept. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
- Lacy, Akela (May 26, 2020). “At Debate, Progressive Jamaal Bowman Hits Israel Hawk Eliot Engel’s Defense Industry Backing”. The Intercept. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
- McKinley, Jesse (June 17, 2020). “Top Democrats Are Trying to Stop This Man From Becoming the Next A.O.C.” The New York Times. Archived from the original on June 17, 2020. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
- Cochrane, Emily (June 18, 2019). “Bronx Principal to Challenge Eliot Engel, Powerful House Democrat, From the Left”. The New York Times. Archived from the original on June 17, 2020. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
- McKinley, Jesse (July 17, 2020). “Jamaal Bowman, Progressive Insurgent, Defeats Eliot Engel in House Primary”. The New York Times. Archived from the original on July 17, 2020. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
- Lacy, Akela (June 1, 2020). “In Final Stretch, Progressives Coalesce Around a Single Challenger to Rep. Eliot Engel”. The Intercept. Archived from the original on June 13, 2020. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
- New York Times Editorial Board (June 12, 2020). “New York Voters Can Send Some Promising New Faces to Congress”. The New York Times. Archived from the original on June 19, 2020. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
- “Jamaal Bowman: Political newcomer shakes up NY ‘status quo’“. BBC. June 25, 2020. Archived from the original on July 14, 2020. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
- “New York Election results”. CNN. November 2020.
- @CoriBush (January 3, 2021). “Squad up” (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Hinman, Michael (January 8, 2021). “Bowman’s first bill in Congress? The COUP Act”. The Riverdale Press. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
- Voght, Kara (January 8, 2021). “Democrat Introduces Bill to Investigate If Capitol Police Have Ties to White Supremacist Groups”. Mother Jones. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
- Vallejo, Justin (January 8, 2021). “‘Failure of leadership’: Pelosi demands Capitol Hill police chief resign as House Sergeant at Arms steps down”. The Independent. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
- Annie Grayer. “These 6 House Democrats voted against the infrastructure bill. These 13 Republicans voted for it”. CNN. Retrieved November 6, 2021.
- “New York to Reap Billions of Dollars for Mass Transit in “Monumental” Infrastructure Bill”. November 6, 2021.
- “Jamaal Bowman Member Profile”. clerk.house.gov. Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives.
- “Congressional Black Caucus”. cbc.house.gov. Retrieved December 23, 2021.
- “Caucus Members”. US House of Representatives. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
- Almukhtar, Sarah; et al. (June 23, 2020). “Results: New York House District 16 primary election”. The New York Times. Archived from the original on July 4, 2020. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
- “2020 Election Results”. New York State Board of Elections. Retrieved December 3, 2020.
- “Maya’s Marvelous Walk in the Woods”. ECE PolicyWorks. September 4, 2017. Archived from the original on June 28, 2020. Retrieved June 28, 2020.
- The Carlos Watson Show (August 24, 2020). “Jamaal Bowman: Is He the Next AOC?”. YouTube. Retrieved January 26, 2021.
- Jada, Yuan (July 16, 2020). “How a middle school principal used the Ocasio-Cortez playbook against a 16-term incumbent”. The Washington Post. Archived from the original on July 20, 2020. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
- McGrady, Clyde (July 23, 2020). “Jamaal Bowman: ‘The police literally beat the crap out of me’“. Roll Call. Archived from the original on July 23, 2020. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
- Dunlea, Reed (July 2, 2020). “‘The First Time’ With Politician Jamaal Bowman”. Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on July 25, 2020. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
- Bort, Ryan (June 24, 2020). “Jamaal Bowman Is Just the Politician This Moment Needs”. Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on July 23, 2020. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
- Wolf, Cam (June 24, 2020). “Wu-Tang Clan, Washington Nationals, and Apple Emojis: Politicians Are Flexing the Mask’s Power”. GQ. Archived from the original on July 23, 2020. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
- Pitofsky, Marina (February 16, 2021). “Jamaal Bowman’s mother dies of COVID-19: ‘I share her legacy with all of you’“. TheHill. Retrieved August 11, 2021.
- Bowman, Jamaal (October 24, 2019). “If You Want to Call Me a Socialist Then Call Me a Socialist”. Jacobin. Archived from the original on June 15, 2020. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
- Veiga, Christina (June 18, 2019). “Jamaal Bowman, Bronx principal and vocal opt-out supporter, launches primary challenge for Congress”. Chalkbeat. Archived from the original on June 14, 2020. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
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- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
- Appearances on C-SPAN
Source: Government page
Congressman Bowman serves as the Vice Chair of the House Committee on Education and Labor in the 117th Congress.