Last Wednesday evening NYLCV hosted a virtual town hall with Congressman Jamaal Bowman of New York’s 16th congressional district. Participants were able to actively ask the Congressman questions throughout the event about clean energy; federal monies; and how the climate crisis is affecting areas of his district such as Co-op city in the Bronx, Yonkers, New Rochelle, Hastings on Hudson, and so much more.
Congressman Bowman made it clear: “Build Back Better is stalled right now. It is not dead. It is stalled.” He pointed to the necessity of the Build Back Better agenda citing recent climate and extreme weather catastrophes his district has faced. He specifically cited Hurricane Ida as one of the most obvious and devastating cases of extreme weather in his district.
On top of this, Bowman noted how such extreme weather occurrences compound with the public health crisis being fueled by air pollution. “As we talk about the impacts of the climate crisis it’s about the direct effect of the fossil fuel status quo that is literally killing people in my district,” said the Congressman.
When asked how the Build Back Better Agenda would benefit his district, Bowman responded “It’s going to help my district, it’s going to help the entire country. In my district that would be investments in public housing, investments in childcare, investments in homecare. It would be a gamechanger.”
He also notes how Build Back Better has equity measures infused in it. The Justice 40 initiative would require at least 40% of investments to be designated to disadvantaged communities. This will help address the disproportionate effects of dueling climate and public health crises that burden low income communities of color in the Congressman’s district.
Congressman Bowman made it clear: federal investments are essential not just for NY-16, but for communities across the country. While Build Back Better is currently stalled Congressman Bowman remains hopeful that we will get the climate legislation we need.
The full town hall is available to watch at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hc-8DdOVnY.
By Abby Terrigino