NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The final tally for New York’s Congressional primaries may not be known for weeks, but one thing is certain: there will be a change in the delegation the state sends to Washington — a change in priorities.
Mondaire Jones is the new face of change in the New York Congressional Delegation. With 60% of the vote in a multi-candidate field, the Harvard Law School graduate is on track to replace retiring Westchester Congresswoman Nita Lowey. In doing so, he’d become the nation’s first black and gay congressman.
“I think what we’re seeing in New York state politics in particular is a large wing of the party saying business as usual is unacceptable,” Jones told CBS2’s Marcia Kramer.
Jones said his priorities are different. Lowey was the powerful chair of the House Appropriations Committee. He wants to serve on the Transportation and Climate Change committees.
“We need a green new deal. We have to decarbonize our economy in order to save the planet,” Jones said.
His expected victory is just the start. Progressive Jamaal Bowman is well on his way to unseating House Foreign Relations Chair Eliot Engel.
“It feels good to be up by this much, but we still gotta count the absentee ballots,” Bowman said.
City Councilman Ritchie Torres is leading in the multi-candidate race to replace retiring Jose Serrano, the longest-serving Hispanic in Congress.
Political pundits say they expect the new crop of congressmen to have new priorities reflecting a new generation. Some worry, however, about the effect the loss of seniority and how it will impact New York.
Baruch College professor David Birdsell told Kramer the focus of the delegation will change, no longer fixating on real estate and the financial sector.
“More investment in public health, potentially more investment in public education, potentially more investment in infrastructure,” Birdsell said.
One person who stands to gain is Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who won her own primary commandingly and backed both Jones and Bowman.
Birdsell said that will make her one of the most visible faces in Washington and a force to be reckoned with.