Rangel views NW Bronx as natural part of district
By Shant Shahrigian
He’s a DeWitt Clinton graduate, a longtime supporter of working-class causes and a friend of other federal officials throughout New York City. But is Rep. Charles Rangel Bronx enough for Kingsbridge, Kingsbridge Heights, Van Cortlandt Village, Bedford Park and Norwood?
If constituents vote along ethnic lines, the question will be moot. Mr. Rangel’s current leading challenger, state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, nearly won the Democratic primary in 2012. The senator even earned a narrow majority of votes in the Bronx part of the 13th congressional district, which is largely Latino.
Still, during a Monday interview held before this year’s Tuesday, June 24 primary, Mr. Rangel counted the ways he loves the Bronx.
“I feel that the Bronx is really a political and social and economic extension of my present district,” the congressman said at his seventh-floor office in Harlem’s Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building.
“I am so pleased that I’m very well received,” he continued. “Every meeting that I have had and continue to have, it’s a new beginning as they feel that their stars are attached to Manhattan and Harlem and west Manhattan and el Barrio.”
Asked what he has delivered over the past two years to the Bronx part of his district, which mostly lies in Upper Manhattan, Mr. Rangel said he has regularly sponsored career and health events featuring officials from Washington, D.C. in this borough.
Mr. Rangel also said the benefits of the Affordable Care Act extend to the Bronx as much as to the rest of his district. He has pointed out that the first draft of the legislation came out of the House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee while he was still its chair.
“If I had to think of one of the most historic accomplishments I’ve had, it is the concept of affordable health care for everybody,” he said.
Asked about a recent major report that ranked the Bronx as the least healthy county in the state, Mr. Rangel said, “There was a time that Harlem was right down there with the situation you described in the Bronx… We’ve got a track record in our delegation of working out these problems.”