Williams peddles beltway experience in 5-way race
By Adam Wisnieski
Clyde Williams knows Washington, D.C.
He grew up in the nation’s capital, began his career in politics there, worked for two presidents and now wants to return as a Congressman representing Upper Manhattan and the Bronx, including Kingsbridge, Kingsbridge Heights and Van Cortlandt Village.
Mr. Williams, 50, is taking on longtime incumbent Rep. Charles Rangel for Congressional District 13. State Sen. Adriano Espaillat and Craig Scheg, Manhattan activist Joyce Johnson are also vying for the seat.
The Democratic primary will be held on Tuesday, June 26.
In a recent interview at the Riverdale Diner in Kingsbridge, Mr. Williams told The Riverdale Press he’s the most qualified for the job because he knows how Washington, D.C. works and because his relationships in the nation’s capital will help him be the most effective of the candidates.
“From my vantage point, I’m the only person who’s running against Charlie Rangel who’s actually worked in Washington, D.C. I’m the only person who’s running who worked for two presidents,” he said.
Mr. Williams served as the deputy chief of staff for the U.S. Department of Agriculture during the Clinton Administration, founded the Harlem Small Business Alliance while working for President Bill Clinton’s foundation and most recently served as national political director of the Democratic National Committee. His wife, Mona Sutphen, also has an impressive D.C. resume that includes working as White House Deputy Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama.
As for what would make him a better congressman than Mr. Rangel, who has worked in D.C. for four decades, he said he has a new way of approaching the job.
“I believe there comes a time when you need new energy, new ideas and a new way of actually conducting government,” he said.
Mr. Williams said he used to pass the White House on his 90-minute commute across Washington, D.C. to attend a better high school than his local one, something his mother insisted on. He said the school opened a new world that allowed him to see possibilities he would not have otherwise.