Aggressive and Confrontational. That is what some Republicans have called democratic New York congressman Jamaal Bowman. He says he’s passionate and dedicated. Tonight, the Congressman joins us to discuss his controversial approach to governing and tackle the issues affecting New Yorkers.

Aired on May 22, 2023


Good evening and welcome to 'MetroFocus.'

Jamaal Bowman is still relatively new to capitol help but that has not stopped him from advocating for the issues he cares most about.

The second term Democrat has been somewhat confrontational in his aggressive message and pushing back on certain Republicans and Trumpism.

One of the more notable examples of this on for six weeks ago after six were killed in a school shooting in Nashville.

This former middle school principal pulp GOP to step up on gun safety.

That is when Thomas Massie walked by and this happened.

In a school that allows teachers to carry.

Would you cosponsor my bill?


Every school that allows teachers to carry --

I was the Moscow principal.

That was a middle school principal.

Jack: He joins us now for more on the gun safety debate and other major issues.

We welcome Congressman Bowman.

He represents the 16th district.

Nice to have you back.

Let's start with the question of guns and gun safety.

I mentioned -- you have a particular perspective on this is someone who was a principal of the middle school and did crisis intervention early in your career.

Where do you hear the suggestion that a part of a solution could be to train and arm teachers and administrators?? What you think about that?

Rep. Bowman: It is infuriating.

That suggestion is coming from individuals and groups who have never worked in a school building.

We built a school to educate.

We have to design curriculum, write lesson plans, grade papers, build relationships with families and students.

Add on top of that the trading -- training and carrying of a gun to use in case of a mass shooting is to be preposterous, especially when we are avoiding having, reform legislation that the American people support.

The American people support a ban on assault rifles.

They support universal state storage in universal red flag laws.

It is asinine to suggest that we need to arm teachers before doing any of those other things.

I would just at one point, the issue of gun safety is not just about mass shootings, which are horrific and we have to do something about that today.

It is also the issue of gun trafficking into our most vulnerable communities that kill people on the deed today basis.

Urgent action is needed.

That one suggestion is not going to guess where we need to go.

Jack: You are a passionate voice in the people's house in Washington, D.C.

What would you say to a supporter, someone who believes in the same issues you believe in?

This that -- does that aggressive conversation help get us to a table where we can find common ground?

Rep. Bowman: We should all be passionate about our children being help.

Guns -- being killed.

Guns are the number one killer of children in America.

44% of America's population of the world and 40% of the guns.

We should all be passionate about our children, all be passionate about such violence.

And a democracy cannot work without passionate dialogue and debate so that we can get a better understanding of each other and we toward solutions.

After that engagement with Representative Massey, we received hundreds of calls from all over the country from people thanking us, thanking us for showing outrage, thanking us for showing passion.

The main problem is what we are somewhat more concerned with decorum, children are dying.

Children are hungry.

People cannot afford housing or childcare or groceries.

Part of my passion comes from my frustration being here for a couple of years and watching my colleagues being more responsive to corporate and wealthy interests then to the American people.

That is unacceptable.

Jack: Let's get to a couple of other issues.

Very much in the news lately has been the death of Jordan Neely, a man who experienced homelessness and mental turmoil, Kenzie subsequent charging of Daniel Penny, former Marine, who had a miniature :00.

-- who had him in a choke lock.

Rep. Bowman: This is a systemic failure.

The city, state and federal government failed because we have defended mental health supports and housing and support for those who are most vulnerable in our society over several decades.

We do not have the resources to respond accordingly.

That is why Jordan Newman died on that train and was screaming about being hungry and thirsty.

His willingness to go to jail because so often people like him only get housing and food and stability in our prison system.

The problem is they do not also get care.

That is one reason why we continue to have recidivism in our system.

You have heard and any have heard -- to me, that points less to him being a lifelong criminal -- if he is arrested that the times, they were probably minor offenses -- and points it more to the lack of care for reentry and helping people to be stabilized.

The city, it seems the district attorney took a few days to consider all the evidence before deciding to make an arrest here.

And the jury will decide... if any.

And I have lived in New York for many years and have seen many people in distress.

What we have heard from witnesses on that train is that Mr. Neely did not make any threatening gestures or remarks or even touch anyone.

For him to be choked and killed seems excessive, but the jury will decide on what direction they want to go.

Jack: It will all play out within a court.

The jury will see all of the facts.

But there are significant systemic problems illustrated by the situation.

And let's talk about the migrant crisis.

It does not just affect those along the borders but all of this nation.

New York City, we have seen the influx of thousands of people and the question is how can they be housed?

What are the processes that need to be done here?

How do you think the federal government is doing?

Let's focus in New York City and New York State.

Rep. Bowman: We need more money, more resources in New York City and New York State to provide housing, health care, education, and care for the migrants that are coming here.

We are a nation of immigrants.

We have always opened our doors to asylum-seekers.

We need to be clear that people are seeking asylum here because they are in danger before their lives in their home countries.

That goes way back to a lot of the decisions by the U.S. and other Western nations that have harm Central and South America over the decades.

We need more resources.

We need to describe it is the crisis as a humanitarian crisis, not a crisis of migrants.

We have always opened our doors to migrants coming in but now we have to take care of them.

It is also important to say that it is often characterized that migrants are bringing professional and crime, -- Sentinel and crime, but the majority of fentanyl is brought in by U.S. citizens.

We need more care.

This has been a system -- historic systemic failure.

Jack: With the debt ceiling discussion, I will say this is an independent, we find ourselves advancing with brinksmanship again, on the edge of a precipice.

Are you optimistic that something will get resolved in enough time to them and the danger of a default?

Rep. Bowman: I am optimistic.

I do not think Republicans are that crazy.

So I am optimistic.

However, I am very concerned.

We need to hear more from corporate America in speaking up and explaining the impact that a default would have on the global economy.

We are talking about trillions of dollars being impacted.

We are talking about loss of jobs, vulnerability, not just the loss of educator jobs, but law enforcement, veteran better events.

That would be catastrophic.

We have to pay our bills.

And we have to have honest conversations about this.

If Republicans supported equitable taxes or the wealthy and for large corporations, we could interview -- we could generate the revenue we need.

But they are just having a conversation about cats, even after a pandemic and an insurrection.

We have to pay our bills.

We have to make sure everybody contributes equitably to our economy.

Jack: And the issue of George Santos, we have seen that the matter was referred by the house to the House Ethics Committee.

There is more now.

There is the indictment percolating.

You satisfied with this process the ethics committee made their determination, the speaker McCarthy has asked them to do it in an expeditious fashion and then decide what the house should do?

Rep. Bowman: Republicans should have joined us in voting to expel George Santos.

They seemed more concerned about their party and his votes in support of speaker McCarthy then with the credibility of the U.S.


Right now, we are in a credibility crisis.

We are in a credibility crisis because many in the Senate do not trust us and they do not trust us because of what George Santos represents.

Expelling him shows the American people that we take governing and democracy seriously.

We will sue the ethics committee finds, but this hyper-partisanship has been in place and has intensified since President Trump.

It is dangerous and hurting us overall.

Jack: Always enjoy having you on . We look forward to talking with you again soon.

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