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'Powerful Advocate for a Progressive Agenda': Sanders Endorses Jamaal Bowman's Bid to Unseat Hawkish Democrat Eliot Engel

"Jamaal understands that low-income families are locked out of opportunity and a decent life due to a system that is rigged to benefit the wealthy."

"In Congress, he will lead the fight for investing in our public schools, ending mass incarceration, and addressing the housing crisis," Sen. Bernie Sanders said of progressive challenger Jamaal Bowman. (Photo: Jamaal Bowman/Facebook)

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday endorsed former New York public school principal Jamaal Bowman's bid to unseat 16-term incumbent Democrat Rep. Eliot Engel, calling the challenger "someone we can trust to be a powerful advocate for a progressive agenda in Congress."

"Jamaal understands that low-income families are locked out of opportunity and a decent life due to a system that is rigged to benefit the wealthy," Sanders wrote in an email announcing his support for Bowman and five other progressive congressional candidates. "In Congress, he will lead the fight for investing in our public schools, ending mass incarceration, and addressing the housing crisis."

Sanders' endorsement could bring Bowman a significant boost in small-dollar donations with exactly two weeks to go before New York's congressional primary on June 23. Bowman, who is running on a platform that includes Medicare for All and a Green New Deal, thanked the Vermont senator for his support in a tweet on Tuesday.

"I'm honored to have the endorsement of Bernie Sanders, someone who has been fighting for civil rights, racial and economic justice, and on behalf of working people for his entire life," Bowman wrote. "He led the way for the kind of campaign we're running: grassroots and no corporate donations."

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Bowman has repeatedly lambasted Engel—the chairman of the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee—for his reliance on big donations from the arms industry and his hawkish foreign policy record, including his support for the Bush administration's invasion of Iraq in 2003.

"My opponent accepts donations from corporations and arms manufacturers like Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon," Bowman's website states. "He supports a hawkish and costly foreign policy agenda instead of focusing on the communities in our district that have been neglected for far too long."

The Intercept's Akela Lacy reported last month that while Engel's campaign is far better funded than Bowman's, the challenger "has generated grassroots energy in the district and around the country, and racked up more than 40 endorsements, including from leading national progressive groups like Justice Democrats and the Sunrise Movement."

Last Thursday, as Common Dreams reported, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) also threw her support behind Bowman.

"Jamaal has dedicated the last decade of his life serving his community as a school principal and community servant," Ocasio-Cortez wrote. "Not only is Jamaal a profound community leader, but I believe he'd make a fantastic colleague in the United States House of Representatives."

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