While we have been isolating in our homes, grieving for lost loved ones, and learning how to support our community in new and creative ways, our Congressional Representative Eliot Engel has not been here. At all. According to The Atlantic, it’s because Engel has been at his home in Potomac, Maryland, since late March — and has lied about being here in New York. He even falsely advertised that he would be participating in food giveaways organized to support our community. It’s disappointing, concerning, and in my opinion, unacceptable.

I was born in White Plains Hospital and attended Scarsdale Schools. I am now a New York City Public Schools teacher, and intimately understand what families and communities are going through right now. Our dedicated and caring neighborhood deserves a representative who will be here and help protect us.

In my view, that leader is Jamaal Bowman. Jamaal, an educator like me, has been doing everything Engel has not. As a former middle school principal in the Bronx, Jamaal is a hopeful and caring presence at community events, handing out food and providing emotional support to friends and neighbors. Anyone who has gotten a campaign call from Bowman knows that the first questions asked are, “How are you and your family?” and “Are you in need of support?” and “What services can we help connect you with?” Not even elected yet, Bowman is already a more active representative to our community than our current representative.

As more friends and family lose their jobs, more of our kids struggle to keep up with remote learning, and our nurses and doctors are asked to do impossible jobs without proper PPE, we need an elected representative that is here for our communities — and understands the struggles we are actually facing. In the upcoming June primary, I urge you to vote for Jamaal and ensure our voice is finally heard.

MELANIE FLAXER

Greenacres Avenue

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