BUCHANAN, N.Y. – Buchanan resident and vendor who foiled a terrorist plot in Times Square, Duane Jackson, says he will run against other Democratic congressional challengers to Nan Hayworth (R-Mount Kisco) in New York’s June Democratic primary. Jackson recently announced his candidacy and participated in a late-January debate in Peekskill, but has not filed official candidacy paperwork with the Federal Election Commission.
Jackson has been a street vendor in New York City for the last 20 years, hawking everything from scarves to watches to golf clubs. He is the man who alerted police to the smoking SUV in Times Square on May 1, 2010, which was later determined to be a bomb attempt.
In an interview Friday, the Navy veteran Jackson, said he envisioned himself as a candidate who “would bring different segments of the Hudson Valley together in a bipartisan way.” His website detailed some “issues that he champions,” a long list which includes “support of senior citizens,” “job creation,” and “energy independence.”
Jackson has had some experience in government, he says as a deputy director of New York City's Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) agency in Brooklyn, 1988-89, and as a planner for the New York City Department of Education from 1983 to 1988. He said his last position in government was not “a good fit,” and began his street vending business soon after.
The most well-funded candidates in the race are Dr. Richard Becker who has raised $228,477 according to Dec. 31 filings with the FEC, and incumbent Hayworth, who has raised close to $1.4 million. Until Jackson files paperwork with the FEC, there’s no way of knowing who his donors are, although he says he has raised “tens of thousands” of dollars through small business owners like himself and that his campaign “is right on the edge” of filing with the FEC.
According to FEC officials, candidates must file with the FEC after raising or spending $5,000, or else an official complaint can be filed with the FEC. Official complaints can results in remedial action being ordered by the FEC, or civil penalties.
Jackson’s website says if he were elected to Congress, he would support “federal government tightening its budget belt,” although he also said he would like to undertake infrastructure repairs to grow jobs. He also said he would support a 20-year re-licensing of Indian Point power plants.
Some of Jackson’s other platforms include reforming education by adding more days to the school year, and putting more technology in classrooms. He said he could not comment on the new teacher evaluation deal reached by the New York State Department of Education and New York teachers unions, or on the effect of New York State’s tax cap on school districts, because he has not had time to study it.
About the job Hayworth is doing, Jackson said, “I think quite frankly she’s too conservative for the district, I don’t think her conservative views are in line with the working class views of the district.”
Becker has already been endorsed by the Cortlandt Democratic Committee, and Matthew Alexander has been endorsed by the Poughkeepsie and Fishkill Democratic Committees. If Jackson is on the ballot, he will need to primary Becker for the Democratic endorsement for the 19th Congressional District in June. Some confusion remains about district lines, as New York State is losing two Congressional seats because population growth did not keep pace with other states.