Rep. Mondaire Jones says Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney called to “apologize for not giving me a heads up” that he was going to run in New York’s redesigned 17th congressional district.
Jones announced his bid for New York’s 10th district after Maloney elected to run in the redrawn version of Jones’ current district. (The new 17th district includes Maloney’s home.)
Jones told reporters that Maloney had not informed him about his decision beforehand, which could have forced Jones into a primary against a fellow Democratic incumbent.
Did he accept that apology? Jones would not say ‘yes’ or ‘no.’
“So much happens in politics. People say all kinds of things - you should see what folks say on Twitter about any number of elected officials. I'm not distracted by nonsense,” he said.
Asked if he believes Maloney should remain chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, he said he did not have an opinion.
Jones is no stranger to Capitol Hill, but the communities he wants to represent starting next year are many miles away from his current district.
In the aftermath of New York’s redistricting debacle, the Rockland and Westchester County congressman is now running to represent the newly reconfigured 10th congressional district, which includes lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn.
In an interview with Spectrum News NY1, Jones said he plans to move to the 10th district, and is eager to prove his local bonafides.
“I attended my first Pride in New York's 10th congressional district. I have worked in New York's 10th congressional district. And I have loved in New York's 10th congressional district,” he said.
Jones previously clerked for a federal judge in New York’s South District court.
As one of the first two openly gay Black men in Congress, he said the communities in the redrawn 10th district played an instrumental role in his own self-acceptance.
“I would visit the West Village and see queer people, including queer people of color living authentic lives. And it gave me the courage to live my own authentic life,” he said.
His favorite restaurant in the district? Yuca in the East Village, he said. His favorite small business? Nuyorican Poets Cafe.
Jones said reigning in the cost of living will be one of his top legislative priorities for the new district. He touts his past work on that front, including protesting outside the U.S. Capitol to extend the federal eviction moratorium last year.
“I'm not just a bystander in Congress,” he said.
In the 10th district, Jones will be competing against a growing list of candidates, including Bill de Blasio.
Jones is already taking aim at the former mayor, saying he will have to answer for the rise in homelessness and the cost of living during his tenure at City Hall.
“He is someone who does not have a record of success in public office, whereas I do,” he said.