Marxe grad announces congressional bid and plans to fight for CUNY issues
Isaiah James, a student at Baruch College’s Marxe School of Public and International Affairs, has decided to take his political matters personal.
He’s running for Congress in New York’s 9th Congressional district.
James is a self-described “aggressive-progressive” and has pledged to run a grass-roots campaign, taking no money from corporations or PACs.
Instead, James wants his campaign to be funded by the people he’s going to serve.
James grew up in Riviera Beach, Florida, with his family and lived there until he was 17.
Politics were far from his mind, while he was focusing on getting to college.
James realized the only path for him to go to college was to join the United States Army.
After being stationed in Georgia, Texas, Kentucky and Germany, and serving three combat tours — two in Iraq, one in Afghanistan — he was injured and deemed unfit to serve.
Following his father’s footsteps, James moved to Brooklyn and attended Brooklyn College, where he graduated with a BA in political science.
Three months after graduating from Brooklyn College, James began attending Baruch College, where he is currently finishing his masters in public administration at the Marxe School.
James is a full-time graduate student, who is also organizing a congressional campaign.
Although he said it’s difficult, James emphasized, “We all have the same 24 hours in a day. It just matters what you do with it. Major corporations and companies don’t stop, so I don’t stop.”
New York’s 9th Congressional district is definitely under the public eye more than most districts in Congress.
Not only was it the district of Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman in Congress, but also Chuck Schumer, and the infamous Anthony Weiner.
James feels as though the problems facing this all-Brooklyn district are not getting better.
The incumbent Congresswoman Yvette Clarke has been in office for 12 years, and has shown incompetence.
Her record is democratic, but her funding tells a different story.
She’s received millions from corporations and PACS — political action committees — and little to no funding from her constituents.
James expressed his frustrations saying, “Shirley Chisholm’s motto was ‘Unbought and Unbossed.’ I don’t know if she’s bossed, but my member of congress now is clearly bought.”
James’ concerns are ideally those of a logical, elected official: affordable housing, addressing homelessness, and getting money out of politics.
He explained, “When you get big money out of politics, then the only people who donate to you are your constituents. We need to convert politics back to serving the people. When you serve the people, then you take care of the issues that are personal to them.”
The 9th district is majority working-class people, yet the district’s congresswoman is a corporate democrat.
She gets millions of dollars donated by corporations from around the country, like the American Gas Association.
“You can’t do both,” James pointed out. “We can only have one master. Either you are serving corporations or your people. There is no room for double-dipping politics in the 9th District.”
CUNY means a lot to James, and according to him, he knows he will fight for more funding from the city when he is elected.
The congressional candidate emphasized the fact that his incumbent has been quiet about CUNY funding, while Brooklyn College and Medgar Evers College are both in the 9th district.
Not only did James get his BA from Brooklyn College, and is currently attending Baruch, but his wife also attended Brooklyn College and got her masters from Hunter College.
New York City’s budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year is almost $90 billion — the NYPD received $5.6 billion, while CUNY only received $800 million.
“If the CUNY budget even increased to $1 billion, there would be more scholarships and adjuncts would be payed a living wage,” James said.
He also wants to advocate for CUNY to become 100 percent tuition free, as it was in the past.
“Charging people to learn is immoral,” James explained.
“The cure for cancer is in some kid’s mind in Flatbush right now, but we’ll never get it, because they can’t afford to go to school.”
James continued, saying he decided to run a campaign for no one except his constituents, because he is a constituent himself.