Fresh off the house floor, where he voted against cutting $4 billion in federal spending (an opinion that he was in the minority on, which permitted the government to continue operating for at least another few weeks), Congressman Ed Towns phoned The Politicker to explain why someone who has logged three decades in Congress is making a run for district leader.
“It’s something that has been in the Towns family for 40 years,” he said. “It’s another way we can improve that corner of the community.”
When asked how serving in a volunteer position with no resources will enable Towns to serve the community better than simply being a United States Congressman, Towns noted that serving as a district leader will enable him to help pick candidates for elective office, who could then serve the community better.
He disputed the allegation that he was running to get an ally a judgeship–although he did, unprompted, say that Betty Williams, who some have suspected as being the reason why Towns is seeking the seat, is long past overdue in getting a judicial promotion.
Towns is seen by many Brooklyn reformers as the one local political figure with enough support in a broad spectrum of the borough to topple party boss Vito Lopez.
Towns said however that he has no interest in becoming county leader.
“I was offered that 20 years ago and I turned it down and I would turn it down now,” he said. “I am not interested.”
Towns said that he reached out to Lopez last week to notify him of his plans. They spoke briefly, and Lopez told him that he would get back to him. Towns said he has not yet heard from the county leader.
“I think he might have been a little bit shocked that I was considering this.”
The congressman said that as a district leader he would work to reform the county committees. Currently county committees slots require a certain threshold of signatures within a given electoral district, and many of the seats go unoccupied. In Towns’ area, the majority of the seats are held by loyalist to Lopez.
Towns noted that a member of Congress serving as district leader is not unusual, saying that Charlie Rangel once did, and noting that Queens Congressman Joe Crowley is also the head of the Democratic Party there.
He expressed surprise at the news however that the Dilan is considering putting himself forward as a district leader as well. Towns said he supported Dilan if he wanted to run for the Assembly, but would withdraw that support if Dilan wanted the district leader seat.
Towns said that although Darryl’s wife, Karen Boykin-Towns, was not interested in running for office, his own daughter, Deidra Towns, may be.
“I am not sure what she would want to do,” he said. “As it stands at this point, we are so focused on this district leader thing, and then we will look at other pieces.”