Three candidates challenge incumbent Yvette Clarke in District 9

Photo courtesy of The House of Representatives
On March 17, 2020, Congresswoman Yvette Clarke held a press conference on the East Front Steps of the Capitol with students and youth advocates to discuss benefits for young Americans in health insurance reform and the expansion of federal aid for college students.

Rep. Yvette Clarke is running for reelection in New York’s 9th Congressional District, which encompasses a large section of Brooklyn. Clarke represents the Democratic and Working Families Party and will be defending her seat against three challengers: Republican and Conservative Party candidate Constantine Jean-Pierre, Libertarian candidate Gary Popkin, and Serve America Movement Party candidate Joel Anabilah-Azumah.

Clarke has represented the district since 2013, however she has been serving in the House of Representatives since 2006. She originally represented New York’s 11th Congressional District, though after redistricting she was moved to the 9th district for the 2012 election. 

According to her House biography, Clarke served the 40th District from 2002-2006 as a member of New York’s City Council. She made history by succeeding her mother, Dr. Una S. T. Clarke who was a former City Council Member, as the first mother-daughter succession in City Council history. 

Clarke is currently the Vice Chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and is a member of the Homeland Security Committee. She is also co-chair of four caucuses: the Smart Cities Caucus, the Multicultural Media Caucus, the Black Women and Girls Caucus, and the Caribbean Caucus. She is also a part of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and the Congressional Black Caucus. 

According to Clarke’s campaign website, she is an advocate for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and has fought against its repeal. Clarke is also an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, DACA recipients, the Green New Deal, and much more. She  has shown her support of these causes by introducing legislation like the Opioid Action Plan (H.R. 5590), Affordable Housing and Area Median Income Fairness Act (H.R.4984), the ASPIRE Act, and many others.

She has also been a supporter of Planned Parenthood. According to her website, she also introduced a resolution “that would add Black Women’s Health Week to the roster of national health observances, in order to highlight the disparities that black women routinely experience across mortality rates post-childbirth and more.”

According to Jean-Pierre’s campaign website, he was born and raised in Brooklyn. He is an advocate for the standardization of healthcare, and for capping insulin prices. He also suggests providing “tax breaks for people who go to the gym or show other self-initiatives to improve health standards” though, it is unclear how this would be implemented. He also is an advocate for stronger borders and for financial education in schools.

Anabilah-Azumah does not have a campaign page listed, though he does have a campaign Facebook page. According to his Facebook page, he wants to improve health care in the U.S. by increasing “price transparency”. In a post on Oct. 25 he said, “You should be able to know what most routine procedures will cost you before you go to the hospital.” He is also against high taxes, pro-immigration, and opposes a large military “footprint” believing the U.S should withdraw all military presence in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. 

Popkins also does not have a campaign page, though, according to Vote411’s Voter Guide, Popkin believes the primary challenge facing the U.S. is “The nascent Marxist takeover of the U.S.” In order to combat the institutional racism in America, Popkins believes a good starting point is to expand school choices for, what he calls, African-American children attending failing and dangerous schools. He also aims to eliminate minimum-wage laws.

New York’s 9th Congressional District leans strongly to the left, with more than 331,000 active voters registered with the Democratic Party, which is nearly eleven times more than the just over 30,000 active voters registered as Republicans. Almost 70,000 active voters are independent. 

Early voting has already begun in New York state and will continue until Nov. 1.  Election Day is Nov. 3.