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Jamaal Bowman, George Latimer face off in intense debate for New York's 16th Congressional District

Jamaal Bowman, George Latimer face off in heated debate ahead of Democratic primary
Jamaal Bowman, George Latimer face off in heated debate ahead of Democratic primary 02:39

YONKERS, N.Y. -- Congressman Jamaal Bowman and Westchester County Executive George Latimer, who are squaring off in the Democratic primary in New York's 16th Congressional District, participated in a heated debate Wednesday night.

Early voting begins Saturday and runs through June 23. Election Day is June 25.

Bowman, Latimer clash over Washington, Israel-Hamas war

The pair clashed on many issues, including the future direction of Washington.

"We almost have another President Trump because of the lack of action from my opponent and so many others on these issues," Bowman said.

"We may have a President Trump because Jamaal is good at talking but not good at delivering," Latimer said.

A central flashpoint was the Israel-Hamas war.

"We should not be sending any more weapons at this time to Israel. They are engaged in collective punishment by killing mostly women, children and babies in Gaza," Bowman said.

"What the congressman fails to mention in all of this is the role that Hamas has played. It's not merely a simple condemnation of what they did. What they did that day on October 7th triggered everything that has followed afterward," Latimer said.

Bowman, Latimer address local issues in debate

The debate comes in the midst of a looming commuter rail crisis, just a week after Gov. Kathy Hochul decided to pause the implementation of congestion pricing. Both candidates say the MTA's troubles must be addressed, but neither would not give a firm answer on whether or not they supported the pause.

"The governor made the pause. It's not up for a debate," Latimer said.

"I need further conversation and further clarity," Bowman said.

In a district that includes parts of the north Bronx and Westchester, the pair was asked about how to bridge the wealth gap between the rich and poor.

"We need reparations, first and foremost. My opponent does not support reparations. I support reparations wholeheartedly," Bowman said.

"He has a bill that has minimal sponsors. Fourteen trillion dollars, that's twice the national budget. That's not a serious proposal," Latimer said.

On the issue of jobs for the district, the candidates declared where they stood on whether to turn the Empire City site in Yonkers into a full-fledged casino.

"Yes, wholeheartedly," Latimer said.

"No, there are many ways to create jobs than another casino," Bowman said.

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