Major Owens, representing part of Brooklyn
in the U.S. House of Representatives
, hails from one of the safest Democratic Congressional district in the country. It includes the heavily black and Caribbean neighborhoods of Crown Heights
, and Brownsville
, as well as progressive Park Slope
and Prospect Heights
Owens, who is described as 'gentle,' was a librarian before becoming involved in public service. He was a New York City commissioner and a state senator before his 1982 election to Congress. Owens is currently the ranking Democrat on the Workforce protections subcommittee of the Education and Workforce Committee, where he has been a champion of OSHA. He is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus.
In the 2000 election, Owens faced a nasty challenge from Una Clarke, a city council member. The contest had an unusual ethnic theme. Clarke, as a Jamaican-American, in contrast to Owens as a native born African-American, tried to rally the largely Caribbean inhabitants of the district around this difference. This was ultimately unsuccessful, but it highlighted the diversity of the Brooklyn Black community.
Owens' district misses my house by one block.