U.S. Congressional District 11

The 11th Congressional District begins at the edge of downtown Brooklyn and encompasses Eastern Parkway, Grand Army plaza, Prospect Park, Park Slope and Crown Heights.

Major Owens (Dem/WF)

Sol Lieberman (Con)
Lorraine Stevens (Ind)

News from the Campaign Trail:

New York Times Endorsement: The primary contest for the 11th Congressional District seat, which covers a large swath of Brooklyn from Brownsville to Park Slope, has become a heated one, thanks largely to the announcement by the Democratic incumbent, Representative Major R. Owens, that this would be his last race. Instead of a solitary victory lap, he faces a strong challenge from two City Council members, both of them his former protˇgˇes. The race has drawn comparison to King Lear, but a more apt description might be "all in the family." Mr. Owens's competitors, Tracy L. Boyland and Yvette D. Clarke, both followed their parents into public office. The challengers seem to fear that if Mr. Owens wins the nomination, he might step aside to allow his son to slide into his seat. Such tactics are certainly not unheard of in New York City politics, but the congressman has said he will do no such thing. No matter, the spirited contest is under way. Ms. Clarke's mother, Una, ran against Mr. Owens in 2000 and lost. Now, Una Clarke is serving as her daughter's campaign treasurer. That could be seen as an odd choice, considering that Una Clarke was found to have overspent in one of her own campaigns and was ordered to pay penalties of nearly $50,000. Ms. Boyland, meanwhile, is having to answer questions from campaign finance officials about contributions to her own campaign treasury, which has been overseen by a friend. In his time in Congress, Mr. Owens has not been flashy, and the district could use more energetic representation. But he has been a vocal champion of education issues and has been active in issues relating to the Caribbean. He chaired a Congressional task force on restoring democracy to Haiti and led the recent effort to allow citizens of Montserrat continued asylum in the United States because of volcanic eruptions at home. Nostalgia would certainly not keep us from endorsing one of Mr. Owens's opponents this year, but neither of his ambitious challengers has exhibited the kind of experience and judgment that the district deserves in its Congressional representative. If either Ms. Clarke or Ms. Boyland was elected, she would very possibly have a lock on the district for decades to come. Brooklyn would be better served if voters waited two years to see if better options come along. In this contest, we endorse Congressman Owens. (NY Times)

"Tracy L. Boyland has been chosen as one of the up and rising leaders for the future by the New York Times," boasts a full-color piece of literature distributed six weeks before Boyland's Democratic primary showdown with Rep. Major Owens. We went searching for such a reference in the Times. We didn't exactly find it. Instead, there was this, from the paper's editorial page in 1997: "Ms. Boyland, a teacher, has little record of community activity and seems to have no thoughts about what she would do as a Council member more specific than 'new ideas for the next millennium.'" (Courier Life Newspapers)

After a career spanning three decades in elective office, United States Representative Major R. Owens kicked off his final campaign yesterday, an event that drew some of the biggest names in Brooklyn to support the man who succeeded Shirley Chisholm in Congress. But Mr. Owens's final campaign has turned into the furthest thing from an effortless political valedictory for the congressman. By announcing at a news conference that this would be his last term in Congress, he made what some Brooklyn politicians suggested was a strategic miscalculation. He has drawn two formidable opponents who have cast the race for the Democratic nomination as an opportunity to seize an important leadership mantle for a new generation of politicians. The race, to represent the Congressional district that stretches from Brownsville to Park Slope, also exposes a tangled political and familial landscape, where the children of Brooklyn officials are eager to emerge from their parents' shadows. One challenger is City Councilwoman Tracy L. Boyland, 36, the daughter of William F. Boyland Sr., a former longtime assemblyman. The other is Yvette D. Clarke, 39, the daughter of the former City Councilwoman Una Clarke, who opposed Mr. Owens two years ago. And serving as a subplot is rampant speculation that Mr. Owens would somehow win the nomination and withdraw from the race to engineer a succession by his son, Chris Owens, 45, who is the congressman's campaign manager and who has made clear his interest in succeeding his father. Both men have since denied any such intention. But the race has nonetheless taken off. And it has been contentious. (NY Times)

Rumor turned to reality yesterday afternoon on the steps of City Hall as Councilwoman Yvette Clarke announced she will challenge longtime Central Brooklyn Congressman Major Owens for his 11th District seat. (Daily News)

Yvette Clarke now becomes the second member of the City Council to oppose Mr. Owens, a 22-year incumbent who announced five months ago that this year's run for re-election would be his last, and that if re-elected, he would retire at the end of his term in 2006. Last week, Tracy L. Boyland, a councilwoman who is part of a politically active family in Brooklyn, announced her candidacy for the Congressional seat. (NY Times)

Tracy Boyland has announced that she will challenge Rep. Major Owens in the Democratic primary for his 11th congressional District seat in Brooklyn. Boyland, who for the past six years has represented Ocean Hill-Brownsville, East Flatbush and parts of Bedford-Stuyvesant in the Council, said it was time for the five-term incumbent to retire. "There are many people who do not believe in change, but my message to them is as follows: Change is inevitable in our society," Boyland said Monday on the steps of City Hall, where she was joined by about 200 supporters. (Daily News)

One-third of the 51 members of the City Council haven't gotten a single bill passed in more than two years, a Post survey has found. An examination of the legislative records shows the members collectively introduced 818 bills and passed 134 laws - a 13 percent success rate - and that's including street-name changes. They also overrode 15 of Mayor Bloomberg's vetoes. Yet 16 members could not get a bill passed. Two members - Brooklyn Democrats Tracy Boyland and Dominic Recchia - have introduced just one bill each since Jan. 1, 2002. Neither was enacted into law. (NY Post)

City Councilwoman Yvette Clarke said that she was running for the Congressional seat of Rep. Major Owens this year. But Councilwoman Tracy Boyland, who represents parts of Bedford-Stuyvesant and Ocean Hill-Brownsville, said that she, too, was planning to run for the seat. Another Democrat, Assemblyman Nick Perry, said he was planning on a 2006 campaign, but was prepared to run this year if political events changed. What has fueled much of the interest in Owens's seat is rampant speculation among Brooklyn Democrats that he might obtain the Democratic nomination, then decline it, allowing his son, Chris Owens, to become the Democratic nominee. The younger Owens is managing his father's re-election campaign and said there was no plan for a family succession before the 2006 campaign. (New York Times)


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Presidential debates

President Bush and Senator John Kerry had a series of 90-minute debates:

Thursday, Sep. 30: University of Miami, Coral Gables, Fla. Theme: Foreign policy and homeland security.
Moderator: Jim Lehrer, PBS
Transcript of debate

Friday, Oct. 8: Washington University, St. Louis, Mo., no subject restrictions.
Moderator: Charles Gibson, ABC
Transcript of debate

Wednesday, Oct. 13: Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz. Theme: domestic and economic policy.
Moderator: Bob Scheiffer, CBS
Transcript of debate

Video of debate.

Vice Presidential debates

Tuesday, Oct. 5: Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. Theme: No limits on topics.
Moderator: Gwen Ifill, senior correspondent for "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer"
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