Brooklyn Showdown: Rep. Towns and Author Powell Spar over Brooklyn Seat

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Edolphus Towns, who has represented the 10th Congressional district in Brooklyn for three decades is being challenged by community activist and author (and alum of MTV's The Real World) Kevin Powell. Both men appeared on The Brian Lehrer Show this morning.

U.S. Representative Edolphus Towns represents Bedford-Stuyvesant, East New York and Fort Greene among other neighborhoods, dismissed his challenger, community activist and author, Kevin Powell, who ran against him before. "I think he's playing the best two out of three," Towns quipped of his challenger.

Powell criticized Towns as an unresponsive career politician who is out of touch with the needs of the district:

What we have in Brooklyn is what I call a ghetto monarchy, where they are basically trying to hold onto their power for the few, a handful of people, at the expense of the masses of people in the 10th district from Boerum Hill, Fort Greene, where I live, all the way out to east New York. That's the real issue, what is the matter with the leadership we have that has been lazy and dishonest and disrespectful to the American people.


Powell, who has called himself a former woman-abuser, and who now works to end domestic violence and relationship abuse, said his background as a young man who grew up in poverty and violence means he is better able to interact with and lead in the district:

I've been able to go into the communities of the 10th congressional district, East New York, Bed-Stuy, the communities that haven't seen Ed in 27 years- and do the work that he hasn't done to reach those young men. All he can say to them is they need to pull their pants up. I actually can speak to them directly because I come from the same background as them and say you know what, that's not the lifestyle you want.


Towns focused on his service in Congres. He discussed his opposition to the war in Afghanistan, saying he resents that military spending is taking away from other needs in the neighborhoods of Brooklyn:

I really feel like the money going into the war, takes away from education, it takes away from a lot of other things that we need to focus on. And that is a concern. But at the same time we have to look at where we are. To me we had no business going to Afghanistan, but now that we're there, we have to sort of weigh as to how we come out.


Towns highlighted his service as Chairman of the House of Representatives' committee on oversight and government reform, which investigated the Toyota recall and is now reviewing the performance of the Minerals Management Service in the BP gulf oil spill:

Basically our oversight has been around safety issues. And we are concerned with now looking at MMS which had the responsibility to oversee the BP situation. So we've been making certain that people are safe.