A high school civics teacher inspired by his students to run for Congress officially filed his Federal Election Commission (FEC) paperwork to take on freshman firebrand Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) for New York’s 14th District.
John Cummings — a retired NYPD Harbor Unit officer and native of the Bronx — announced that he had filed the necessary paperwork to run for Congress as a Republican against Ocasio-Cortez in the 2020 election.
In an interview with IJR, Cummings said that he believes his role in the community as a teacher and former police officer will help his election efforts “tremendously” because the people in the community “know that you’ve spent your life” serving them and that “they know you’re here to serve.”
He also said that he believes he would bring a “unique perspective” to Congress with his “life experience” from working in law enforcement and education and hopes to use that experience to benefit the country.
When asked about Ocasio-Cortez’s role in sinking the deal between Amazon and New York City, Cummings said that the deal would have been “tremendous for the economy” of the city and that he believed New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s (D) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s (D-N.Y.) “favoring” it showed that they admitted “taxes are too high on businesses in New York.”
“It pointed out to me that Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio, by favoring that Amazon deal, both admitted to the fact that taxes are too high on business in New York. For Amazon to consider coming here — they were going to give them that ‘big tax break’ — and my argument is always, ‘well why doesn’t that big tax break go to Joe’s hardware store?’ So if you’re willing to give that big company that tax break, and I have no problem with it, why isn’t it good for everybody?”
Cummings has entered into a Republican primary where he will have to face off against two other candidates, including businesswoman Scherie Murray, who announced her bid for the seat earlier this week. He will face an uphill climb against Ocasio-Cortez if he wins the primary and goes on to the general election, as the New York Democrat won her district with more than 78 percent of the vote.
However, Cummings is not deterred by this. He said that he believes “once people start to realize” the “freedom” and “financial” costs of “socialism” that they will vote for him.
“I think people in this country and I think people in this district generally appreciate the freedoms that they have,” said Cummings. “And once that you commit to something like that, to socialism, — and like I said before, I despise socialism — once you commit to that, all of your freedoms and liberties disappear.”
“I find socialism so antithetical to everything that this country is about that it’s one of the reasons I actually jumped in the race,” added the former NYPD officer. “And I think that once people catch on to that — as I said before, I think that transcends party — and I think people will move over and gladly cast that ballot for me.”
Cummings said in a press release announcing his candidacy that he is running on a platform of “liberty” to “stop the creep of socialism” in the “American way of life.”
He also took a shot at Ocasio-Cortez and de Blasio, claiming their “socialist policies” have caused “struggling” for “everyday New Yorkers.”
“I have filed paperwork to run for Congress to stop the creep of socialism into our American way of life. Period. Our current representatives have lost sight of what the Founding Fathers knew would be the tie that binds us all together as Americans: liberty. Because of Bill de Blasio – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez socialist policies, everyday New Yorkers are struggling. This campaign will be about liberty vs. socialism and I look forward to a spirited campaign and vigorous debate on the issues.”
Cummings told the New York Post that he chose to run for the seat after being encouraged by his students at Saint Raymond High School in the Bronx.
“It was pointed out to me by my students that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pretty much made my excuse– and I’ll use their quotes– ‘a lame one,’” he told the Post.
He had said in an interview with “Fox and Friends” on Wednesday that he was initially reluctant to run for the seat as he thought it was “impossible” to unseat former Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), a congressional veteran of 20 years.