Jamal Harrison Bryant, pastor at the Empowerment Temple African Methodist Episcopal Church in West Baltimore, is eyeing the seat currently held by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.). On Monday he announced his campaign for Congress, the Baltimore Sun reports.
According to the report, Bryant released a statement announcing, "After prayer, soul-searching and long deliberation, I am officially announcing my candidacy for Congress of the United States representing the 7th Congressional District.
"After the Freddie Gray uprising, the proliferation of police brutality across this nation, the lack of jobs, widespread poverty and hopelessness throughout our urban areas, I decided that leading a successful congregation and building a great church is not enough," Bryant added. "I want to contribute to public policy in Washington."
As the Sun notes, Cummings has not yet announced his plans for 2016, but he is reportedly flirting with the idea of running for Senate. The veteran politician, who has been in Congress since 1996, has represented about half the city during his tenure. Bryant says, however, that residents are ready for a change.
"There is an anti-incumbent sentiment that suggests that our current leaders are ineffective," he said, according to the Sun. "I want to shift that paradigm and offer a ray of hope and some concrete solutions to their dismay.
"My life experiences have fashioned my perspectives," Bryant said. "I lead a successful charter school while continuing to pastor and champion for basic civil and human rights. I will remain grounded in the basic principles of fortitude and prudence, which are necessary tools for governing during this difficult era. I am not running against anyone. I am running for the many nameless, faceless people who feel they are not currently being heard. I will deliver a fresh perspective to Washington."
Read more at the Baltimore Sun.