West Belfast woman to run for US Congress

Lenadoon woman, Kate Browning, who is to run for US Congress next year, pictured during a visit home to Belfast
Marie Louise McConville

A west Belfast woman is to run for the US Congress next year.

Former school bus driver, Kate Browning, who is originally from Horn Drive in Lenadoon, has announced her campaign to run for Congress in New York’s 1st Congressional District in 2018.

The seat is currently held by Republican Lee Zeldin however the 58-year-old Democrat, who is a former St Genevieve's pupil, is confident her working class roots will give her an advantage over Zeldin and others seeking the Democratic nomination.

Born in west Belfast, Kate Browning nee Maguire, who is a mother-of-three, moved to Germany at the age of 19 where she met her husband, Steve, who was serving in the US miltary but who is now a detective in the New York Police Department.

In 1989, the married couple settled in Shirley, New York and went on to have three children, Aoife, Sean, and Aodhan. Their two sons serve in the Air National Guard, 106th Air Rescue Wing, Westhampton, and Sean has also served three tours in Afghanistan.

Ms Browning entered politics in 2005 when she was elected Suffolk County Legislator as a member of the Working Families Party.

Moving to the Democratic Party this May, she has decided to run for Congress.

The 58-year-old said she is undertaking the campaign to "fight for working families of the district".

"I worked as a school bus driver while my kids were in school and I know what it’s like to struggle to make ends meet on Long Island," she said.

"That’s why I decided to run for legislator and why I’m running for Congress. To fight for working families of the district."

Championing issues such as healthcare, tax reform and immigration, the west Belfast woman - whose campaign will cost between four and five million dollars - must now undertake a round of fundraising before the Democratic Primary followed by the Primary election next June.

"It’s a little scary," she said.

"You have to be somewhat afraid. I don’t underestimate anybody. You have to work hard, you have to get out there. It will be a very tight race.

"We need a representative in Congress who will be an independent voice with a proven record of working to tackle the serious problems our country faces.

She also had a message for the politicians back home who have not taken their seats in Stormont since January.

"There's give and take in everything," she said.

"You have to look at the greater good and you don't accomplish everything all in once shot. It’s all baby steps. It happens progressively".

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