A New York City street vendor who foiled a bomb plot in 2010 has announced, Tuesday, that he will be running for Congress.
Duane Jackson, 59, is seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican Nan Hayworth in his home district north of New York City, according to The Associated Press. Jackson's inspiration is a bomb that would've exploded in Times Square, had he not intervened.
Jackson says that his near-fatal encounter with terrorism taught him that it makes sense to get involved.
"It was kind of an epiphany for me, I had a call from President Obama. I had people from all over the world come and thank me for, you know, seeing something and saying something," Jackson said. "I can tell people, especially young people and people in the minority communities, it's OK to get involved in the running of this country."
The Navy veteran and Boston College graduate was selling handbags in Times Square when he and a fellow street vendor noticed an idling and abandoned SUV in a no-parking zone near a Broadway theater on May 1, 2010.
He alerted police just as the vehicle began to smoke. They found a potentially powerful propane-and-gasoline bomb that had begun to detonate, but did not explode, according to authorities. They said the bomb would have created a significant fireball if detonated, according to The Journal.
Self-proclaimed terrorist Faisal Shahzad admitted plotting to set off the bomb and was sent to prison for life.
Jackson said he has 15 years of experience in city planning and housing, working for the New York City education and housing department. He calls his years as a vendor "small-business experience."
He says that Republicans and his possible opponent, Hayworth, are out of touch with the voters in the Hudson Valley. Jackson lives with his wife and two children in Buchanan, N.Y.
His competition for a Democratic seat is Mayor Tom Wilson of Tuxedo Park in orange County and Anne Jacobs Moultrie, a registered nurse and union leader from Woodbury.
He plans to make a formal announcement of his candidacy this week.
"I'm not going to have $200,000 for the primary," Jackson said. "But I'm an ordinary guy, and I think I can get out the Democratic base."