Rev. Jamal Harrison Bryant

The Rev. Jamal Harrison Bryant, a well-known Baltimore pastor, announced on Sept. 14 that he would run for Rep. Elijah Cummings 7th District seat.

Bryant, the pastor of the Empowerment Temple Church in West Baltimore, stood on Eutaw Place and talked of his plans for Congress. With people standing around him, waving flags and clapping in support, Bryant talked of change he wants to bring to Capitol Hill.

“The whole nation is looking for police reform. I plan on going to Capitol Hill as a representative of a brand new movement that realizes we must have protest but we also must have policy,” Bryant said.

When asked about Cummings, who has held the seat since 1996, Bryant said he has not talked to the Representative but is grateful for the work he has done and will talk to Cummings if the representative decides to run for reelection.

“He has done a wonderful job for our community. It is obvious and evident that our community is in the midst of change and in transition.” Bryant spoke with people standing around him, waving flags and clapping in support.

Cummings has not released any plans for 2016 but is rumored to be thinking of running for Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s Maryland seat since she announced she will not be seeking reelection. He has served in Congress for 19 years as a representative of half of Baltimore County and parts of Howard County.

In August Cummings hired senate fundraiser, Ashley Martens, a sign of potential plans for a senate campaign.

“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 said in a statement released before the news conference.

“My intentions are to give a new voice to the issues that affect every day working men and working women by proposing new ideas,” said Bryant in his statement.

Bryant’s campaign will focus on police brutality, racism, job opportunities and poverty, all themes he mentioned in his news conference.

Bryant maintains a presence not only in Baltimore but also on a national scale after his work in Ferguson, Mo. where he was arrested for protesting. He also led protests during the April Baltimore uprising and gave the eulogy at Freddie Gray’s funeral.

“I am not running against anyone. I am running for the many nameless faceless people who feel they are not currently being heard,” Bryant said in his statement, adding, “I will deliver a fresh perspective to Washington.”

Bryant is the father of five daughters and is a graduate from Morehouse College and Duke University. In 2007 Bryant reportedly admitted from his pulpit that he had fathered an illegitimate child.