The New York street vendor who helped thwart a potential terrorist bombing in Times Square in 2010 has announced that he is running for Congress.
According to the Associated Press, Duane Jackson of Westchester is seeking the Democratic nomination to run against republican Nan Hayworth New York’s 19th Congressional District. There are at least three other Democrats in the race.
The 59-year-old said that the event in Times Square inspired him to get more involved.
“It was kind of an epiphany for me,” Jackson told the AP. “I had a call from President Obama. I had people from all over the world come thank me for seeing something and saying something. I am here to tell people, especially young people and people in the minority communities, it’s OK to get involved in the running of this country.”
Jackson made headlines in May 2010 after he alerted authorities of a smoking Nissan Pathfinder near his stand. Inside the vehicle was a powerful propane and gasoline bomb.
Terrorist Faisal Shazad later admitted to planting the bomb and was sentenced to life in prison.
“That night changed my life,” Jackson told The New York Post. “People still come up and say, ‘Hey, aren’t you the guy from the May 1 incident?’ Well, I’m more than that guy on the corner.”
The Navy veteran graduated from Boston University in 1976. Though he’s held positions at the Boston Department of Education and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, he’s been a stalwart vendor in and around New York’s Times Square.
He told the Post that the position earns him between $28,000 and $30,000 a year.
Jackson says that he plans to officially announce his candidacy in the near future. He’s already launched a website and a phone number for accepting campaign donations.