Times Square vendor Duane Jackson, who alerted police to bomb, to run for Congress

NEW YORK — Duane Jackson, the street vendor who notified the police of a car bomb in Times Square in 2010 plans to run for Congress, the Associated Press reported.

Jackson, a US Navy veteran, was selling handbags on the street when he noticed smoke coming from an abandoned car in Times Square and immediately told the police, who then evacuated the area and a bomb squad was sent in, Reuters reported.

Now Jackson, 59, will seek the Democratic nomination to run for Rep. Nan Hayworth’s (R) seat in New York’s 19th Congressional district, just north of the city, Politico reported. He said he decided to run for Congress after he saw the impact he made with his call to the police about the car bomb, the AP reported.

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"It was kind of an epiphany for me," he said, the AP reported. "I had a call from President (Barack) Obama. I had people from all over the world come and thank me for, you know, seeing something and saying something. 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."

Although Jackson returned to his day job, he became a New York celebrity, with Mayor Michael Bloomberg praising him as a hero and people lining up to thank him, Reuters reported.

The veteran said he has 15 years of experience in city planning and housing, including time with the city’s education and housing departments. He said his last position “wasn’t a good fit” and his involvement in veterans’ affairs led him to his job as a street vendor, the AP reported. He learned about a law, which entitles disabled veterans to vend on any street, which led him to getting his vending license. While serving aboard a ship during Vietnam he suffered a non-combat back injury.

If elected he said he’ll keep his job in Times Square as a vendor two days a week.

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