Republican congressman Lee Zeldin is seeking re-election to his third term in NY District 1 to continue his support of veterans, improving infrastructure and strengthening national security.
Born and raised on Long Island, he boasts being a graduate of the William Floyd School District who now sends his twin daughters, aged 12, to the same schools he attended. After graduating from William Floyd High School, he went on to graduate from the State University of New York at Albany and Albany Law School, becoming New York’s youngest attorney at the time, at the age of 23. Currently, he lives with his wife Diana and daughters in Shirley. Zeldin also spent four years of active duty in the U.S. Army and has been a reservist ever since, with the rank of major.
For four years, he served in the NYS Senate, leading the effort against the MTA Payroll Tax and creating the Joseph P. Dwyer Peer Support Project.In 2014, Zeldin was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives (NY-1).
Come Election Day, Zeldin, 38, will spend the day canvassing and voting with his family. Since announcing his re-election campaign, he has been walking door to door and attending meet the candidate forums.
“I was born and raised on Long Island. I have daughters that go to the same schools I went to. I have been honored to represent the community in the state Senate and now in Congress. I deliver important victories to the place I have always called home,” he said, promising more local wins such as the emergency dredge of the Moriches Inlet or stabilizing the boardwalk in Smith Point County Park. “A lot of progress has been made to really important infrastructure and environmental issues. They are local quality-of-life concerns and I have been able to navigate the processes to get over the finish line.”
Zeldin discussed a number of his successes in Congress, including his bills for disabled veterans, such as his adult day care program.
“Every time a bill is signed into law, I wake up the next day thinking what else I can do for vets, or those battling addiction,” he said, also referencing his addiction recovery act. “We need to combat the heroine/opioid epidemic and stay on top of human, sex and drug trafficking. I always believe that the hardest work is always ahead of us.”
SOCIAL SECURITY, MEDICARE AND MEDICAID
Zeldin also said he will to continue his fight to improve the economy and national security as well as the mental health system. He promised not to privatize Social Security and protect Medicare.
“It’s incredibly important that we preserve and protect our commitments to both Social Security and Medicare for our seniors or those close to retirement,” he said. “[But] we also need to discuss what to do for future generations and agree that it shouldn’t have any adverse effect on current seniors.”
He suggested creating a 50 to 60 year plan to ensure solvency of the programs for future generations. As for Medicaid, he said the program needs to be broadened to ensure funds are going to the program as intended.
“There is a lot of excess costs and providers are abusing the program. It lacks accountability,” he continued. “It needs better oversight to operate more effectively and efficiently.”
If re-elected, he said he hopes to extend the Victims Compensation Fund for 9/11 first responders early enough so that they don’t have to fight for their benefits, as well as reauthorize the five-year highway bill. He also mentioned “lame duck bills” awaiting reintroduction in January, such as the reauthorizing of the flood insurance program, providing tax credits for homeowners in mitigation. He said he also expects to break ground on the over billion-dollar Fire Island to Montauk Point project.
He believes the country needs to do a better job at talking to each other rather than past each other when it comes to gun control. He suggested working together to not politicize the issue and implement already-on-the-books legislation, as well as move forward common-sense gun laws.
“I am not for banning a weapon by the way it looks, [but] we need to be smart about how we approach policy. These laws are only going to impact law-abiding citizens, not the criminal who doesn’t care it’s a seven-round limit,” he said, stating the country needs to do a better job at enforcing already-on-the-books laws.
“I am the only Long Islander in the race with a proven track record of delivering results for the East End of Long Island,” he said as to why constituents should vote for him. “My track record spans a lifetime of helping out my community with stories [as far back as] playing piano at a local nursing home. This is my home and I am proud to be the first member of Congress from the Shirley-Mastics area since William Floyd himself.”