A small group of demonstrators gathered as the sun was setting on Thursday, Jan. 17 in front of congressman Lee Zeldin’s Patchogue district office. They called on their representative to vote to reopen the government, as Zeldin has voted no repeatedly for the House bills that have been brought up by the Democratic majority.
“He has stood by the Trump message, and that does not represent this district,” said Soshana Hershkowitz, founder of Suffolk Progressives. Donald Trump won Suffolk County in the 2016 election, and won the towns of Brookhaven, Smithtown, Southold and Riverhead, each by double-digit margins.
Other organizations in attendance were Indivisible Patriots of Long Island, Progressive East End Reformers, and Let’s Visit Lee Zeldin. Also present was Perry Gershon, who lost his bid to unseat Zeldin in the November election. The rally mainly focused on the federal workers who have not been receiving paychecks since the end of December, many of whom have turned to charities and food banks for help.
“Let’s talk about national security and immigration reform — these are ... important issues,” Gershon said at the rally. “But let’s do that in a functioning country, not holding the country hostage.”
Supporters of Zeldin were also present at the rally, to promote what they say are the positives about him. The group added that they want the government to reopen, but that it should be done based on compromise.
Zeldin has been calling on Twitter for Congress to be put in a room with “no phones, no pay, just negotiation & compromise w each other & POTUS,” he wrote last Thursday. The government entered a partial shutdown on Dec. 22.