Published by Medium.com March 7th 2018
Traveling across Suffolk County, I’ve seen how disappointed and frustrated people are with Congressman Lee Zeldin. I’m hearing how they want someone in Washington who fights to grow the middle class on Long Island, make our communities safer, and ensure everyone has access to affordable health care — someone who fights for what’s right. But that’s not what Rep. Zeldin is focused on. He’s backing an agenda that’s out of touch with of Suffolk county, beyond that of even a “regular” Republican representative.
Zeldin’s 9% grade from the League of Conservation Voters, his opposition to consumer protection, and his radical anti-choice views are not representative of our community. But Zeldin’s frightening extremism, however, is on display in his politicized attacks on the Mueller Investigation, the DOJ, and FBI, and his unconditional alliance with the NRA. And he bears responsibility for the Trump tax plan and its destructive effects on Long Islanders. Luckily, we can defeat him in November.
The Mueller Probe:
Zeldin has led the effort to delegitimize the country’s law enforcement — simply because Mueller’s investigation is going after the truth. Zeldin has joined with Rep. Devin Nunes leading the criticism of the FISA warrant process and even holds the absurd position that we need a special counsel to investigate the special counsel. Mueller’s probe is doing the job and has already led to 22 indictments against Russians and other conspirators for meddling in the US elections in 2016. And the investigation is nowhere close to finished!
In the face of these indictments, Zeldin has not called for congressional efforts to combat the threat Russia poses to our elections. He has not taken any affirmative steps to protect the 2018 and future elections. And he fails to even recognize that Russian hacking was an effort to discredit US elections and played a role in Donald Trump’s victory. Simply put, our Congressman has refused to acknowledge that our democracy is under attack because he is putting Party over Country.
Zeldin’s crusade culminated on Feb. 28 when he issued a formal letter to Attorney General Sessions requesting appointment of a new Special Counsel to investigate the FBI and DOJ. Co-signed by 12 other far-right congressmen, the letter was so extreme that even Devin Nunes, himself, did not co-sign it. A week later, he even claimed that: “Donald Trump & family being investigated for winning election w/no evidence they committed any crime to win the election. Sick, crazy & wrong!” Seriously? Zeldin has become a conspiracy theorist, using the words “transparency” and “accountability” to describe an effort to politicize law enforcement and undermine the rule of law in the defense of a potentially corrupt president.
The Tax Plan:
Republicans in Congress pushed a tax plan that’s good for corporations and special interests and devastating for Long Island families. Their plan benefits the richest one percent of Americans, at the expense of Brookhaven, Smithtown, Westhampton, and all our other communities. The tax plan eliminated the State and Local Tax deduction(SALT), which will hit Long Islanders hard by raising taxes and causing property values to decline.
Zeldin’s claim that he stood up for Long Island by opposing the final version of the tax plan simply is not good enough. He voted to empower Paul Ryan, who, in his role as Speaker of the House, led the tax fight. He hasdoing nothing to restore the SALT deduction that Suffolk County relies on. He has repeatedly supported and defended Donald Trump, who has prided himself on the bill. Worse yet, Zeldin stated that his objection to the bill was not its elimination of SALT, but to the limits being imposed all at once. Zeldin even claimed he would fully support a phase in of all of the injurious provisions if they occurred over 3–4 years. It’s clear that for Zeldin, it is ideology first and Long Island last.
Gun Control and the NRA:
Zeldin’s reaction to the Parkland shooting is shameful. He has resisted all calls for common sense gun safety laws, has refused to back a ban on weapons of war, and even thinks its smart to arm teachers.
Unfortunately, this comes as no surprise. He is not only proud of his A rating from the NRA but has taken more money from the NRA than any other congressperson from New York. He has a long history of supporting fringe positions that threaten New York residents’ safety. In 2015, he co-sponsored a bill that allows the transportation of firearms in locked containers across state lines, effectively facilitating gun-trafficking into New York State. Just last year, he co-sponsored another bill that would allow gun owners to carry concealed weapons across state lines. Both bills would essentially render New York State’s gun safety laws null and void.
We deserve a Congressman who will protect the Mueller probe and support our law enforcement agencies, do everything in his or her power to restore the full deductibility of state and local income taxes, and fight for effective and commonsense gun safety. Long Islanders are fed up with Donald Trump and his enablers in Congress like Rep. Zeldin. People are looking for bold ideas and real solutions. It’s time Long Island had a strong voice to fight for high-paying jobs, affordable health care, and safer communities. If we’re going to change Washington, we’ve got to change the people we send there. Come November, let’s fight, together, and make sure Rep. Zeldin doesn’t have another term in Congress.