Lee Zeldin

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Lee Zeldin
Lee Zeldin official congressional photo.jpg
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 1st district
Assumed office
January 3, 2015
Preceded by Tim Bishop
Member of the New York Senate
from the 3rd district
In office
2011–2014
Preceded by Brian X. Foley
Succeeded by Thomas Croci
Personal details
Born (1980-01-30) January 30, 1980 (age 38)
East Meadow, New York
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Diana
Children 2
Residence Shirley, New York
Alma mater SUNY Albany (BA)
Albany Law School (JD)
Profession Lawyer, Politician
Religion Judaism
Website Official website
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 2003–present
Rank Major US-O4 insignia.svg
Battles/wars Iraq War

Lee M. Zeldin (born January 30, 1980) is an American lawyer and politician. A Republican, he has represented New York's 1st congressional district in the United States House of Representatives since 2015. New York's 1st district includes Central and Eastern Suffolk County, including most of Smithtown, as well as the entirety of the towns of Brookhaven, Riverhead, Southold, Southampton, East Hampton, and Shelter Island, and a small portion of Islip. Zeldin is a United States Army veteran who served in the Iraq War prior to winning elective office.

Early life, education, and military service

Zeldin was raised in Shirley, New York, and graduated from William Floyd High School in 1998. He received a B.A. (cum laude) in political science from the State University of New York at Albany in 2001 and earned his Juris Doctor from Albany Law School in May 2003.[1]

Upon graduation from law school, he received an Army ROTC commission as a Second Lieutenant, assigned to the Military Intelligence Corps of the United States Army. He became a member of the New York State Bar in January 2004 at the age of 23. In 2006, Zeldin was deployed to Iraq with an infantry battalion of paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division. In 2007, he transitioned from active duty to the Army Reserve where he currently serves with the rank of Major. In 2008, Zeldin started a law practice in Smithtown, New York.[1]

New York Senate

Elections

In 2010, Zeldin ran in the New York Senate's 3rd district, challenging Democratic incumbent Brian X. Foley. Zeldin defeated Foley 58%-42%.[2]

In 2012, he won re-election to a second term, defeating Democrat Francis Genco 56%–44%.[3]

Tenure

In June 2011, Zeldin voted against the Marriage Equality Act, which the Senate passed 33-29.[4] In a statement after the bill passed, Zeldin said: "It is my belief that marriage should be defined as between a man and a woman."[5]

In March 2012, Zeldin created the PFC Joseph Dwyer PTSD Peer-to-Peer Veterans Support program as part of the 2012–2013 New York State Budget..[6][7]

On January 14, 2013 Zeldin did not vote on the NY SAFE Act, a gun control bill that passed the Senate 43-18.[8] In a statement released to the press after the vote, Zeldin said he would have voted against the measure[9]

In February 2014, Zeldin introduced a bill that sought to halt implementation of the Common Core curriculum for three years.[10] The bill was referred to the Education committee, but no action was taken.[11]

On March 17, 2014, Zeldin voted against the New York Dream Act.[12][13]

U.S. Congress

Elections

2008

In 2008, Zeldin challenged incumbent Democratic Congressman Tim Bishop in New York's 1st congressional district. Bishop defeated Zeldin 58%–42%.[14]

2014

On October 6, 2013, Zeldin announced he would seek the Republican nomination to again run against incumbent Democratic Congressman Tim Bishop.[15] Zeldin defeated George Demos in the Republican Party primary[16] and ran unopposed for the Conservative Party nomination in the primary on June 24, 2014. Zeldin had the backing of former Congressman and U.S. House Majority leader Eric Cantor,[17] former Congressman Allen West,[18] U.S. Senator John McCain,[19] and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum.[20] Zeldin was endorsed by the United States Chamber of Commerce,[21] the National Federation of Independent Business,[22] the Suffolk County Republican Committee,[23] and Suffolk County Conservative Party Chairman Ed Walsh.[24][25][26]

On November 4, 2014, Zeldin defeated Bishop by a 54% to 45%[27] margin in the election to represent New York's 1st congressional district in the United States Congress.[28]

2016

Zeldin is running for re-election in 2016. He faces no opposition in the Republican primary, which will be held on June 28, 2016. Anna Throne-Holst and David Calone have filed to run in the Democratic primary.[29]

Tenure

In February 2015, Zeldin introduced his first bill, aimed at helping Long Island veterans.[30]

In February 2015, the NRCC announced that Zeldin was one of 12 members in the Patriot Program, a program designed to help protect vulnerable Republican incumbents heading into the 2016 election.[31][32]

In April 2015, Zeldin along with Democratic U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer introduced the Fluke Fairness Act. The bill would reform the current system for managing fluke fishing quotas by creating a regional approach to updating quotas and standards based on geographic, scientific, and economic data.[33] Also in April 2015, Zeldin introduced legislation to prevent the federal government's sale of Plum Island to the highest bidder.[34] In May 2016, Zeldin's bill unanimously passed the U.S. House.[35]

In May 2015, Zeldin voted for H.R.36, a bill which he co-sponsored, that would prohibit abortions in cases where the probable age of the fetus is 20 weeks or later and would impose criminal penalties on doctors who violate the ban.[36]

In June 2015, after the United States Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that state-level bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. Zeldin would not comment about his view of gay marriage, however he indicated that he believed the issue should have been decided at the state level.[37] A month later, Zeldin signed on as a co-sponsor of the First Amendment Defense Act.[38] The law would ban the federal government from taking "any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage."[39][40]

On July 15, 2015, Zeldin introduced the Exclusive Economic Zone Clarification Act.[41] The bill proposes to amend the boundary in part of the federal Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). It would give fisheries management of Block Island Sound exclusively to New York and Rhode Island. Some Connecticut fishermen have said the proposed bill could put them out of business.[42][43]

In July 2015, Zeldin attached an amendment to the Student Success Act. This amendment would allow for states to opt-out of the Common Core or other standards without penalty.[44]

As of September 2015, Zeldin cosponsored two bills in Congress that would combat Lyme disease. The bills are the Tick-Borne Disease Research and Accountability and Transparency Act of 2015[45] and the 21st Century Cures Act.[46][47]

On September 18, 2015, Zeldin voted for the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015,[48] a bill that would defund Planned Parenthood for one year.[49][50]

In September 2015, Zeldin, along with Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, condemned the dumping of dredged materials, stating: “We can’t just assume that dumping these waste spoils in the Long Island Sound is environmentally benign. We support dredging initiatives all across the First Congressional District. What we do with that waste spoil is also just as critically important.”[51][52]

In September 2015, Zeldin, along with Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, announced that $2.5 million was put forth by the Federal Aviation Administration for a runway rehabilitation project at Gabreski Airport.[53]

In January 2016, the New York Post reported that Zeldin missed 12 of 18 House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearings in 2015 that dealt specifically with ISIS and Syria.[54][55]

In February 2016, Zeldin proposed federal legislation that would fund a three-year, $25 million nationwide veterans peer support program modeled on one he helped establish in New York State.[56]

In February 2016, Zeldin, along with Republican congressmen Mike Pompeo of Kansas and Frank LoBiondo of New Jersey, sought visas to travel to Iran to check the country's compliance with the Iran nuclear deal framework.[57][58]

Committee assignments

Personal life

Zeldin is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, and the Jewish War Veterans. He is married to Diana Zeldin, with whom he has twin daughters.[59] They live in Shirley, New York.[1]

References

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External links

New York State Senate
Preceded by
Brian X. Foley
New York State Senate, 3rd District
2011–2013
Succeeded by
Thomas Croci
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Tim Bishop
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 1st congressional district

January 3, 2015 – present
Incumbent
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
David Young
R-Iowa
United States Representatives by seniority
431st
Succeeded by
Ryan Zinke
R-Montana