Gerald B. H. Solomon

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Gerald B. H. Solomon
GBHSolomon.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 22nd district
In office
January 3, 1993 – January 3, 1999
Preceded by Benjamin A. Gilman
Succeeded by John E. Sweeney
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 24th district
In office
January 3, 1983 – January 3, 1993
Preceded by Richard Ottinger
Succeeded by John M. McHugh
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 29th district
In office
January 3, 1979 – January 3, 1983
Preceded by Edward W. Pattison
Succeeded by Frank Horton
Personal details
Born August 14, 1930
Okeechobee, Florida
Died October 26, 2001(2001-10-26) (aged 71)
Queensbury, New York
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Freda Parker Solomon (m. 1955)
Religion Presbyterian

Gerald Brooks Hunt Solomon (August 14, 1930 – October 26, 2001) was a New York Republican politician known for his work on legislation that became known as the Solomon Amendment.

Early life[edit]

Born in Okeechobee, Florida, Solomon attended the public schools in Delmar, New York. He attended Siena College from 1949 to 1950 and St. Lawrence University from 1953 to 1954.

Career[edit]

Solomon attempted to join a United States Marine Corps Reserve unit in Albany, New York during the Korean War in 1950, but was deemed ineligible because of a childhood illness. He tried to enlist again in 1951 and was accepted. From 1951 to 1952 Solomon was stationed aboard a helicopter carrier in the Atlantic with the 2nd Marine Division. He remained in the Marine Corps Reserve until 1959.

In the 1950s and 1960s Solomon was involved with M. Solomon, the women's clothing business owned by his father. In the early mid-1960s he became a partner in the Associates of Glens Falls insurance company. In addition he was president of Solomon, Veysey, Dixon, Gohn Associates, an investment firm.

Originally a Democrat, From 1968 to 1972 Solomon served as Queensbury's Town Supervisor, which also made him a member of the Warren County Board of Supervisors. In 1969 he switched his party affiliation to Republican. In 1972 he was elected to the New York State Assembly, where he served until 1978.

In 1978 Solomon was elected to the House of Representatives. In 1980, he was an early and avid supporter of Ronald Reagan's presidential campaign, and remained a Reagan stalwart, supporting his efforts to reduce taxes, revive the economy, halt Soviet expansionism and rebuild America's defenses. Solomon supported the line-item veto, a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning, a repeal of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, and amendments that strengthened the Selective Service System. He also sponsored the legislation that created the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, granting full cabinet status to the former Veterans Administration. He was such an opponent of gun control that he once challenged fellow Representative Patrick J. Kennedy of Rhode Island to "step outside" to settle a dispute over the issue. Solomon attempted to run for Speaker of the House in 1994 but withdrew in favor of Newt Gingrich.

Solomon also supported creation of the Saratoga National Cemetery, which was named the Gerald B. H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery in his honor following his death.

Solomon was a leader of former Marines in Congress who fought the construction of the United States Air Force Memorial through litigation and legislation at a site they considered to be too close to the USMC War Memorial.

Solomon Amendment[edit]

Solomon was also the originator and sponsor of the Solomon Amendment, a controversial amendment to United States Code that precluded the receipt of federal government funds by colleges and universities unless they provided equal access to military recruiters as they did private employers. The policy was a response to rules at many American law schools which excluded employers who discriminated based on categories such as sexual orientation. The Amendment was subject to extensive litigation in 2003 by plaintiffs; the Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights (FAIR) and the Society of American Law Teachers. See FAIR v. Rumsfeld, 390 F.3d 219 (3rd Cir. 2004). On March 6, 2006, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the military and upheld the Solomon Amendment.

Later career[edit]

Solomon was the chairman of the House Rules Committee from 1995 to 1999, when he retired. He did not run for reelection in 1998.

In his district, which ran from the Hudson Valley near Poughkeepsie into the Adirondacks, including Lake Placid, he was a popular and respected figure. In the later years of his tenure he consistently drew the highest total vote of any member of the New York delegation. He was well known for his strong constituent work, and for facilitating federal investment in his mostly rural district, including dozens of housing projects for low income elderly.

After leaving Congress he formed the Solomon Group, a Washington consulting and lobbying business.

Death and burial[edit]

On October 26, 2001, Solomon died of congestive heart failure at his home in Queensbury at the age of 71. His ability to maintain friendships across political lines was demonstrated when one of the eulogies at his funeral was delivered by Representative Charles Rangel, a Democrat and fellow veteran. Solomon was buried at the national cemetery which is named for him.

Family[edit]

In 1955 Solomon married Freda Parker of Monongahela, Pennsylvania. They were the parents of five children, Susan, Daniel, Robert, Linda and Jeffrey. In addition to his wife and children, Solomon was survived by six grandchildren and his brother Richard.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

New York Assembly
Preceded by
K. Daniel Haley
New York State Assembly, 110th District
1973–1978
Succeeded by
Joan Hague
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Edward W. Pattison
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 29th congressional district

1979–1983
Succeeded by
Frank Horton
Preceded by
Richard Ottinger
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 24th congressional district

1983–1993
Succeeded by
John M. McHugh
Preceded by
Benjamin A. Gilman
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 22nd congressional district

1993–1999
Succeeded by
John E. Sweeney
Political offices
Preceded by
Joe Moakley
Massachusetts
Chairman of House Rules Committee
1995–1999
Succeeded by
David Dreier
California