Gerald B. H. Solomon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Gerald B. H. Solomon
GBHSolomon.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 29th, 24th and 22nd district
In office
January 3, 1979 – January 3, 1999
Preceded by Edward W. Pattison
Succeeded by John E. Sweeney
Personal details
Born August 14, 1930
Okeechobee, Florida
Died October 26, 2001(2001-10-26) (aged 71)
Queensbury, New York
Political party Republican

Gerald Brooks Hunt Solomon (August 14, 1930 – October 26, 2001) was a New York Republican politician.

Born in Okeechobee, Florida, Solomon attended the public schools in Delmar, New York as a child, later attending Siena College from 1949 to 1950 and St. Lawrence University from 1953 to 1954. He served in the United States Marine Corps from 1951 to 1952. Solomon was a business executive in Queensbury, New York and was elected to the Warren County, New York legislature in 1968 and the New York State Assembly in 1972. Solomon was elected to the House of Representatives in 1978 as a Republican. 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 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 was the chairman of the House Rules Committee from 1995 to 1999, when he retired from Congress, choosing not to run for an eleventh term.

In his district, which ran from the Hudson Valley near Poughkeepsie into the Adirondacks, including Lake Placid, he was a popular and respected figure, consistently drawing the highest total vote of any Member of Congress in New York State in his later years. He was well known for his personal touch and strong constituent work, and for facilitating federal investment in his mostly rural district, including dozens of housing projects for low income elderly, and the Saratoga National Cemetery, where he is buried and which was renamed the Gerald B. H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery in his honor following his death.

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 FAIR and SALT. 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.

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.

On October 26, 2001, Solomon died of congestive heart failure at his home in Queensbury at the age of 71. While he was a man of passionate beliefs and firm opinions, he also had the ability to maintain friendships across political lines. Among those who delivered moving eulogies at his funeral was Representative Charles Rangel, a Democrat, of New York City.

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