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
Preceded by Brian X. Foley
Succeeded by Thomas D. Croci
Personal details
Born (1980-01-30) January 30, 1980 (age 35)
East Meadow, New York
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Diana[1]
Children two[2]
Residence Shirley, New York[1]
Alma mater SUNY Albany (BA)
Albany Law School (JD)
Profession Lawyer, Politician
Religion Jewish
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 a Republican member of the United States Congress, in New York's 1st congressional district, having defeated incumbent Congressman Tim Bishop in the general election held November 4, 2014.[3] He is currently the only Jewish Republican in Congress.

Early life, education, and military service[edit]

Zeldin was born on January 30, 1980 in East Meadow, New York, the son of Merrill Schwartz and David Zeldin.[4][5] He 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][4]

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 fellow paratroopers from the Army's 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. He is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, and the Jewish War Veterans.[1] He is married to Diana Zeldin, a Mormon, and they have twin daughters.[6] He and his family attend the B’nai Israel Reform Temple in Oakdale, New York where Zeldin became a Bar Mitzvah.[6]

New York Senate[edit]


In 2010 Zeldin ran in the New York Senate's 3rd district to challenge Democratic incumbent Brian X. Foley and defeated Foley 57%-43%. During a “Women for Foley” rally, a group of Zeldin supporters protested the Women’s Rally by waving the Confederate battle flag, along with pro-Zeldin and pro-Carl Paladino signs. Protesters reportedly made obscene gestures at women entering the rally while yelling anti-Brian Foley, anti-Andrew Cuomo rhetoric.[7][8][9] There is no indication that Zeldin's campaign had any association with the protesters or knowledge of their activities until after the fact. Zeldin's campaign quickly released a statement stating that they do not condone the use of the Confederate flag, nor do they support the actions and antics of the protester who was photographed at the rally.[10][11]

In 2012, he won re-election to a second term, defeating Democrat Francis Genco 56%-44%.[12]


In March 2011 he secured repeal of the saltwater fishing license fee.[13] In August 2011, when Governor Cuomo directed the DEC to issue refunds to New Yorkers for saltwater fishing licenses, Lee Zeldin made the following Statement:"Governor Cuomo's unyielding leadership, vision and dedication is getting our state's fiscal house in order and stimulating our economy. Earlier this year, we passed a budget that successfully eliminated the fee to the recreational saltwater fishing license. And now the Governor is taking this one step further by directing the DEC to refund those individuals and businesses who purchased an annual fishing license for 2011. In addition, the new no-fee registry will continue to ensure that fishing remains free for all New Yorkers and make Long Island more attractive to tourist and businesses."[14] [15]

In June 2011, he sponsored - S 5596 Revising The Metropolitan Commuter Transportation Mobility Tax, which repealed portions of the MTA payroll tax.[16][17]

In June 2011, Zeldin voted against -A 8354 - the Marriage Equality Act, which the Senate passed 33-29.[18] In a statement he said, "It is my belief that marriage should be defined as between a man and a woman."[19]

On January 14, 2013 Zeldin did not vote on S 2230 the NY SAFE Act, a key Gun Control bill that passed the Senate 43-18.[20][21]

Zeldin has a mixed record on green energy issues.[22] He supported tax credits for commercial buildings and residents who use green technology but was the only State Senator to vote against requiring organizations receiving public funds to buy Energy Star equipment. And in June 2012, Zeldin cast the only nay vote on a bill that would prohibit the sale or offer for sale of electric lamps that contain mercury in excess of specified amounts.The bill stated that light bulbs that contain significant amounts of mercury are an environmental hazard to waste streams. The bill passed the Senate, 58-1 [1] As a result of his voting record on environmental issues, in 2012 Zeldin was given a 53% rating by New York-based environmental advocacy group EPL/Environmental Advocates.[23][24] He received a rating of 28% in 2013, and 16% in 2014[25][26]

On March 17, 2014 Zeldin voted Nay on A 2597A - the NY Dream Act[27][28]

In April 2014, Zeldin assisted in securing funding in the 2014-2015 state budget for the continuation and expansion of the PFC Joseph Dwyer PTSD Peer-to-Peer Veterans Support program.[29]

On February 27, 2015, Zeldin introduced his first bill in the House of Representatives. H.R.1187 would give the VA discretion to adjust how much money is approved for veterans seeking home loans under the department’s home loan program. The agency would have the authority to adjust for areas with higher costs of living such as Long Island.[30]

Committee assignments[edit]

  • Aging
  • Consumer Protection (Chair)
  • Higher Education, Transportation, Judiciary, Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities
  • Investigations and Government Operations
  • Veterans, Military Affairs, and Homeland Security

Congressional elections[edit]


In 2008, he challenged Democratic Congressman Tim Bishop in New York's 1st congressional district and was defeated by Bishop 58%-42%.[31]


On October 6, 2013, Zeldin announced he would seek the Republican nomination to again run against Congressman Tim Bishop.[32] Zeldin defeated George Demos and won the Republican Party nomination[33] and ran unopposed for the Conservative Party nomination in the primary on June 24, 2014. Zeldin had the backing of former Congressman and House Majority leader Eric Cantor (R-VA: 2011 – 2014)[34] as well as former Congressman Allen West (R-FL: 2011-2013),[35] Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)[36] and former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA: 1995-2007).[37][38] He was endorsed by the US Chamber of Commerce,[39] the National Federation of Independent Business,[40] the Suffolk County Republican Committee,[41] and Suffolk County Conservative Party Chairman Ed Walsh.[42][43][44] In April 2014, when asked how he would have voted for the GOP Budget plan, Zeldin said he hadn't read the Republican budget.[45] As a result, in May 2014, a staffer for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) sent an email questioning if Zeldin is a coward for not explaining his position on the House GOP budget[46] A spokesman for the DCCC also posted a photo to Twitter of Zeldin's face superimposed on the body of the Cowardly Lion from the movie, The Wizard of Oz.[47] This angered Republicans.[48] Both Congressman Steve Israel and Tim Bishop later condemned the email, stating that they had not been aware of the comments to be made, and that they disagreed with them.[49][50]

On November 4, 2014, Zeldin defeated Bishop in the election to represent New York's First Congressional District in the United States Congress.[51]


  1. ^ a b c d "Lee M. Zeldin". New York State Senate. Retrieved June 26, 2014. 
  2. ^ http://41.media.tumblr.com/a44be35a09b1216c65547dd68af84818/tumblr_n5nt1uDHms1tbvt9ao1_500.jpg
  3. ^ Long Island Elections - Voter's Guide - Lee M. Zeldin, Newsday, November 5, 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Lee Zeldin's Biography". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved June 26, 2014. 
  5. ^ http://www.aldonys.org/files/Aldonys2013Journal.pdf
  6. ^ a b The Jewish Week: "L.I.’s Zeldin Stepping Into GOP Minefield - Only Republican Jew in the House, Rep.-elect will have to negotiate party’s fault lines" by Stewart Ain November 12, 2014
  7. ^ "Lee Zeldin- Not On Our Side". YouTube. 
  8. ^ "Suffolk County Stands Up Against Extremists". longislandexchange.com. 
  9. ^ "Our Campaigns - NY State Senate 03 Race - Nov 02, 2010". ourcampaigns.com. 
  10. ^ "GOP Senate Hopefuls Distance Themselves From Paladino (Updated)". NY State of Politics. October 11, 2010. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  11. ^ Epstein, Reid (October 11, 2010). "3rd S.D.: Zeldin 'does not condone' Confederate flag (update)". Newsday. 
  12. ^ "Our Campaigns - NY State Senate 03 Race - Nov 06, 2012". ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved February 20, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Senator Lee Zeldin Secures Repeal of the Saltwater Fishing License Fee". nysenate.gov. 
  14. ^ "Governor Cuomo Directs DEC to Issue Refunds to New Yorkers for Saltwater Fishing Licenses". Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. 
  15. ^ "State Senator Lee M. Zeldin Joins Governor Cuomo For Ceremonial Bill Signing on the Two Year Moratorium of the Saltwater Fishing License Fee". Long Island Politics. August 5, 2011. Retrieved June 28, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Project Vote Smart - The Voter's Self Defense System". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved February 20, 2015. 
  17. ^ "MTA Pay-Roll Tax Repeal Bill Signed Into Law". Long Island Politics. December 12, 2011. Retrieved June 25, 2014. 
  18. ^ "A8354-2011 - NY Senate Open Legislation - Enacts the Marriage Equality Act relating to ability of individuals to marry - New York State Senate". nysenate.gov. Retrieved February 20, 2015. 
  19. ^ Lavers, Michael (April 19, 2011). "Fire Islanders Celebrate Passage of Marriage Equality Bill". Fire Island News. Retrieved June 25, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Project Vote Smart - The Voter's Self Defense System". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved February 20, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Zeldin Releases Statement on Gun Legislation". Patchogue, New York Patch. 
  22. ^ "State Senate Dems Raising Green Off Green Issues". NY Daily News. 
  23. ^ "Zeldin Pushes Back Against ‘Oil Slick’ Award". nystateofpolitics.com. 
  24. ^ "Project Vote Smart - The Voter's Self Defense System". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved February 20, 2015. 
  25. ^ "Project Vote Smart - The Voter's Self Defense System". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved February 20, 2015. 
  26. ^ http://votesmart.org/interest-group/936/rating/7217
  27. ^ "A2597A-2013 - NY Senate Open Legislation - Enacts the New York state DREAM ACT; repealer - New York State Senate". nysenate.gov. Retrieved February 20, 2015. 
  28. ^ Ramirez, David (March 31, 2012). "New York Dream Act Proponents Increase Pressure On Governor Cuomo To Provide Budget Support". Huffington Post. Retrieved June 26, 2014. 
  29. ^ LaRocco, Paul (October 14, 2013). "Suffolk: Bellone credits Zeldin on state PTSD program". Newsday. Retrieved June 26, 2014. 
  30. ^ http://www.newsday.com/long-island/politics/spin-cycle/rice-and-zeldin-file-first-bills-aimed-at-aiding-vets-1.10068978.  Missing or empty |title= (help);
  31. ^ "Our Campaigns - NY - District 01 Race - Nov 04, 2008". ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved February 20, 2015. 
  32. ^ "Zeldin to challenge Bishop for House seat". Newsday. Retrieved February 20, 2015. 
  33. ^ "Zeldin holds early lead in GOP primary". timesreview.com. 
  34. ^ "Eric Cantor still on for Saturday Long Island fundraiser, Zeldin campaign says - Newsday". Newsday. Retrieved February 20, 2015. 
  35. ^ "Long Island Republican Questioned Over Event with Tea Party Favorite West". NY Daily News. 
  36. ^ "McCain Takes Sides in House GOP Primary in New York". At the Races. 
  37. ^ http://www.spreadingsantorum.com/
  38. ^ "Eric Cantor to attend fundraiser for Lee Zeldin's run for Congress". Newsday. Retrieved February 20, 2015. 
  39. ^ "Zeldin Nets Chamber Of Commerce Endorsement". NY State of Politics. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  40. ^ "http://www.nfib.com/article/nfibny-backs-zeldin-in-hot-1st-district-65879/". National Federation of Independent Business. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  41. ^ Murphy, Rick (February 19, 2014). "Suffolk GOP Endorses Lee Zeldin". The Independent. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  42. ^ "Edward Walsh, Conservative Party chief, to be charged with fraud, sources say - Newsday". Newsday. Retrieved February 20, 2015. 
  43. ^ "Zeldin Gets Suffolk County Nod". NY State of Politics. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  44. ^ http://www.zeldinforcongress.com/uncategorized/edwalsh
  45. ^ "1st C.D.: How Zeldin balked at 'blindly' endorsing Ryan budget". Newsday. 
  46. ^ http://jpupdates.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Screen-Shot-2014-05-15-at-9.50.39-AM.png
  47. ^ http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.1798456!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/article_970/zeldincowardlylion-2.jpg
  48. ^ "Fake Outrage and the Wizard of Oz on Long Island". NY Daily News. 
  49. ^ "DCCC's Steve Israel slams own committee for email calling Republican 'coward' - Washington Times". The Washingtion Times. Retrieved February 20, 2015. 
  50. ^ "Democrats retreat from 'coward' slam at Zeldin". Newsday. 
  51. ^ LaRocco, Paul (November 5, 2014). "Lee Zeldin Defeats Tim Bishop, Kathleen Rice Wins Over Bruce Blakeman for Congress". Newsday. Retrieved November 10, 2014. 

External links[edit]

New York State Senate
Preceded by
Brian X. Foley
New York State Senate, 3rd District
Succeeded by
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
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
David Young
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Ryan Zinke