I am a common-sense, hands-on Democrat, who will seek, practical, workable, solutions to the most important problems we face. As a moderate, with centrist views, I will reach out to congressional lawmakers throughout the nation, from all walks of life, to share dialogue, build consensus, and effect positive change.
I was born and raised in Rockland one of nine children, went to Suffern High School, graduated from West Point, served my country in the 10th Mountain Division, was airborne Ranger qualified and retired as a Captain. I later had a career in the pharmaceutical industry as a sales representative and a managed care specialist. I am currently the primary care giver to my elderly mother.
About 20 years ago, however, I was drawn into the emerging political struggle between the Hasidic and secular communities in Ramapo. I was one of the original organizers of Preserve Ramapo and Preserve Rockland and ran for office many times, always against long odds, and often because we simply needed to have somebody on the ballot. I’ve been involved in several large-scale attempts to recruit and elect members to the County Democratic Committee, and I have personally led several successful pro se legal efforts to force referenda and get our candidates on the ballot. I am also a current member of the Rockland County Planning Board for eight years running.
I do not subscribe to the unwritten rule that says we are not allowed to talk about actions taken by leaders in the Hasidic community, or anyone else, that have such profound, detrimental effects upon our local institutions and quality of life. We have a right of free speech under the First Amendment of the constitution. We must exercise that right or risk losing it. No single person or group should be shielded from totally legitimate political criticism while the rest of us are fair game for accusations of every kind at any time.
My top priorities in Congress, among many, will be tax relief for home owners and senior citizens, protecting and improving our public-school systems, and the overhaul of RLUIPA, aka the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. RLUIPA is a federal law that was passed in 2000, with little or no public debate. It has been misinterpreted by the courts, and abused by developers and religious groups throughout the Hudson Valley to advance high-density housing and other forms of land use that controvert legally enacted zoning statutes. This is often done by bludgeoning municipalities small and large into submission with the threat of lawsuits that entail massive legal costs. The bottom line here is that RLIUPA is being used in ways that were never originally intended.
I will only accept campaign contributions from private citizens that live or own property within the 17th district. The root of nearly every single problem we face as a nation is a byproduct of big dollar contributions from powerful special interests that are fed to congressional candidates from outside their districts. These big donors have their own agenda that does not include our local concerns, and thus we are robbed of real-time, responsive, representation in the halls of Congress.
As your representative, I will answer directly to the people of the 17th district, to the exclusion of all others, and will not hesitate to bring our most urgent issues to the attention of key leaders in Washington, regardless of the special interests or powerful people that may take offense.
My diverse life and work experience, coupled with a long running involvement in the struggle to uphold our system of government at the local level, provides me with the insight and capacity so necessary to be an effective public servant in the 17th district.
With values and beliefs near the middle of the ideological spectrum, and a willingness to work with people from across the political landscape, I believe I am perfectly positioned for victory in this newly drawn district come November. I ask for your support in this exciting endeavor!