LOCAL CONGRESSMAN STEVE ISRAEL ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT
January 7, 2016 -- Congressman Steve Israel (D-Huntington), whose district encompasses the North Shore of Long Island from Huntington to the Queens line, announced yesterday that he will not seek re-election to a 9th term in the House of Representatives. First elected in 2000, Mr. Israel, for a decade represented the 2nd Congressional District which covered western Suffolk County, but after redistricting in 2012, the district of Peter King (R-Massapeaqua), who formerly represented this area was squeezed southward and Mr. Israel's (now the 3rd Congressional district) pushed westward and northward and includes all of the communities within the North Shore School District area.
Mr. Israel has over the past 15 years in the House risen through the ranks of the Democratic Party eventually attaining a top leadership post as Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Known for being a moderate, he has occassionally crossed the aisle on partisan issues to vote with Republicans, in particular on foreign policy - such as his vote this past September against the Iran Nuclear Deal signed by President Obama and more recently his vote in favor of adding more layers to the screening process for Syrian refugees seeking asylum in the United States.
According to the New York Times, Mr. Israel had expressed frustration with the polarization in Congress and the disappearance of centrists from both parties.
Although a national figure, Mr. Israel has shown that he understands very well that "all politics is local" as he has often been seen pressing the flesh at local events and street fairs like the Sea Cliff Mini-Mart. He has also been effective in directing federal dollars into the local area. In the last year and a half alone, through his efforts as well as those of state, county and local elected officials, funds for the Sea Cliff Avenue sewer line were secured, and in November Mr. Israel stood in front of the Sea Cliff Fire House to announce that he had secured a grant of $250,000 for Scott Pak breathing apparatuses for the Sea Cliff Fire Department.
"Congressman Israel has been a strong advocate of hard working Long Island families for the past 15 years," said Sea Cliff Mayor Bruce Kennedy. "He is a smart, honest and compassionate leader who has real common sense – characteristics that are lacking in most of the Washington crowd. Rep. Israel has been a staunch supporter of Sea Cliff and has fought hard to build a brighter future for all Long Islanders."
Mr. Kennedy added, "On behalf of all Sea Cliff residents, we thank Steve for his steadfast representation and advancement of America's promise of opportunity and equality. I wish him all the best in his upcoming endeavors and look forward to reading his next novel."
Mr. Israel said to the Times that in addition to his frustration with dysfunction in Congress, he had grown tired of having to constantly raise money begging donors for contributions, and wanted to devote more time to writing a second novel. His first, "The Global War on Morris" was quite well received by critics.
Assemblman Charles Lavine, whose 13th Assembly District includes Sea Cliff, has been mentioned in both the Times, and Newsday as a potential Democratic candidate for Mr. Israel's seat, while State Senator Jack Martins (R-Mineola), whose district includes Roslyn Harbor and parts of Glenwood Landing, is seen by many as the most likely Republican candidate.
"I am focused on continuing to work hard for the people of the 13th Assembly District, just as I have done for the last eleven years," said Assemblyman Lavine in response to questions from Northwordnews. "I commend Congressman Steve Israel for his tireless service to his district, the residents of Long Island, and the country. I truly wish him the best in his future endeavors."
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