Congressman Lee Zeldin was sworn in to the U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday.
Mr. Zeldin (R-Shirley) was elected to the 1st District seat in November, winning his election over six-term Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) by a nearly 16,000 vote margin. His staff consists of Eric Amidon, chief of staff; Scott Shiller, deputy chief of staff and legislative director; Mark Woolley, district director; and Jennifer DiSiena, communications director.
Mr. Zeldin, who was sworn in by Speaker of the House John Boehner, sent the following email to supporters on Tuesday.
“Interesting first day in office. I had the honor and privilege to be sworn into the United States House of Representatives. I still remember the first time I took an oath when getting Commissioned into the U.S. Army nearly 12 years ago. I love our constitution and the responsibility to support and defend our freedoms and liberties.
“I love our country. We face challenges…we always have…but I see great potential for there to be so much important progress with our economy, border security, foreign policy, veterans affairs, health care, education and more. I’m concerned with our nation’s debt, deficits and the fact that we have only seen one federal budget passed since 2007.
“I ran for Congress to be part of positive change…to notch one victory after another wherever possible. I’m encouraged that my first week in office can give me the opportunity to pass the Keystone XL Pipeline legislation, the Hire More Heroes Act, change the 30 hour work week under Obamacare to 40, and more. I just want to see America heading in the right direction again.
“There is a lot of frustration that I share with you about the direction our country has been heading in recent years. The President of the United States thinks he is a monarch. There were 382 bills that passed the House that Harry Reid refused to bring to the floor of the U.S. Senate for a vote these past couple of years. These included good bills like the 3 I just mentioned. I was also frustrated that Republicans weren’t more successful at fighting back. At times, they were trying hard but the media just wouldn’t cover their good efforts. Many times I didn’t think the Republicans put up enough of a fight in the first place
“The President’s unconstitutional Executive amnesty action is a huge recent example. We must confront this Presidential overreach immediately in this new Congress with maximum effectiveness.
“Elections have consequences and this past November’s election dramatically shifted the landscape in Washington. Harry Reid is no longer the Majority Leader and House Republicans have the largest majority since the 1920s. This is an opportunity with this new Congress to unite and notch one victory after another for America.
“Today’s roll call vote for Speaker of the House was quite interesting. I didn’t prejudge this decision, but have kept an open mind on this vote since the election. Frustration with the past was overwhelmed with hope for the future. I may not always agree with my leaders as I learned in the Army, but duty requires working as a team. Abraham Lincoln once referenced the quote that a House divided against itself cannot stand. The result is not doubtful…he later said in that speech…We shall not fail, if we stand firm, we shall not fail. That was just over 150 years ago, but his words still ring true today.
“Let that be a message to leadership, rank and file, conservatives and moderates. There is a place in this historically large House Republican conference for Conservatives and moderates, leadership and rank and file, whether you are from New York or Oklahoma. Americans want a united Republican conference with a backbone and ideas. Let’s give America what she is asking for and lead, standing firm, we will not fail.
“I’m used to being called on last or close to it with a last name of “Zeldin”. The roll call vote for Speaker of the House goes alphabetically. As I sat in my chair listening to the vote it was like dejavu to 2 years ago when the effort to replace the Speaker fell below expectations. I was watching that vote at the beginning of 2013 from afar, but I saw the disorganization of the effort and was very unimpressed.
“Many people have asked me to make Louie Gohmert Speaker of the House. That is not possible when you have 435 Members of Congress, 247 Republicans, and only 3 votes in your favor when you get to the end of the alphabet. I like Louie a lot, but 3 votes is a very unimpressive operation from any analysis. By the time I voted in the alphabetical roll call, the race for Speaker had already been decided.
“When I was in Army ROTC as a freshman at SUNY-Albany, I remember being at the Field Leadership Reaction Course at West Point. I was in a squad of 10 and one of us was appointed as the squad leader. We were given equipment, wood and a mission to get all of our supplies and personnel from one side of the obstacle course to the other in a short amount of time. The Squad Leader saw one path and the other nine each found our own. When the squad leader tried to get the rest of us to follow him we spent too much time disagreeing and arguing over strategy and not enough time banding together to follow another route that the Squad Leader wanted to take that would work just as well. We realized a few missions in to the training that working together can get our equipment and personnel across the obstacle course every time.
“The point of the story is that even though Congress isn’t a military unit, we have a clear mission, and multiple ways to achieve it. I’ll do everything in my power to band together with my colleagues to figure out how to accomplish the goals I have to protect our economy, security and constitution.
“While you may disagree with me at times, we both could benefit from working together, because I truly see a path forward that will allow us to improve our country. There is too much at stake for us to be divided in any way shape or form. 2015 is a new year filled with new hope and opportunities. Let’s navigate this together to better our community, state and nation.”