Lee Zeldin for Governor: What New York Voters Should Know

-By Anastasia Kaliabakos

The 2022 New York gubernatorial election will take place on November 8, 2022. The incumbent in this election is Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul, who served as lieutenant governor under Andrew Cuomo until he resigned a little over a year ago. Her competitor is Congressman Lee Zeldin, who has represented eastern Long Island in Congress since 2015. Many people do not know much about Zeldin, who is currently trailing behind Hotchul in the polls. However, it is important to get a full grasp of what Lee Zeldin has to offer the state of New York if he were to win in November before it is time to cast your vote.

Zeldin grew up in Suffolk County, New York, graduating from William Floyd High School in Mastic Beach in 1998. He graduated from the State University of New York at Albany with a bachelor’s degree in political science and received a Juris Doctor from Albany Law School in May 2003. He was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2004.

From 2003 to 2007, Zeldin served in the United States Army. He first joined the Military Intelligence Corps as a Military Intelligence Officer, Prosecutor and Military Magistrate. In the summer of 2006, he was deployed to Tikrit, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2007, Zeldin transitioned from Active Duty to Army Reserve, and holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel to this day.

Following his military career, Zeldin became an attorney for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Soon afterwards, in 2008, he started his own law firm in Smithtown, New York. However, Zeldin sought to help his community more by running for the New York State Senate in 2010, where he was elevated to represent New York’s 3rd Senate District. Zeldin’s website reads, “As a State Senator, Congressman Zeldin led the successful effort to repeal the MTA Payroll Tax for 80 percent of employers, a job-killing tax that was hurting New York’’s small businesses. He also created the PFC Joseph Dwyer Program, a peer to peer counseling program for veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI); the program started in Suffolk County and quickly expanded across the state. Congressman Zeldin also successfully fought to repeal the Saltwater Fishing License Fee; a victory for tens of thousands of fishermen on Long Island.”

In 2014, Zeldin ran and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives to represent 

New York’s First Congressional District. It was evident that his work in the State Senate had revealed to New Yorkers that Zeldin had their best interests at heart and wanted him to represent them on a larger scale. Since joining Congress, Zeldin has racked up a number of accomplishments. He has helped pass legislation to aid veterans such as the Adult Day Health Care act and a bill to protect veterans’ homeownership opportunities. He also was instrumental in the opening of a veterans health care clinic on the East End of Long Island. Zeldin also serves on two different committees in the House of Representatives, Financial Services and Foreign Affairs. Zeldin is also one of the two Jewish Republicans in Congress, and currently serves as the co-chairman of the House Republican Israel Caucus. 

Now, Zeldin has decided to run for governor of New York against incumbent Kathy Hochul. Although Hotchul is leading in the polls, Zeldin has not given up on his desire to help the people of New York, who he has been representing in various ways for over a decade. His past accomplishments in the State Senate and Congress make him a very well-rounded candidate, and he will undoubtedly bring much to the table if he is elected in November. Additionally, Zeldin’s running mate, Alison Esposito, is openly gay: their election, therefore, would make Esposito the first openly gay lieutenant governor in the history of New York. Overall, a Zeldin win would be tremendous for New York’s Jewish and LGBTQ+ communities. 

Zeldin also has the potential to bridge the ever widening divide between Republicans and Democrats. On July 21, 2022, he was attacked at a campaign event in New York, where a man named David Jakubonis hopped on stage during Zeldin’s speech and tried to stab him with a sharp object. Thankfully, Zeldin was able to defend himself with the help of AMVETS national director Joe Chenelly and Alison Esposito, who tackled the attacker to the ground. A city councilman from Queens named Robert Holden came to the support of Zeldin after the attack, saying, “Just look at the current condition of New York City and New York State: There’s mayhem in our streets, in our courts, in our jails… We’re headed in the wrong direction. The handwriting is on the wall. Lee Zeldin is the best option for voters.”

If you’re interested in Lee Zeldin’s positions on specific topics that might affect you, visit his website at https://zeldinfornewyork.com/.  

Anastasia “Stacey” Kaliabakos is a current senior and Dana Scholar at the College of the Holy Cross. She is double majoring in classics and philosophy and is a member of the college’s Honors Program. On campus, Stacey is the Chief Opinions Editor of The Spire, co-Editor-in-Chief of the Parnassus Classical Journal, and co-President of the Delta Lambda chapter of the national Eta Sigma Phi Classics Honors Society. Anastasia has been featured in NEO Magazine and The National Herald and has contributed to The WestView News since 2018

Leave a Reply