Current Position: US Representative for NY District 1 since 2015
Candidate: 2022 Governor for District 1
Former Position(s): State Senator from 2011 – 2014
There’s a desperate, urgent need for geographic & political balance in Albany. Just discussed this with @OTHNews
while in Western NY & the Southern Tier these past 48 hours. NYers are ALL IN to FIRE Cuomo & Save Our State! They’re ready to vote TODAY!
Congressman Zeldin on “Life, Liberty & Levin” with Mark Levin
News 12 The Bronx, – September 15, 2021
Source: Government page
Congressman Lee Zeldin grew up in Suffolk County, New York, where he graduated from William Floyd High School in Mastic Beach. Congressman Zeldin graduated from the State University of New York at Albany (SUNY) and then Albany Law School, becoming New York’s youngest attorney at the time at the age of 23.
After completing the Army ROTC program, Congressman Zeldin served four years on Active Duty. During that time, he served in different capacities, including as a Military Intelligence Officer, Prosecutor and Military Magistrate. While assigned to the Army’s elite 82nd Airborne Division, in the summer of 2006, Congressman Zeldin was deployed to Tikrit, Iraq, with an infantry battalion of fellow paratroopers in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Following his service on active duty, in 2007, Congressman Zeldin transitioned from Active Duty to the Army Reserve, where he currently serves as a Lieutenant Colonel.
In 2008, Congressman Zeldin opened a successful law practice in Smithtown, New York, which he operated full time until he was elected to the New York State Senate in 2010, representing New York’s 3rd Senate District. 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, following four years in the State Senate, Congressman Zeldin was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, representing New York’s First Congressional District.
Throughout his tenure in Congress, Representative Zeldin has continued to secure important victories for his district. He has championed the successful effort to save Plum Island, steered a $2 billion Electron Ion Collider (EIC) to Brookhaven National Lab (BNL), and ushered into law his Adult Day Health Care Act to aid veterans who are 70% of more disabled and his bill to safeguard veterans’ homeownership opportunities. Congressman Zeldin also secured a new veterans health care clinic on the East End of Long Island, saved a vital communications spectrum for local first responders, helped lead the effort to permanently reauthorize the Zadroga Act and Victim Compensation Fund for 9/11 first responders and their families, and advanced several vital Army Corps projects for his district, including the over $1 billion Fire Island to Montauk Point (FIMP) project.
His office has also successfully resolved over 15,000 cases in favor of NY-1 constituents.
Congressman Zeldin serves on two Committees in the House of Representatives: Financial Services and Foreign Affairs, where he serves as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Additionally, Congressman Zeldin serves as co-chair of the Long Island Sound Caucus and founding member of the National Estuary Program Caucus and as one of two Jewish Republicans in Congress, also serves as co-chairman of the House Republican Israel Caucus, which has over 100 members, and has been a stalwart opponent of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, coleading a House passed resolution (H.Res.246) to combat it.
Congressman Zeldin resides in his hometown of Shirley with his wife, Diana, and their twin daughters, Mikayla and Arianna.
He serves as co-chairman of the House Republican Israel Caucus, which has over 100 members, in addition to serving as co-chair of the Long Island Sound Caucus and founding Member of the National Estuary Caucus.
Congressman Zeldin is also a member of over 40 other caucuses, including the Congressional Military Family Caucus, Coalition for Autism Research and Education, Congressional Building Trades Caucus, and Congressional Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus.
Lee Michael Zeldin (born January 30, 1980) is an American attorney, politician, and officer in the United States Army Reserve. A Republican, he has represented New York’s 1st congressional district in the United States House of Representatives since 2015. He represents the eastern two-thirds of Suffolk County, including most of Smithtown, the entirety of Brookhaven, Riverhead, Southold, Southampton, East Hampton, Shelter Island, and a small portion of Islip. From 2011 to 2014, Zeldin served as a member of the New York State Senate from the 3rd Senate district.
During Donald Trump‘s presidency, Zeldin was a staunch Trump ally. He prominently defended Trump during his first impeachment hearings in relation to the Trump–Ukraine scandal. After Trump lost the 2020 presidential election and made false claims of fraud, Zeldin voted against certification of Arizona‘s and Pennsylvania‘s electoral votes.
In April 2021, Zeldin announced his candidacy for governor of New York in 2022. He is the nominee of the Republican Party and the Conservative Party, having defeated three challengers in the Republican gubernatorial primary. He has selected NYPD officer Alison Esposito as his preferred running mate.
Early life and education
Zeldin was born in East Meadow, New York, the son of Merrill Schwartz and David Zeldin. He was raised in Suffolk County, New York, and graduated from William Floyd High School in Mastic Beach, New York, in 1998. He also attended Hebrew school.
Zeldin received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the SUNY University at Albany in 2001. He received a Juris Doctor from Albany Law School in May 2003. In 2004, he was admitted to the New York State Bar.
Military service and legal practice
Zeldin received an Army ROTC commission as a second lieutenant, and served in the United States Army from 2003 to 2007, first in the Military Intelligence Corps. In 2007, he transitioned from active duty to the Army Reserve, where he achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel.
In 2007, Zeldin became an attorney for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. In 2008, he started a general-practice law firm in Smithtown, New York. He operated it full-time until he was elected to New York’s 3rd State Senate district in 2010.
New York State Senate (2011–2014)
In 2010 Zeldin ran in the New York State Senate‘s 3rd district, challenging Democratic incumbent Brian X. Foley. Zeldin defeated Foley with 57% of the vote. Zeldin was reelected in 2012, defeating Democrat Francis Genco with 56% of the vote.
In June 2011, Zeldin voted against the Marriage Equality Act, which the Senate passed 33–29. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law. In a statement after the bill passed, Zeldin said: “It is my belief that marriage should be defined as between a man and a woman.”
Zeldin did not vote on the NY SAFE Act, a gun control bill that passed the New York State Senate on January 14, 2013, and later became law. He missed the vote because he was in Virginia on Army Reserve duty. In a statement released to the press after the vote, he said he would have voted against the measure.
In March 2014, Zeldin voted against the New York Dream Act, which would allow undocumented students who meet in-state tuition requirements to obtain financial aid to study at the university level.
U.S. House of Representatives
On October 6, 2013, Zeldin announced he would again seek the Republican nomination to run against Bishop. His state senate district included much of the congressional district’s western portion.
Zeldin defeated George Demos in the Republican primary and ran unopposed for the Conservative Party nomination in the June 24 primary. On November 4, he defeated Bishop with 54% of the vote.
In February 2015, the National Republican Congressional Committee announced that Zeldin was one of 12 members in the Patriot Program, a program designed to help protect vulnerable Republican incumbents in the 2016 election.
In the 2016 Republican primary, Zeldin faced no opposition. In the November 8 general election, he faced Democratic nominee Anna Throne-Holst, a member of the Southampton Town Board. Zeldin won with 58% of the vote.
Zeldin ran unopposed in the 2018 Republican primary. In the November general election his chief opponent was Democratic nominee Perry Gershon, who also had the endorsement of the Working Families Party.
Zeldin defeated Gershon, 51.5%–47.4%.
As of August 2020, Zeldin was one of two Jewish Republicans in Congress.
- Committee on Foreign Affairs
- Committee on Financial Services
- Bipartisan Heroin and Opioids Task Force
- Congressional Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus
- Congressional Estuary Caucus
- Conservative Climate Caucus
- Climate Solutions Caucus
- House Republican Israel Caucus (Co-chair)
- Long Island Sound Caucus (Co-chair)
- Republican Main Street Partnership
2022 gubernatorial campaign
On April 30, 2021, Zeldin announced that Erie and Niagara counties’ Republican party chairs had endorsed his campaign, giving him the necessary 50% of state committee support to gain the Republican nomination. In June 2021, Zeldin was named the “presumed nominee” of the Republican party by Republican state chair Nick Langworthy after he earned 85% of a straw poll vote of county leaders, and was also called the “presumptive nominee” of the Conservative Party of New York State by Conservative state chair Gerard Kassar. As of August 2021, Zeldin had been endorsed by 49 of New York’s 62 county Republican party chairs.
Zeldin’s campaign reportedly raised $4 million during the first half of 2021 and $4.3 million in the six months preceding 2022. 90% of his donations are small-dollar donations. He has visited every county in New York state twice during his campaign.
In November 2021, Zeldin declined to commit to campaigning for governor with Donald Trump, saying, “There are plenty of New Yorkers who love him, there are plenty of New Yorkers out there who don’t.”
On March 1, 2022, Zeldin received the New York Republican State Committee‘s designation for governor of New York; 85% of the committee voted to back him. He has also received the designation of the Conservative Party. Zeldin’s preferred pick for lieutenant governor (Alison Esposito, a recently retired NYPD Deputy Inspector) ran unopposed and also received the state party’s designation.
Zeldin’s running mate in the 2022 gubernatorial election, Alison Esposito, is openly gay, and their election would make her the first openly gay lieutenant governor in New York history.
Zeldin will face incumbent Governor Kathy Hochul in the November general election.
In May 2015, Zeldin voted for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a bill he co-sponsored, which would prohibit abortions in cases where the fetus’s probable age is 20 weeks or more, with exceptions in cases of rape, incest, or if the mother’s life was in danger. The act would also impose criminal penalties on doctors who violated the ban. It did not pass.
On September 18, 2015, Zeldin voted for the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015, a bill that would defund the nonprofit organization Planned Parenthood for one year unless the organization agreed not to provide abortion services.
Zeldin considers himself pro-life, and has said that regardless of what the Supreme Court decides on Roe v. Wade, “nothing changes in the state of New York”. When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022, Zeldin said it was “a victory for life, for family, for the Constitution, and for federalism”.
Zeldin has opposed New York’s bail reform, which went into effect on January 1, 2020, eliminating cash bail for most misdemeanor and nonviolent felony charges, repeatedly calling for its repeal.
In April 2015, Zeldin and Senator Chuck Schumer introduced the Fluke Fairness Act. The bill would have changed the current system for managing fluke fishing quotas by creating a regional approach to updating quotas and standards based on geographic, scientific, and economic data. It did not pass.
On July 15, 2015, Zeldin introduced the Exclusive Economic Zone Clarification Act. The bill proposed to amend the boundary in part of the federal Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). It would give fisheries management of Block Island Sound exclusively to New York and Rhode Island. (Some Connecticut fishermen alleged that the bill could put them out of business.) The bill died in committee.
In September 2015, Zeldin and Citizens Campaign for the Environment executive director Adrienne Esposito condemned a proposed federal plan for dumping of dredged materials, saying, “We can’t just assume that dumping these waste spoils in the Long Island Sound is environmentally benign.”
In April 2018, Zeldin said he did not support the Paris Agreement in its form at that time. He expressed concern about “other countries that are contributing to very adverse impacts on our climate but not having the level of responsibility that they need to have in stepping up and making a positive change in their own countries”.
In February 2016, Zeldin and Representatives Mike Pompeo and Frank LoBiondo sought visas to travel to Iran to check the country’s compliance with the Iran nuclear deal framework. In June Iran called the request a “publicity stunt” and said it would deny the visas.
In 2015, Zeldin co-sponsored two bills in Congress to combat Lyme disease, the Tick-Borne Disease Research and Accountability and Transparency Act of 2015 and the 21st Century Cures Act.
According to an April 2020 announcement by Zeldin, he helped Suffolk County obtain more than 1.2 million pieces of personal protective equipment from the White House for Suffolk County to aid workers against the COVID-19 pandemic, after conversations with Jared Kushner.
After Governor Kathy Hochul imposed a vaccination mandate on health care workers, Zeldin criticized Stony Brook University Hospital for firing employees who declined to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and for using incendiary language in termination letters to those employees. He also opposes mask mandates and COVID-19 vaccine mandates for schoolchildren.
Zeldin has said that Israel is “America’s strongest ally” and that Congress must “protect Israel’s right to self-defense”. In 2016, he spoke in support of the anti-Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) legislation that passed the New York State Senate. In March 2017, he co-sponsored a bipartisan bill in the House, the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, to oppose boycotts of Israel and “further combat the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement”. He supported the Trump administration’s decision to relocate the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May 2018 as part of the United States recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel.
As a New York state senator in 2011, Zeldin voted against allowing same-sex marriage in New York during roll-call for the Marriage Equality Act, which legalized same-sex marriage in the state. In June 2015, after the United States Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that state-level bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, Zeldin would not comment about his view of same-sex marriage, but indicated he believed the issue should have been decided at the state level. A month later, he co-sponsored the First Amendment Defense Act, a bill “to protect individuals and institutions from punitive action by the government – such as revoking tax exempt status or withholding federal grants or benefits – for believing that marriage is between one man and one woman and for opposing sex outside of marriage”. Critics of the measure said it would enable people to violate same-sex couples’ and their children’s legal rights by discriminating against them. In May 2019, Zeldin voted against the Equality Act.
In November 2017, Zeldin said he was not yet satisfied with the proposed Republican tax bill. He cited his concerns with the elimination of the state and local tax deduction. The same month, House Speaker Paul Ryan canceled plans to attend a fundraiser for Zeldin after Zeldin voted against the House version of the bill. In December, Zeldin called the tax bill “a geographic redistribution of wealth” that takes money from some states while providing tax relief to others. He suggested that the removal of the state tax deduction could have been implemented gradually.
Zeldin voted against the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which passed in December 2017. He supported the corporate tax cuts in the bill but did not approve of the limit for property tax deductions, preferring a cap of $20,000 or $25,000 to the $10,000 cap in the bill.
On May 3, 2016, Zeldin endorsed Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee. Zeldin had previously indicated that he would support whoever won the Republican nomination. During the campaign, Zeldin faulted Trump for a comment about Khizr and Ghazala Khan, a Gold Star family whose son Humayun, a captain in the Army, was killed during the Iraq War, but said he would continue to support Trump’s candidacy.
During Trump’s presidency, Zeldin was a staunch Trump supporter.
In 2017, Zeldin supported Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, saying it offered the FBI a chance at a “fresh start” to rebuild trust. In May 2018, Zeldin called for the criminal prosecution of former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe. Also that month Zeldin called for creating a special counsel investigation into the FBI and the Department of Justice regarding their investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections. Zeldin said the investigations were launched with “insufficient intelligence and biased motivations”, with surveillance warrants for Trump campaign staffers obtained in “deeply flawed and questionable” ways. He called for an investigation into the FBI’s decision to conclude its investigation into the Hillary Clinton email controversy.
During the 2018–19 United States federal government shutdown, Zeldin voted with the Republican caucus against the appropriations measure to fund the federal government. He instructed the House to withhold his pay until the shutdown ended, saying: “It’s crazy to me that members of Congress get paid while other federal employees do not.”
Zeldin defended Trump amid the Trump–Ukraine scandal, which set off an impeachment inquiry against Trump over his request that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Zeldin said in October 2019, “It is crystal clear… that any allegation that President Trump was trying to get President Zelensky [sic] to manufacture dirt on the Bidens is just not true.”
In the seven impeachment deposition transcripts released as of November 2019, no Republican had spoken more than Zeldin, who is referenced more than 550 times.
In December 2020, Zeldin was one of 126 Republican members of the House of Representatives to sign an amicus brief in support of Texas v. Pennsylvania, a lawsuit filed at the United States Supreme Court contesting the results of the 2020 presidential election, in which Biden defeated Trump. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case on the basis that Texas lacked standing under Article III of the Constitution to challenge the results of an election held by another state. When asked in January 2021 to respond to the release of an audio recording of a phone call in which Trump pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger to overturn the 2020 election and “find” enough votes for him to win, Zeldin responded by criticizing the media.
On January 6, 2021, Zeldin objected to the official certification of the results of the 2020 presidential election in Congress. A violent, armed mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on that day, inspired by allegations of election fraud. Zeldin disavowed the violence and argued with protesters at his Patchogue office who linked his espousing of election fraud conspiracy theories to the Capitol attack and called on him to resign. On January 7, he publicly acknowledged for the first time that Biden would be the next president.
In February 2015, Zeldin introduced his first bill, to eliminate the dollar limit for loans that the United States Department of Veterans Affairs can guarantee for a veteran. In February 2016 he proposed federal legislation to fund a three-year, $25-million nationwide veterans’ peer-support program modeled on one he helped establish while in the New York State Senate.
Zeldin was raised within Conservative Judaism, and his wife, Diana, is Mormon. The couple have identical twin daughters. They live in Shirley, New York. On September 18, 2021, Zeldin announced that he had been diagnosed with leukemia in November 2020, but had achieved disease remission following treatment.
|Working Families||Tim Bishop||7,437||2.7|
|Total||Tim Bishop (incumbent)||162,083||58.4|
|Democratic||Brian X. Foley (incumbent)||30,876||42.9|
|Republican gain from Democratic|
|Republican||Lee Zeldin (incumbent)||52,057||55.7|
|Democratic||Francis T. Genco||41,372||44.3|
|Working Families||Tim Bishop||5,457||3.2|
|Total||Tim Bishop (incumbent)||78,722||45.6|
|Republican gain from Democratic|
|Total||Lee Zeldin (incumbent)||188,499||58.2|
|Working Families||Anna Throne-Holst||6,147||1.9|
|Women’s Equality||Anna Throne-Holst||2,496||0.8|
|Total||Lee Zeldin (incumbent)||139,027||51.5|
|Working Families||Perry Gershon||3,778||1.4|
|Women’s Equality||Kate Browning||2,988||1.1|
|Total||Lee Zeldin (incumbent)||205,715||54.9|
|Working Families||Nancy Goroff||8,316||2.2|
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- Rep. Zeldin Says U.S. Should Be Willing to Decertify Iran Deal Bloomberg April 25, 2018
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- “VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 217”.
- “These 25 Republicans should have known better about the Equality Act”.
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- Congressman Lee Zeldin official U.S. House website
- Zeldin for Governor official gubernatorial campaign website
- Zeldin for Congress Archived December 9, 2020, at the Wayback Machine official congressional campaign website
- Lee Zeldin at Curlie
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Committee on Foreign Affairs
- Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa
- Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade
- Committee on Financial Services
- Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance
- Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
- Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Finance