WHAT FOLLOWS IS MY SECOND OPEN LETTER
TO MY CONGRESSMAN LEE ZELDIN:
I was absolutely shocked to receive your July newsletter in my e-mail box yesterday. After all, I’ve asked to be removed from the mailing list more than twenty times over a year and a half and across every medium I could think of: the “unsubscribe" button, e-mail, the contact function on your website, twitter (should I try TikTok before it’s banned?)
When my shock wore off, my wife put things in perspective. She noted, “No public official could be that incompetent and/or unresponsive to his constituents. Your congressman is obviously sending you an advance copy of his newsletter in hopes you will edit it for him.”
I was skeptical at first, but when I read your first few words, “July has marked another month of great victories …” I realized she was right. Never one to shirk from my civic duty, I offer the following revised newsletter. It’s a little more to the point of what the people of NY-1 are thinking about than your original list of fire department awards, “progress” on projects, etc. I did, however, include that unique “Zeldin spin” wherever I could.
July has been a historically painful month for Long Island as we work to emerge from the coronavirus outbreak stronger than ever before.
With nearly 350,000 unemployed Long Islanders, a recent Newsday report warning of a possible 28% job loss by 12/31, thousands of local families impacted by COVID-19, and thousands more facing – or about to be facing – eviction or foreclosure, I wouldn’t dare send out a newsletter heralding a familiar series of my banal public activities and achievements.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to. There was some good news for Long Islanders that came on the very last day of this challenging month. President Donald Trump rescinded the fair housing policies implemented by the previous administration. He shared the wonderful development that suburban housewives (what we call our women) “will no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low income housing built in your neighborhood.” While this is amazing news, it admittedly has caused some confusion among certain constituents – specifically the ones who are now “low income” themselves due to the high unemployment, catastrophic drop in GDP, corresponding fall in home values, and significant devaluation of 401Ks since March. Let me reassure you that you are still welcome on Lee Zeldin’s Long Island … assuming you are actually suburban. If you’re not sure, it’s usually pretty easy to tell by a quick look at your kids’ school pictures for the urban/suburban ratio. If you’re still uncertain, you may want to visit ReMax, Coldwell Banker, or Coach. Long Island realtors have a seven decade history of proudly protecting suburban housewives from "low income" elements and can answer any questions you have as well as I could.
While I’m proud to support Donald Trump and the amazing job he has done leading our country, I am not one to turn my back on my heritage and follow blindly. In fact, on my social platforms, I’ve begun sharing a series of “Auschwitz Memories” wherein the individual stories of those murdered in the Holocaust are amplified for a new generation. Several of my constituents asked me if I was worried the President would look unfavorably upon our district due to the painfully obvious comparisons of those political prisoners who were seized by secret federal forces, thrown on trains, and taken to their deaths with the political prisoners being thrown in rental cars by secret federal forces today. I am not worried. I am confident he will not connect those dots and NY-1 will remain in good standing.
That personal profile in courage aside, I spent much of July selflessly trying to take the minds of my electorate off the challenges of NY-1 and Long Island. I spent countless hours watching You Tube videos from New York City and the Pacific Northwest. Can you blame me for wanting to show people that things could be worse than they are right here? And I tried hard! According to a quick review of my Twitter page for July, it looks like my tweets referenced New York City nine times, Chicago three times, Seattle twice, and Portland once. While I failed to mention a single town in NY-1, I did mention Suffolk County twice and Long Island once. In fairness, if you combine those local mentions and count them as three, it is abundantly clear that, no matter what commenters say on my Twitter page, I pay just as much attention to my own district as I do to Chicago though not nearly as much as I do to New York City.
Supporting the troops remained a huge part of my message in July. Except for those troops alleged to have a bounty on their head thanks to Vladimir Putin. On 6/28, I tweeted a promise to find the truth behind those unconfirmed intelligence reports. On 6/30, I reported back that POTUS had not been briefed. Though several people appeared to think I should actually have been investigating whether the troops were at heightened risk, I clarified my real interest by not mentioning those soldiers again the entire month.
As usual, I attended multiple pro-veteran events this month. We made a meaningful effort to stem the heart-wrenching trend of suicides among our brave vets.A veteran myself, my support for vets was unwavering in July. Except for the senator Lt. Col. Tammy Duckworth (I was okay with my colleagues calling her a coward); Naval Lt. Chris David (I raised no objection to his brutal beating since he was BLM); Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman (because I regard him as a liar), and Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman (come on, he looks just like the lying guy).
I also demanded that our NY-1 schools, the finest anywhere, open on time. Then, through my silence, I gave tacit approval of President Trump’s plan to delay Election Day because of our inability to protect people from COVID-19 at the polling places. When an aide pointed out that the schools and the polling places are, in fact, the same structures, I was momentarily perplexed until I realized she must be a “Never Trumper” and disregarded her clever bit of fake news.
Just over 90 days away, Election Day, of course, is my top priority and it should be yours. You all know by now that, on two separate occasions in the past, I have demonstrated my commitment to mail-in voting by sending certain of my constituents a reminder of the deadline to cast their ballot by mail. True, in each instance, I “accidentally” used taxpayer money to share a date that was, in fact, past the deadline and would render the vote of anyone who listened to me meaningless. Naturally, nobody would try that three times. You have my word.
I am also well aware that in the 2016 election that brought Donald Trump and me to office, a full 20% of nationwide votes were cast by mail. Five states only allowed voting by mail. I know this all too well. Please know that, as your representative, I am not concerned about votes by mail. I am, of course, only concerned about non-suburban votes by mail – or “fraud” as we called it when I rode on Air Force One.
Finally, I was on Fox News. A lot. Did you see me?
It is an honor to represent you in the House, and I always enjoy hearing your thoughts on issues before Congress and how they affect our community on Long Island. Please do not ever hesitate to reach out to my office at (631) 289-1097. To receive email updates on important issues, please subscribe to my e-newsletter at Zeldin.House.Gov.
Member of Congress