Jerrold Nadler, Democrat/Working Families/Women’s Equality
What three things do you most want to get done as Member of Congress during the next two years?
My top three priorities are: 1. Continuing to advance civil rights and protect civil liberties. 2. Increasing investment in transportation that will grow the economy, create jobs and protect the environment. 3. Pursuing intelligent economic policies that will stimulate our economy, protect working families and help people emerge out of poverty.
Do you think you will be able to work with the opposition party? How?
I am happy to work with my Republican colleagues in the House of Representatives, on issues where we have commonality. For instance, I am deeply proud of the bi-partisan passage (and renewal of) the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act that I led with my colleagues Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Peter King (R-NY). This law provides critical health care and compensation for our 9/11 responders and survivors. I was also particularly proud to have introduced, with Judiciary Committee Chairman Goodlatte (R-VA), the USA Freedom Act, which President Obama signed into law last year. This law is the first-ever legislative curtailing of the Patriot Act. The legislation prohibits the intelligence community from unconstitutionally engaging in bulk data collection within the United States. Additionally, as the Ranking Democratic Member on the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet of the Judiciary Committee, I introduced the Fair Play Fair Pay Act legislation with Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). This bipartisan legislation would harmonize and modernize the outdated rules that currently govern music licensing for digital and terrestrial radio broadcasts.
What book has had the greatest impact on you, and why?
“The Other America” by Michael Harrington. I read this book when I was a ninth-grader at Stuyvesant High School. I became interested in the book because President John F. Kennedy mentioned that it had a profound effect on him. The book opened up my eyes to the extent of real poverty in America. The book is also credited with moving President Johnson to create the War on Poverty – his Great Society Program – in 1964, the goal of which was the elimination of poverty and racial injustice in the United States.
Philip Rosenthal, Republican/Conservative/Independence/Stop Iran Deal
I want to keep us safe. The Chelsea bombing is the latest proof that we are not. I strongly oppose the Iran nuclear deal, which created an existential threat to Israel and our great city. I would provide funding to rebuild our military and expand our missile defense, and ensure that we support our allies, like Israel.
We need to provide real school choice to parents and allow experimentation and competition in education. I support charter schools and would offer parents vouchers, education tax credits and education savings accounts.
Too many New Yorkers are struggling just to pay the rent. We have special tax deductions for homeowners, but do nothing for renters. I want to sponsor a bill to create a 10% renter’s tax credit for residents who pay more than 40% of their income in rent and are not in a high-income bracket.
Of course! I’m a physicist, lawyer, and entrepreneur, not a career politician, so I know how to work with people – and contrary to prevailing sentiment, both Democrats and Republicans are people. In my company, we regularly partner with competitors. In fact, outside of Washington, a difference of opinion is seen as an opportunity for a creative solution, and compromise is not a dirty word.
The gridlock in Congress is shameful – Congress has well earned its single-digit approval rating. If my customers gave us such a low approval rating, I’d be fired. It is time for us to vote out all incumbents who have not demonstrated the courage to cross party lines and put constituents ahead of party.
A Congressman can do much more than just vote, and must be a voice of the community on all issues that matter – whether local or federal. One must lead and bring people together with no excuses.
“Rebbe” by Joseph Telushkin. It’s loaded with wisdom about how to be a better person and positively impact people. Every leader should read this book. It also gave insight into the problems faced by our education system and provided a new perspective on the proper role of religion in a secular society.