03/17/15 6:00am
03/17/2015 6:00 AM
Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) is a House Foreign Affairs Committee member. (Courtesy file photo)

Congressman Lee Zeldin is a House Foreign Affairs Committee member. (Courtesy file photo)

Freshman Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) has had a good few weeks.

We’ll hold our fire — for now — about his joining forces with reactionary U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, spouting conspiracy theories about American foreign policy.

But we commend him for supporting local educators fighting the Common Core system by introducing legislation and also for standing with opponents of ear-splitting helicopter traffic over the East End.

Mr. Zeldin has weighed in on Common Core by writing an amendment to an education bill that ensures school districts won’t be penalized by a denial of federal funds if they opt out of using the “teach the test”-heavy form of education overhaul.

While you’d be hard-pressed to find many people who are against challenging our students to rely less on memorization when it comes to math -— or think more critically when it comes to English — the sweeping, comprehensive rollout of the Common Core standards itself has been a disaster.

Mr. Zeldin is correct in seeking to allow districts to bail on Common Core as it stands. (more…)

03/16/15 5:55pm
03/16/2015 5:55 PM
Congressman Lee Zeldin addressing supporters on Election Day. (Credit: John Griffin, file)

Congressman Lee Zeldin addressing supporters on Election Day. (Credit: John Griffin, file)

School districts could soon opt out of Common Core without sacrificing federal funding.

Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) is sponsoring legislation to make sure school districts that decide to drop the standards won’t be punished by a cut in federal funds. Mr. Zeldin described the Common Core rollout as “rushed” and believes the state Department of Education failed to address concerns about the curriculum.

“The implementation was horrendous,” he said. “Nobody was talking to each other.” (more…)

03/02/15 12:00pm
03/02/2015 12:00 PM
Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) is a House Foreign Affairs Committee member. (Courtesy file photo)

Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) is a House Foreign Affairs Committee member. (Courtesy file photo)

In Lee Zeldin, Eastern Long Island has sent to Congress someone who in just two months in office has become a national figure taking on radical Islam.

The rapid rise to prominence of Mr. Zeldin comes as ISIS conducts beheadings, burns alive a captured Jordanian pilot, abducts and rapes women and carries out other heinous, barbarous acts.

At issue at a recent meeting of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, to which Mr. Zeldin was appointed by the House Republican leadership, a rarity for a freshman member, was ISIS and President Obama’s submission to Congress of a war powers measure to fight it. (more…)

11/20/14 12:30pm
11/20/2014 12:30 PM
President Barack Obama talks with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on the Colonnade of the White House, Nov. 7, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama talks with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on the Colonnade of the White House, Nov. 7, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

It’s finally happened. After years of near-total philosophical compatibility, Barack and I finally find ourselves on opposite sides of an issue. Up until now, I have agreed with the president on just about every domestic policy issue, foreign policy issue and every issue in between. But now I think he’s making a very big mistake in pushing for immigration reform via executive order.

It’s fairly obvious why he wants to do it this way — via executive order as opposed to legislation. He’s had it up to here with Republican obstructionism and he’s still smarting from the recent mid-term election butt-kicking the Democrats suffered. But he’s chosen the wrong issue and the wrong course of action to (finally!) flex his muscles.

While the objective of immigration reform is commendable, granting amnesty (and Social Security cards and driver’s licenses) to those who have entered our country illegally is at the very least shortsighted. Yes, we are a nation of immigrants, but the vast majority of our ancestors who came to this country did so legally. Giving a free pass to up to five million immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally is nothing less than a slap in the face to those who have abided by the law in the past and those who will abide by it in the future.

Republican leaders in Washington have vowed to “fight the president tooth and nail” on this issue, arguing that they “earned a chance at the polls to write their own immigration legislation in the Congress they will control next years,” according to The New York Times.

And if you think it’s hard for me to disagree with the president, you have no idea how much it pains me to agree with the Republicans. But on this issue, at least, they’re right and he’s wrong. And hopefully he’ll come to his senses before we’re forced to endure yet another partisan bloodbath in our nation’s capital.

There have been two developments in local news this week upon which I am compelled to comment. The first is decidedly upbeat, and it concerns (of course) the state championship won by the Mattituck High School boys’ varsity soccer team.

We’ve had our fair share of great athletic teams on the North Fork in the 40-something years I’ve lived here, and this one must be considered one of the very best. In shutting out their opponents in both their semi-final and final games, the Tuckers punctuated their championship season most emphatically. And the warm welcome they received when they crossed the town line Sunday evening was the sort of small-town stuff players and coaches alike will remember for the rest of their lives.

Development No. 2 could not be more downbeat. Riverhead attorney Tom Twomey’s sudden death at the age of 68 comes as a shock to those of us who have known and worked with him over the years. For many years, Tom was perhaps our region’s foremost environmental advocate, having been involved in almost every important environmental struggle over the past four decades — from farmland and Pine Barrens preservation to the successful nuclear power protests of the 1970s and ’80s.

And although he was involved in partisan politics, he was never overtly partisan or political. His was always a reasoned and diplomatic approach, and he helped move mountains in the process.

The East End has lost one of its most valued leaders with the passing of Tom Twomey — something all of us should remember every time we pass through the Pine Barrens between Exits 71 and 66 on the Long Island Expressway, every time we pass a vineyard or open farm field and every time we pass Hallock State Park Preserve — which, but for the efforts of Tom Twomey, might otherwise be the Jamesport Nuclear Power Plant.

06/23/14 8:00am
06/23/2014 8:00 AM
State Senator Lee Zeldin, left, and primary opponent George Demos.

State Senator Lee Zeldin, left, and primary opponent George Demos.

They’ve been slamming each other in campaign advertisements for weeks, with each linking the other to Nancy Pelosi, former Speaker of the House, in one form or another. And come Tuesday, Republican voters will decide whether Lee Zeldin or George Demos will be their candidate to oppose incumbent Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) in the fall.  (more…)

11/21/13 1:02pm
11/21/2013 1:02 PM
Bishop-McGann-Mercy-football-player-Mike-Frosina-102513

GARRETT MEADE PHOTO

Congress is considering a bill to strengthen public school procedures for preventing, detecting, and treating student-athletes who suffer concussions while competing in games and practices, a bill Congressman Tim Bishop supports.

Mr. Bishop (D-Southampton) joined fellow Democratic lawmakers today to  introduce legislation to strengthen k-12 schools’ procedures for preventing, detecting, and treating student-athletes who suffer concussions while competing in sports.

Primarily, the bill would set minimum safety standards for concussion management in public schools across the country with plans that educate students, parents and school personnel about how to recognize and respond to concussions — something the Congressman called a first.

“Concussions are an unfortunate reality of competitive sports from the sandlot to the Super Bowl,” Mr. Bishop said in a press release. “This legislation addresses the clear need for nationwide standards and new tools for students, coaches, and teachers on concussion prevention, management, and recovery.”

Mr. Bishop said he was the original sponsor of the bill when it was first introduced in 2009 and the Senate approved similar legislation earlier this year.

The National Federation of State High School Associations estimates that about 140,000 students playing high school sports suffer concussions every year, though many go unreported.

A fact sheet on the bill is available at:  http://timbishop.house.gov/uploads/Concussion%20fact%20sheets.pdf

The full bill text is available at:  http://timbishop.house.gov/uploads/11.13.13%20BISHNY_027_xml.pdf

10/01/13 1:44pm
10/01/2013 1:44 PM
Democrat, Congressman, New York

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | Congressman Tim Bishop.

The following list of local offices and services impacted by the federal government shutdown was provided by Congressman Tim Bishop’s press office. We will update it as more information, including reports on the Plum Island research facility, becomes available:

Social Security District Office

The office in Patchogue is open to handle urgent issues such as appeals and benefit applications. Applications for a social security number and to replace a social security card (about 100 requests are received per day) will not be processed.

Social Security benefit payments will not be affected, and will be delivered on time.

Army Corps of Engineers

The Superstorm Sandy supplemental appropriations legislation will continue to fund work on Sandy-related construction projects including the Fire Island to Montauk Point Study and the emergency project to stabilize the beach in Downtown Montauk. Impact on Sandy construction projects and other future operations could be affected in the event of a prolonged shutdown.

106th Rescue Wing at Gabreski Air Base

All or nearly all of the 218 “dual status” technicians who had been previously furloughed due to sequestration budget cuts will now be furloughed for the duration of the shutdown.

Calverton National Cemetery

Operations at the Cemetery are fully funded until Oct.15. Should the shutdown continue past that date, approximately two-thirds of the cemetery’s 100 employees will be furloughed, leading to reductions in the number of burials performed and maintenance such as groundskeeping at the cemetery.

Stony Brook University

The direct student loan program will not be affected.

The payment management system at the National Institutes of Health, SBU’s largest source of research funds, will be available, but administrative support will not. Researchers can draw down money from their grants unless the request needs to be reviewed or approved. New grant applications can be filed but they will not be acted upon until the workforce returns.

Federal Wildlife Preserves

Fire Island National Seashore will be closed to visitors. Residents and contractors will still be able to access Fire Island at Robert Moses State Park.

Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge in Shirley and Morton National Wildlife Refuge in Noyac will be closed.

IRS Facility

The IRS field office and the Taxpayer Advocate Service is also closed, employees are furloughed.

US Customs and Immigration Service

The USCIS field office in Holtsville and the entire agency is operating at full capacity because they are primarily funded by user fees.