U.S. Elected Officials Representing Brooklyn
Washington, DC Office
New York City Office
Kirsten Gillibrand was appointed on January 23, 2009 to the position of United States Senator to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Gillibrand was the first woman ever elected to represent New York's 20th Congressional District, and the first Democrat to win the Upstate seat in nearly 30 years.
Washington, DC Office
New York City Office
In 2004, New Yorkers re-elected U.S. Senator Charles E. “Chuck” Schumer to represent the State of New York in the U.S. Senate for a second-six year term. Chuck started off his second term by being appointed to the Democratic Leadership team by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). Chuck also earned a seat on the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees the nation’s tax, trade, social security and health care legislation. Chuck also sits on the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs; the Judiciary Committee; and the Rules Committee. He is the Ranking Member of the Administrative Oversight and the Courts Subcommittee and the Economic Policy Subcommittee. Prior to his election to the Senate, Chuck represented the Ninth Congressional District in Brooklyn and Queens for eighteen years. Before that, he represented the Forty-Fifth Assembly District in Brooklyn for six years.
For the past two and a half decades, Chuck Schumer has been a leader on national issues and a tireless fighter for New York. For his efforts, the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle called Chuck "an accomplished, far-sighted legislator," while The New York Times wrote that Chuck "is a more serious lawmaker with more rooted values, sounder policy positions and a deeper commitment to the common good."
Serving three terms in the New York State Assembly, Chuck worked vigorously for his Brooklyn constituents. He sponsored legislation to protect local cemeteries from vandalism and passed laws limiting noise pollution by banning motorcycles from residential streets between 9 pm and 8 am. He was a staunch affordable housing advocate, and sponsored legislation that increased penalties for arson in houses of worship.
Throughout his 20 years in Congress, Chuck has been a pioneer in the fight against crime. His work in this area led Attorney General Janet Reno, the nation's top law enforcer, to state, "I have never met a public official more dedicated to fighting crime than Mr. Schumer."
Chuck was a leading sponsor of the Brady Bill, which instituted mandatory background checks for handgun purchases. Chuck co-wrote the Assault Weapons Ban, which outlawed the manufacture and importation of 19 types of semi-automatic weapons, including the Uzi, AK-47 and Tec-9. He also sponsored both the Hate Crimes Statistics Act and Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which organized data on crimes of bigotry and allowed federal authorities to prosecute these crimes. In 1992, Chuck authored the Anti-Auto Theft Act, which required car manufacturers to mark often-stolen vehicle parts with an indelible ID number. Chuck won the first federal funding for Albany, Buffalo, Syracuse and Rochester to implement Project Exile, a program that enforces strict sentencing guidelines for illegal gun possession. Chuck also sponsored legislation in the Senate that provided $125 million in funding for rape kit testing and $100 million for the Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners program to help law enforcement identify, arrest and convict perpetrators of sexual assaults.
In addition to his record on crime, Chuck has been a tireless advocate for women' rights. He is the author of the landmark Violence Against Women Act, which was the first federal legislation protecting women against domestic abuse. As Chair of the House Judiciary's Subcommittee on Crime and Criminal Justice, Chuck passed the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act and made blockading the entrances to family clinics a federal crime.
Since his election to the Senate, Chuck has made improving New York's economy his top priority. He has been particularly successful in bringing affordable air service to Upstate New York, helping deliver new airline Jet Blue to Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse and working with low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines to expand service to Albany and Western New York. His Group of 35 developed a comprehensive plan to address New York City's long-term economic needs by adding 60,000 new square feet of desperately needed office space to accommodate 300,000 new jobs projected over the next twenty years.
Chuck also established an Economic Development Initiative (EDI), a comprehensive effort to attract new businesses and financial resources to Upstate New York. As part of EDI, Chuck has held business roundtables throughout the state, organizing meetings between economic development officials and business leaders in Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse during his first year in office. Later he toured the state with the site selectors who help businesses decide where to locate offices and factories, and sent a brochure promoting Upstate's merits to CEO's in New York City.
Chuck is the author of legislation that would eliminate many of the barriers that delay low-cost generic medications from coming to the marketplace. Chuck's bill would save consumers 60% when they choose a generic drug over the name brand by the third year the generic alternative is on the market. Chuck is also the author of legislation that would create an electronic national organ registry that would immediately link donors and recipients nationwide. Chuck has also written bi-partisan legislation to stabilize the Medicare + Choice program to help correct funding disparities that have caused over 1.6 million Americans, many of them senior citizens, to lose their HMO coverage.
Chuck, as the Ranking Member of the Administrative Oversight and the Courts subcommittee, plays a key role in judicial nominations. He held hearings in June 2001 to examine the role of judicial ideology in the judicial confirmation process. Chuck is the author of bipartisan legislation to allow federal trials to be televised and also of legislation that would modernize the nation's voting system by providing guidance, expertise and $3.5 billion in grants to states and localities to upgrade their voting equipment. Chuck was also a strong supporter of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance legislation.
A member of the Banking committee in the House and the Senate, Chuck worked for a decade to pass the 1999 Financial Services Modernization legislation, which modernizes regulations governing the US banking, securities and insurance industries. He played a key role in drafting language to ensure that financial companies serve traditionally underserved areas and has exposed unequal lending practices of banks and predatory lending practices of subprime lenders in minority communities. Chuck is currently the Ranking Member of the Banking committee's Economic Policy subcommittee.
In 2005, Chuck was appointed to the Finance committee and the Finance subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight. Occupying a seat once occupied by his former colleague, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Chuck now leads the fight against the privatization of Social Security and to ensure the solvency of the program through a bipartisan solution. He is working to maintain Medicaid funding for our seniors and to prevent a tax-hike for middle-class Americans by maintaining the deductibility of state and local taxes on federal income tax returns. Chuck is concerned about the growing trade deficit with China and co-sponsored a bill that will help U.S. businesses by forcing China to adhere to its WTO obligations.
Chuck has also had a powerful effect on a wide-ranging number of issues, including:
• Consumers: The "Schumer Box," enacted in 1988, requires that credit card companies clearly inform consumers of their terms.
Since the terrorist attacks on September 11, Chuck has worked tirelessly to help New York recover and rebuild. On September 13, Chuck, along with Senator Clinton, secured a commitment from President Bush to provide $20 billion in federal funding to help New York pay for recovery and relief efforts. Chuck also helped create the federal Victims Compensation Fund, which helps the families of those lost on September 11 or anyone physically injured in the attack continue with their lives by providing the family with all of the money the person killed or injured would have earned over his or her lifetime, all within five months of filing the claim. Chuck and Senator Clinton also successfully lobbied for $5 billion in aid for New York in the economic stimulus package pending before the Senate.
In addition, Chuck:
For a more complete list of Chuck's agenda and accomplishments, please click here.
A product of the Brooklyn public schools, Chuck, who was born on November 23, 1950, is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He was elected to the New York State Assembly at age 23 -- making him one of the youngest members since Theodore Roosevelt -- and to Congress at 29. In 1998, Chuck became New York's junior Senator, and he now holds the senior position. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Iris Weinshall, and their daughters, Jessica and Alison.
Source: United States Senate website
Yvette D. Clarke is a Brooklyn native whose roots are firmly planted in her Jamaican heritage. A product of the New York City Public School System, Rep. Clarke received a scholarship to Oberlin College and was a recipient of the prestigious APPAH/Sloan Fellowship in Public Policy and Policy Analysis. Rep. Clarke served as the first Director of Business Development for the Bronx Empowerment Zone where she administered the $51 million budget that resulted in the revitalization and economic development of the south Bronx. Rep. Clarke was elected to the New York City Council in November 2001 as the representative for the 40th District in Brooklyn. She was re-elected to office in November 2003 and November 2005. Clarke succeeded her pioneering mother, former City Councilmember, Dr. Una S.T. Clarke, making them the first mother-daughter succession in the history of the New York City Council.
During her Council tenure, Rep. Yvette D. Clarke served as the chair of the powerful Contracts Committee and co-chair of the New York City Council Women's Caucus. She also served on the Education; Fire & Criminal Justice Services; Health; Land Use; Planning, Dispositions & Concessions; and, Rules, Privileges & Elections committees.
Rep. Clarke's voting record as a member of the New York City Council serves as a reflection of her philosophy that government should serve to protect people, uplift local communities and build bridges that bring everyone together. Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke is committed to continuing the district's legacy of excellence as set forth by the late Honorable Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman and Caribbean American elected to Congress.
In November 2006, Rep. Clarke was elected to represent New York's 11th Congressional District with 89% of the vote. She is currently a member of three House committees and two subcommittees within each committee. Her House committee assignments are as follows:
• Education & Labor Committee
Time Magazine has called her a “tenacious, resilient legislator.” The New York Sun said “her entire career has been marked by a kind of personal courage.” The Village Voice characterized her as “a tiger in the House on every dollar due New York.” And The New York Times said, “New York's Congressional delegation stands out for their moxie, kind of the way New Yorkers themselves often do. Among the brashest members is Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, a Democrat of Manhattan.” New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney is a strong voice for New Yorkers, and a national leader with extensive accomplishments on security, financial services, the economy, and women’s issues. As the co-founder of the House 9/11 Commission Caucus, Maloney helped author and pass legislation to implement all of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations for improving intelligence gathering. And in the wake of the Dubai Ports debacle, she helped craft successful legislation to reform the system for vetting foreign investment in the United States.
As a renowned champion for domestic and international women’s issues, Maloney helped passed legislation to target the demand side of sex trafficking and provide annual mammograms for women on Medicare. Maloney also authored the Debbie Smith bill to process DNA kits, which has been called the most important anti-rape legislation in history. The story of the legislation was made into a movie by Lifetime Television, A Life Interrupted: The Debbie Smith Story, with actress Lynn Adams portraying Congresswoman Maloney. New York City has no stronger advocate in Congress than Maloney. She has doggedly fought for full federal assistance to help the city rebuild from 9/11, most recently helping secure the very first doses of federal money for the health care needs of those made sick by the toxic air at Ground Zero. She has also delivered significant federal funding for the Second Avenue Subway and East Side Access transportation projects, both of which run through her district. Maloney’s career has been a series of firsts. She is the first woman to represent New York’s 14th Congressional District, the first woman to represent New York City’s 7th Councilmanic district, and the first woman Vice-Chair of the Joint Economic Committee, a House and Senate panel that examines and addresses the nation’s most pressing economic issues. She was also the first woman to give birth while serving on the New York City Council. In addition to her work on the Joint Economic Committee, Maloney is Chair of the House Financial Services Committee’s Financial Institutions Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over the nation’s banking system. As Subcommittee Chair, she has worked to modernize financial services laws and regulations, strengthen consumer protections, and institute vigilant oversight of the safety and soundness of our nation’s banking industry. Maloney is also a senior member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
“Jerry Nadler not only represents New York well, but he has represented the United States very well.”
Congressman Jerrold Nadler represents New York’s Eighth Congressional district. The Eighth, one of the most diverse districts in the nation, includes Manhattan’s West Side below 89th Street, Lower Manhattan, and areas of Brooklyn including Borough Park, Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Sea Gate, Bay Ridge, and Bensonhurst. Congressman Nadler was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1992 after serving for 16 years in the New York State Assembly. He was re-elected to his seventh full term in 2004 with a resounding 80 percent of the vote. Throughout his career he has championed civil rights, civil liberties, efficient transportation, and a host of progressive issues such as access to health care, support for the arts and protection of the Social Security system. He is considered an unapologetic defender of those who might otherwise be forgotten by American law or the economy, and is respected specifically for his creative and pragmatic legislative approaches. In his roles as an Assistant Whip and a senior member of both the House Judiciary Committee and the House Transportation Committee, Congressman Nadler has the opportunity on a daily basis to craft and shape the major laws that govern our country. From his leadership in response to the September 11th terrorist attacks on his district, to his insight and policymaking prominence on issues facing Israel and the Middle East, Nadler has constantly sought to be steadfast and responsive in his service to New York and the nation.
Promoting Liberty, Equality, and Progressive Values in America
There is nothing more fundamental to being an American than the assurance against unwarranted government interference in one’s personal affairs, and the guarantee of due process under the law. Yet some recent actions by Congress and the executive, in the name of enhancing national security, have threatened those basic rights. Congressman Nadler’s legislation to remove the most pernicious elements of the USA PATRIOT Act, and his insistence on constitutional treatment of those suspected of crimes, have won him plaudits across the board.In addition to his service on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Subcommittee, Congressman Nadler also serves on the Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security Subcommittee. He previously served on the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law, which has jurisdiction over such key issues as consumer protection, bankruptcy law, and the right to competent legal representation. Formerly ranking Democrat on that subcommittee, Mr. Nadler led House opposition to the Republican-backed Bankruptcy Bill, legislation designed to maximize credit card company at the expense of consumer protections.These accomplishments, coupled with his expansive portfolio of other progressive achievements—from garnering hundreds of millions of dollars for the Section 8 affordable housing program, to shaping the national debate on Social Security by being the first to challenge the Republicans’ “doom and gloom” solvency forecast, to the passing of his bill to close the digital divide in education—led Vanity Fair, in its “Hall of Fame” tribute to Congressman Nadler, to say that he epitomizes “liberalism the way it ought to be.” And his record has earned him ratings of 100 percent from such groups as the League of Conservation Voters, Planned Parenthood, the NAACP, the Human Rights Campaign, Children’s Defense Fund, and the American Federation of Teachers.
Leading on Transportation Issues
Congressman Nadler proposed to reverse these effects by reconnecting New York to the nation’s rail freight system through the construction of a rail freight tunnel under New York Harbor. The Cross Harbor Tunnel project is steadily gaining momentum. Local, state, and federal leaders agree with Congressman Nadler and a variety of transportation experts that a rail freight tunnel is the best way to ease the truck-traffic burden, and in doing so, reduce air pollution, provide tremendous economic benefits, and bolster security by creating redundancy in the region’s goods-movement system.
Serving a Diverse and Fast-Paced District
Being an effective voice for the community isn’t, however, just about moving projects forward; programs that would do harm require a strong voice in opposition. When the City wanted to reopen the Southwest Brooklyn Incinerator, the Congressman was a leading voice in preventing an environmental and health crisis in Bensonhurst. And when Donald Trump tried to tear down part of the newly renovated West Side Highway to enhance the views of the Hudson River for a new luxury building project, Nadler organized the effort to stop him. “I don’t believe that New Yorkers work hard and pay taxes so they can line Mr. Trump's pockets,” Nadler said of the move, which would have cost the taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.The needs of everyday New Yorkers are paramount in the Congressman’s eyes. When residents of the Haber House apartment complex complained of frequent crime against tenants, Nadler secured money from Congress to install security cameras. When commuters wanted to make foot traffic through Penn Station more efficient, he worked with station authorities to change the direction of key escalators. Throughout the district and the City, Nadler has used his transportation expertise to solve local traffic and transit problems, working to relieve congestion, improve bus and ferry routes, and to modernize access to the subway. Affordable housing, like adequate transportation, is a basic need in any community—and a priority for Nadler. He has fought in Congress and at home to preserve the City’s essential stock of Mitchell-Lama and Section 8 apartments. Congressman Nadler’s constituent services program allows residents of the Eighth District to seek help from the Congressman’s office in navigating the often-complex world of government services. Every day, Nadler’s constituent services staff help residents meet their basic needs, finding them access to healthcare, and acting as a liaison with government agencies, and in many cases helping with citizenship requests. The district includes one of the nation’s largest communities of new immigrants—especially from the former Soviet Union—and Congressman Nadler and his staff have made it a priority to address their needs.
Congressman Nadler also represents one of the largest and most diverse Jewish communities in any congressional district, nationwide. A former member of the National Governing Council of the American Jewish Congress and currently a member of the New York Board of the Anti-Defamation League, Nadler has worked throughout his career to support American Jewish community concerns and a safe, prosperous, and peaceful Israel. He has consistently stood behind Middle East peace efforts. Nadler is also a former member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, has authored a bill granting federal tax exemptions on settlements received by Holocaust survivors, and has been a principal supporter of federal hate crimes legislation.Congressman Nadler has also worked extensively on Black-Jewish relations, and was a recent recipient of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding’s Racial Harmony Award.
Responding to Challenge
Congressman Nadler has also taken the lead in the continuing fight to protect air quality in lower Manhattan. Soon after the attacks, the Environmental Protection Agency carelessly declared it safe for residents to return to their homes and denied its responsibility for conducting air quality tests and cleanup efforts in affected residences. The Congressman immediately called public attention to the EPA’s negligence in these actions, which gravely threatened the health of lower Manhattan residents and professionals, and hosted hearings to investigate this negligence and determine the actual extent of environmental hazards in the area. As EPA officials continually commit and cover up their mistakes and deny their responsibility, Congressman Nadler continues to fight on behalf of constituents for higher standards and greater range in the cleanup process. Juan Gonzalez of The Daily News wrote that “Of all the politicians in this town, Nadler has fought the hardest to get EPA to assume responsibility for indoor cleanup.”
Congressman Nadler launched his public service career in the late 1960s while a student at Columbia University, where he founded a group of students known as the “West Side Kids.” The Kids focused on reforming New York City Democratic politics through support of liberal and anti-Vietnam War candidates, and developed their political base through community organizing to improve local housing and education conditions. In 1976, after a stint as a legislative staffer, Mr. Nadler won a seat in the State Assembly, and there first developed his strong record on such issues as civil liberties, environmental protection, and campaign finance reform. He is credited with authoring much of New York State’s body of law on domestic violence and child support enforcement, and was one of the architects of the landmark Child Support Standards Act.
Edolphus "Ed" Towns, a former social worker and community activist in Brooklyn, New York, is a 13-term veteran in the House, where he serves on both the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Towns represents the 10th Congressional District of New York, encompassing the neighborhoods of East New York, Canarsie, Brownsville, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Cypress Hills, Clinton Hill, Mill Basin, Midwood, downtown Brooklyn, Boreum Hill, as well as parts of Fort Greene and Williamsburg. This area brings together Brooklyn's diverse populace—black, Hispanic, Caribbean, and Jewish voters.
In the 110th Congress (2007–2009), Representative Towns was appointed chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Management, Organization, and Procurement. He has focused on issues such as government contracting, education, health care for 9/11 workers, and minority business development. Rep. Towns is also member of Energy and Commerce's Health Subcommittee, the Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection Subcommittee, and the Telecommunications and the Internet Subcommittee. Through these subcommittee appointments, Rep. Towns has worked diligently to enhance consumers' privacy protections on the Internet, develop innovative initiatives to reduce asthma and expand access to care, and bridge the digital divide.
Over his long career, Rep. Towns' legislative work in education, telecommunications, healthcare, financial services and environmental issues has earned him numerous awards. Among his key legislative accomplishments, Towns counts pioneering programs to address quality of life concerns for all Americans, such as:
• Social Work Reinvestment Commission to address policy issues associated with the recruitment, retention, research, and support of the social work profession.
With steadfast dedication to the needs of the 10th Congressional District, Towns’ past victories include securing over $1 billion in federal funding to:
As the original incorporator of Brooklyn Bridge Park, Rep. Towns understands the importance of preserving and restoring our environment. He remains committed to protecting our national parks and creating open spaces throughout Brooklyn. Recognized for fighting on behalf of Prospect Park in the heart of Brooklyn, the National Audubon Society lauded his efforts to secure much-needed federal funds for important restoration activities.
Towns' varied professional background includes assignments as an administrator at Beth Israel Medical Center, a professor at New York's Medgar Evers College and Fordham University and a teacher in the New York City Public School System. He is also a veteran of the United States Army and an ordained Baptist minister.
Entering politics through his dedicated work in various civic associations, Rep. Towns has the distinction of being the first African American to serve as Deputy Brooklyn Borough President. Congressman Towns and his son, Darryl, a New York State Assemblyman, are the first African-American, father-son team to serve simultaneously in New York public office. Towns is married to Gwendolyn (Forbes) Towns, and the couple has two children, Darryl and Deidra, and five grandchildren.
Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez is currently serving her eighth term as Representative for New York’s 12th Congressional District. She has made history several times during her tenure in Congress. In 1992, she was the first Puerto Rican woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. In February 1998, she was named Ranking Democratic Member of the House Small Business Committee, making her the first Hispanic woman to serve as Ranking Member of a full House committee. Most recently, in 2006, she was named Chairwoman of the House Small Business Committee, making her the first Latina to chair a full Congressional committee.Given her achievements, her roots are humble. She was born in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico - a small town of sugar-cane fields - in 1953, and was one of nine children. Velázquez started school early, skipped several grades, and became the first person in her family to receive a college diploma. At the age of 16, she entered the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras. She graduated magna cum laude in 1974 with a degree in political science. After earning a master’s degree on scholarship from N.Y.U., Velázquez taught Puerto Rican studies at CUNY’s Hunter College in 1981.But her passion for politics soon took hold. In 1983, Velázquez was appointed Special Assistant to Congressman Edolphus Towns (D-Brooklyn). One year later, she became the first Latina appointed to serve on the New York City Council.By 1986, Velázquez served as the Director of the Department of Puerto Rican Community Affairs in the United States. During that time, she initiated one of the most successful Latino empowerment programs in the nation’s history - "Atrevete" (Dare to Go for It!).In 1992, after months of running a grassroots political campaign, Velázquez was elected to the House of Representatives to represent New York's 12th District. Her district, which encompasses parts of Brooklyn, Queens and the Lower East Side of Manhattan, is the only tri-borough district in the New York City congressional delegation. Encompassing many diverse neighborhoods, it is home to a large Latino population, with pockets of Polish communities, and parts of Chinatown.
As a fighter for equal rights of the underrepresented and a proponent of economic opportunity for the working class and poor, Congresswoman Velázquez combines sensibility and compassion as she works to encourage economic development, protect community health and the environment, combat crime and worker abuses, and secure access to affordable housing, quality education and health care for all New York City families.As the Chairwoman for the House Small Business Committee, which oversees federal programs and contracts totaling $200 billion annually, Congresswoman Velázquez has been a vocal advocate of American small business and entrepreneurship. She has established numerous small business legislative priorities, encompassing the areas of tax regulations, access to capital, federal contracting opportunities, trade, technology, health care and pension reform, among others. Congresswoman Velázquez was recently named as the inaugural "Woman of the Year" by Hispanic Business Magazine in recognition of her national influence in both the political and business sectors and for her longtime support of minority enterprise.