U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman was returned to his seat in Congress, for his 10th term, with 68 percent of the vote. ''I'm honored and proud, and I intend to continue to do the best job I can for my constituents,'' said Rep. Ackerman, in a post-election interview with the Great Neck Record.
Congressman Gary Ackerman was re-elected by a wide margin.
Having served in Congress for 18 consecutive years, Rep. Ackerman is well-prepared for the next Congress, and he has already begun planning and working. ''We're already reorganizing the Democratic caucus in the House; we started yesterday (Tuesday, Nov. 14) in Washington,'' he reported. ''We elected our House leadership ... it's clear we won't have a majority ... the Republicans will have the chairmanships ... we will have ranking Democrats ...''
For himself, Rep. Ackerman is looking toward a ranking senior post on an International Relations Committee. At press time, he noted that the Republicans had not yet organized.
In order to help ensure a productive future for this country, Rep. Ackerman said that the Democrats who have had good relationships with their Republican colleagues will now have to work to continue to foster this goodwill. He considers himself one who enjoys good bipartisan relations.
Rep. Ackerman continued: ''We must broker relationships between the parties ... so there won't be gridlock. This is difficult, not knowing who is president. Everybody's worried, anxious. We don't want to see any jam-up.'' With his own good relationship with Republicans, he hopes to play a real role in preventing, or relieving, gridlock, ''so legislation can flow.''
As for his continuing role in representing the Fifth Congressional District, Rep. Ackerman plans to continue to work on education and the environment, and to see that Social Security and Medicare are preserved and ''healthy.'' And he plans to work toward easing the cost of prescription drugs for senior citizens, though this, he said, ''may be much tougher, depending on who is president.''
Then, turning to the presidential election, Rep. Ackerman said that he agrees with Senator Charles Schumer, who has stated that he would like to enable a study of the election process. ''This is probably a good idea,'' said Rep. Ackerman. ''The institution (and the Electoral College) have survived since they were put in place ... we need to study to see if they have outlived their usefulness.''
Calling this year's election an ''anomaly,'' he said that the country should look at standards for ballots and machines. ''Palm Beach proved that there are all sorts of errors,'' the congressman stated. ''In Florida ... I've heard horror stories ... it is just horrible if citizens want to vote for a certain person and that vote is not registered.''
Rep. Ackerman noted that you can redo an election. ''There have been close elections in Queens and Nassau,'' he said, adding, ''Sometimes they redo a local election; it's not unheard of.''
As for the question of the Electoral College, Rep. Ackerman stated that ''the Electoral College is not the problem.'' He was quick to state that ''this won't change soon ... the small states want a say.''
According to Gary Ackerman, ''The most important thing is that the president is elected legally ... with all of the votes counted ... whether the outcome be a Democrat or a Republican.''
And, whether this country has a Democratic or a Republican leader, Rep. Ackerman is ready to work with the leadership for the benefit of all the people.
''We will have a struggle for the next two years, but we have always been successful in serving our constituents,'' assured Gary Ackerman.