Congressman Gary Ackerman, serving his 13th term in the U.S. House of Representatives, is running for re-election as the Democrat candidate. Congressman Ackerman is a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and serves as chair of its Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia. He is also a member and the former chair of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific. Congressman Ackerman also serves on the Financial Services Committee where he sits on two subcommittees. Additionally, he is the former Congressional delegate to the UN and twice co-chaired the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans.
U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman
Congressman Ackerman is proud that he "has secured millions of dollars for Queens and Long Island particularly in the areas of the environment, education, healthcare, economy, law enforcement and overall quality of life." He has also sponsored numerous bills which are now federal law. These include laws governing credit reporting, war criminals, mad cow disease, postal issues and regulation of corporate, bank and financial companies, among many others.
Congressman Ackerman was forceful and direct in discussing the "Bush doctrine" and the war in Iraq. He termed the U.S. strikes "pre-emptive" and called for this country to "make a statement" when they are coming out against another country's actions. The congressman said that "we are almost at war with China and Russia ... we need a 'carrot and stick' approach ..." He called for a "cohesive policy" to help prevent war, and he called for "transparency."
And along those lines, Congressman Ackerman stated that "We can't deny a country nuclear energy ... just not nuclear weapons."
And the congressman went on to again emphasize the need for talks, "talks at appropriate levels," not the U.S. president speaking directly to a foreign president. Congressman Ackerman noted that a Barack Obama administration would use that type of policy, overseeing discussions, not necessarily being the active participant.
"We should use our strength, our economics and our political tools at our disposal before anybody even contemplates military action," said Congressman Ackerman. And he stated that "McCain would be tougher than Bush."
Following his interview with the Great Neck Record, Congressman Ackerman was to head to Washington to vote on the "bailout." With the financial crisis at the forefront, he was quick to note: "We have to correct the errors of the past." He emphasized that the country must "restore confidence and put liquidity in the market" so that "people can pay for education, pay bills, pay mortgages, run businesses ..."
With his background on financial service committees, the congressman emphasized that the country "must come up with solutions even before a crisis."
Congressman Ackerman told how he had put in financial legislation even before this current financial crisis came to a head. His bill calls for credit agencies to be required to put like loans in a package, and prohibiting them from "rating what is not ratable." And he emphasized that "We must hold credit agencies responsible for what they do."
Congressman Ackerman termed this "common sense regulation."
Turning to health care and medical legislation, the congressman stated that "Democrats are more sympathetic and interested in the needs of the average people, regarding health care." And he also stated that "Everyone in America has health care, but not health insurance (i.e. emergency rooms)." Thus, the congressman explained, "In the end, it costs everyone else."
Congressman Ackerman is a proponent of health care for all. "If you can't do it all, first insure all of the children in the country," he said. As for illegal immigrants being treated in this country, the congressman asked, "Would you want an illegal immigrant who is ill, next to your grandchild?"
The congressman termed the health care issue an international issue, with easy travel and pandemics. "We all live in the same world together," he said.
Said Congressman Ackerman, "Basic health care should be universal!"
Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 4.