Steve Israel represents the Second Congressional District of New York, which includes the towns of Huntington, Babylon, Islip, Oyster Bay and Smithtown. Representative Israel is best known for his leadership on three diverse but vitally important issues in Congress: national security, health and the environment, and U.S.-Israeli relations. Since he was first sworn into the House in 2001, he has been widely acknowledged as an independent, effective and emerging national leader. Newsday dubbed Israel "rookie of the year" in his first term, and later identified him as one of eight "national rising stars." In his first term, Representative Israel passed more new measures in the House than any other freshman Democrat, most proudly a bill to accelerate research and treatment of ovarian cancer. He won his re-election campaign in 2014, defeating Republican Grant Lally in the general election.
In his second term, Rep. Israel was quickly tapped for a leadership position as Assistant Whip. He is one of only two New York Members of Congress to serve on the vitally important House Armed Services Committee (and the only New York Democrat on the committee). On the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Israel is leading efforts in Congress to create defense budgets that reflect the new realities of global threat and conflict. Rep. Israel traveled to Iraq in January 2004 to visit with our troops stationed in Baghdad, Balad and Adwar. He also serves on the House Financial Services Committee, where he is playing a leading role to crackdown on the international financing of terrorism.
Rep. Israel founded and chairs the Democratic Study Group on National Security, which leads Members of Congress in addressing critical global security challenges and pursues effective, 21st century responses. Rep. Israel has secured over $41 million for Long Island defense companies to develop new technologies to protect Americans against terrorism and to protect our troops abroad. Rep. Israel co-chairs the bipartisan National Defense University (NDU) Congressional Working Group. NDU hosts simulations for Members of Congress and government officials that replicate national security threats and terrorist attacks and the appropriate federal response. The working group advises NDU and serves as a liaison to Capitol Hill.
In addition to leading Congress on national security issues, Rep. Steve Israel is deeply involved in advocating for more resources for women's health and environmental protection. Rep. Israel co-chairs the bipartisan House Cancer Caucus, which seeks to organize Members of Congress to support increased resources for research and treatment for all forms of cancer. Rep. Israel sponsored and passed, by a unanimous vote, the Save Our Women From Ovarian Cancer Act. This legislation calls on the federal government to accelerate research and require insurance of promising new technologies leading to the early diagnosis of ovarian cancer. If proven valid, these new technologies could diagnose ovarian cancer in its early stages, when survival rates are 95 percent at stage one diagnosis, instead of the 20 percent at stage four. Rep. Israel was presented with the National Humanitarian Health Care Award for his leadership on cancer issues and service as Co-Chair of the House Cancer Caucus. He also received a 100 percent perfect score from the League of Conservation Voters.
Environmentally, Rep. Israel co-chairs the bipartisan Long Island Sound Task Force, which organize Members of Congress from Connecticut and New York to find common ground to protect the Sound. In this regard, Israel has been leading the fight against the Bush administration's budget cuts that would devastate federal resources for Long Island.
Rep. Steve Israel plays a unique role in strengthening relations between the United States and its only democratic ally in the Middle East,: the State of Israel. Rep. Israel is a member of the House Blue Dog Caucus, a group of 38 fiscally conservative and centrist Democratic Members of Congress from mostly southern and rural parts of the country. It is important to note that many Blue Dog Members do not have significant pro-Israel constituencies within the boundaries of their Congressional districts. Rep. Israel formed the Blue Dog Task Force on Israel and the Middle East, which helps Blue Dog Members without significant pro-Israel constituencies understand the importance of strong partnerships between the United States and the State of Israel. In August 2003, Rep. Israel helped lead the largest congressional delegation ever to Israel. Rep. Israel passed the Israel-Kirk Amendment to the State Department Authorization bill, which requires the department to monitor anti-Semitic curricula in textbooks and classrooms in the Middle East.
In his two terms in Congress, Representative Israel has secured more that $83 million in federal appropriations to strengthen and expand Long Island's economy, including: $41 million in defense contracts; $14 million in road improvements; $2.5 million in health and education grants; and $14.5 million in environmental protections. Steve Israel lives in Huntington with his wife, Huntington Town Councilwoman Marlene Budd. He has two daughters, ages 16 and 13, and a miniature schnauzer named Max.
Sources: Congressman Steve Israel