Message from Adam on the 4th Anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub Shooting
Four years ago, a gunman opened fire on LGBTQ+ community members — mostly Latinx, but from every background representing Orlando’s strength of diversity — celebrating Pride Month at Pulse Nightclub. 49 people never made it home that evening.
This cowardly and unspeakable act of violence still weighs heavily on many of us today. But, it also serves as a reminder of how hard we must continue to fight for meaningful gun legislation and against domestic terror.
If elected to Congress, I will take on the NRA and ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines; implement universal background checks; enact red flag laws; regulate “ghost guns”; hold manufacturers responsible for their contribution to gun violence; and, use Article I Section 4 of our Constitution so that Congress can redraw extremist, gerrymandered districts and create the kind of sensibility we need on common sense gun reform.
Finally, I’ll see that the federal government enforces to the fullest extent of the law the James Byrd Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act against anyone who commits a hate crime against another person for their sexual identity or orientation.
Today and everyday, let us make our country safer and freer for all people, no matter who they are and who they love.
Adam Schleifer: Response to Journal News Column
On June 4th, my opponents in this congressional race attacked us with a broadside against the “pharmaceutical” industry and demanded that our campaign immediately sign onto a pledge they drafted. The record of communications made clear they had collectively spent days concocting this coordinated attack and then asked us to sign onto a pledge with exactly one hour to respond. Before we could even examine the contents of their “pledge,” the Journal News published a story that we “won’t sign” a pledge while giving none of that background.
My father, Dr. Len Schleifer, co-founded Regeneron, a Westchester-based biotechnology company whose brilliant and hardworking scientists struggled for twenty-five years to develop treatments and life-saving cures to disease, before it ever saw any success as a company. After developing a cure for a form of blindness in 2012, they have become one of Westchester’s greatest success stories, turning basic science into lifesaving therapeutics and creating thousands of high-tech jobs for residents of Westchester and Rockland Counties. And while I am not a scientist nor an employee of Regeneron, I sure am proud of all the lives the amazing people at Regeneron have saved and the great work they have done. For those who do not know, they have already developed cures and treatments for Ebola, heart disease, cancer, asthma, and blindness, among other diseases. And right now, their great work and employees are working day in and out to find a vaccine and treatment to fight COVID-19. Indeed, the company is a leading candidate in the race for a cure for our current pandemic, and I hope even my opponents in this campaign are rooting for their success in that endeavor. I know millions of Americans are.
My opponents’ “pledge” was offered not on the merits of ensuring that any industry doesn’t have undue influence over a member of Congress, but as a cynical political ploy to attack our campaign as it gains momentum. If my opponents approached the question of how to ensure industry does not have influence over policymaking from a place of integrity, they would have announced their own divestment for financial interests they have in companies that build weapons of war and profit off of bombs; they would have sworn off the thousands of dollars they receive from corporate PACs and from family members representing coal and fracking companies and, ironically, “big pharma”; and they would have sworn off funding received from predatory payday lenders. None of this have they done.
As I have said multiple times at forums throughout this race, including the Westchester Young Democrats, if elected to Congress, I would put in place whatever measures necessary and appropriate, including a blind trust for holdings, to further demonstrate the fierce independence I have brought to every job I have ever had.
While my opponents play politics and talk the typical talk, I want to remind them that I am the only one in this race who’s actually walked the walk. As a former federal prosecutor and consumer protection regulator, I am the only person in this race to have protected our healthcare system by taking on abuse in the medical-malpractice insurance industry and by prosecuting Medicare fraud. And I am deeply committed to protecting Americans from price-gouging and other healthcare abuses. That is why I’ve pushed so vocally from the beginning for policies that protect and expand Obamacare to ensure that Americans who have insurance they like can keep it, and those who don’t have insurance have access to a public option; that out-of-pocket expenditures for prescription drugs are capped; that insurance companies are required to cover preventative care, fertility services, and other important treatments; and, that drug prices are controlled and realigned with preventative outcomes.
Let’s stop the games and focus on what the scientists and all the other hardworking folks in this district know really counts: getting real things done for real people.
Adam P. Schleifer is a former New York State banking, insurance, and consumer protection regulator and federal prosecutor; he is a candidate for Congress in New York’s 17th Congressional District.
Message from Adam on Recent Journal News Story
Voters deserve better than political stunts. And that’s exactly what last week’s “pledge” to divest in pharmaceutical industry was.
In reality, this pledge didn’t go far enough as candidates shouldn’t cherry-pick which industries try to influence members of Congress. This pledge did not take into consideration the considerable donations from defense contractors, predatory pay-day lenders and more that our opponents in the race declined to mention.
Adam has built his career fighting for people protecting consumers and his commitment to fighting for others has never faltered.
Message from Adam on 76th Anniversary of D-Day
Seventy-six years ago today, 160,000 Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy. Four-thousand of those heroes lost their lives in that successful struggle to rescue Europe and the world from fascistic, murderous hatred.
The victory whose anniversary we fittingly pay tribute to today paved the way for one of my grandfathers to enter continental Europe and fight the Nazis as a United States Army Sergeant and codebreaker; it also helped saved the life of two other of my grandparents, both of whom were enslaved at that time in Nazi concentration camps, enduring unspeakable horrors and praying for liberation by the Allied Troops.
We should all feel immense gratitude for the sacrifices and struggles of the Greatest Generation. More important, we should take inspiration from the heroism they exhibited through those hardships, and redouble our efforts to make the promises of safety, prosperity, freedom, and justice a reality for every single American.
Opinion: LGBTQ+ New Yorkers Deserve More than Just Acceptance in Congress, They Deserve Solidarity
As published in Columbia Public Policy Review on June 1st, 2020
June marks the five-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark case which pronounced that our constitution’s fundamental principles of equal protection and due process of law guarantee marriage equality (and all the important rights and opportunities that flow therefrom) to all persons, including those in our LGBTQ+ community. As we mark that historic milestone, we should note, in this season of presidential politics, that it has also been a mere eight years since the Democratic Party first included marriage equality in its national platform. So, let us not forget, nor take for granted, how far the arc has bent, and how far it still needs to bend, toward complete justice and equality for the LGBTQ+ community.
Twenty years ago, not a single state permitted same-sex marriage. The Defense of Marriage Act and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell were the law of the land. When I was growing up, legal discrimination kept thousands in the shadows, forcing them to live with the fear that being open about their identity and the identities of their loved ones would invite not only social ostracization, but legal liability, economic devastation, and physical harm.
In this time of pandemic, it should also be emphasized that, when I was a young boy in New York City in the 1980s, a viral plague struck not only my city, but also my family. Years passed, it seemed, without sufficient mobilization and attention, until a young boy from Indiana and a global basketball icon in Los Angeles fell ill—America just couldn’t empathize with the scope of the HIV public-health disaster until the virus had a face that wasn’t part of the LGBTQ+ community.
As the grandson of Holocaust survivors and brother of a young man with special needs, I am especially attuned to the corrosive winds of discrimination and bigotry. But I am also heartened by how we all rally together to protest injustice and hate, as we saw in the recent Women’s Marches and in the counter-protests in Charlottesville.
Two recent events in Rockland County, NY have further emphasized that hopefulness to me, even though both followed on the heels of a violent criminal attack. First, in December, we saw a despicable act of antisemitic violence against Hannukah worshippers in Monsey, New York. Soon thereafter, however, the United States Department of Justice, which I had previously proudly served as a federal prosecutor, brought criminal charges against the perpetrator of that heinous crime. And what was the law under which those charges were brought? The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 (HCPA).
In other words, a federal law passed in part to honor the tragic victim of a homophobic hate crime was being enforced to protect and vindicate the rights of victims of an antisemetic hate crime. What an apt application of Martin Luther King Jr.’s teaching that an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Second, and just a few months later, a woman was senselessly and fatally stabbed in Spring Valley, New York during her shift at the desk of the Finkelstein Memorial Library. When I visited the makeshift memorial erected in her honor, I saw members of the African American, Haitian, and Hassidic communities of Spring Valley congregating in mourning, celebrating her life, and condemning that crime in solidarity. We are finally realizing that we are all part of the same broad fabric.
That’s why my support of the LGBTQ+ community is about more than just acceptance. It is about solidarity. That was the vision that I carried as a federal prosecutor and Assistant United States Attorney, where I prosecuted, among other crimes, crimes of sexual violence, predation, and blackmail. And that is the vision I will have as the congressperson for New York’s 17th Congressional District.
First, I will work to codify LGBTQ+ equality into law by passing the Equality Act, which will ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in sectors like employment, housing, credit. Today, half of LGBTQ+ people live in a state where it is legally permissible for an employer to fire, pass over for a promotion, or harass them without legal repercussions. In housing, one study found same-sex couples experienced discrimination in 27 percent of housing rental, sales, and financing tests. The Equality Act will not rid discrimination from our communities forever, but it will outlaw legal discrimination, and that is a helpful and necessary, though insufficient, start.
Second, I’ll foster a greater sense of inclusion and belonging among the LGBTQ+ community through federally-funded research and services that support their well-being. We will ensure our health-insurance system includes a strong and competitive public option, which provides essential health services while also pushing for all healthcare insurance plans to cover fertility services, which are especially vital for same-sex couples seeking to have biological children.
I’ll also vote for increased funding to curb bullying of LGBTQ+ students and support runaway and homeless LGBTQ+ youth, who are 120 percent more likely to experience homelessness than their non-LGBTQ+ peers. And, I’ll devote more research funding to the National Institute of Health to study HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment options, including current options like Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), while ensuring that the pricing and payment mechanics for these vital treatments are accessible to all.
Finally, I’ll fight to rectify injustices that still persist. We will outlaw the gay panic defense, an insidious legal tactic that attempts to explain and excuse a defendant’s violent actions on the basis that they were provoked by an alleged and unwanted same-sex sexual advance. I will call on the President to lift the ban on transgender and transsexual individuals from serving in the military. And, I will ensure enforcement of existing hate-crime legislation, like the HCPA.
The trajectory of the movement to achieve full LGBTQ+ equality, inclusion, and justice is headed in the right direction, but we as a nation can do much more. That is why I am proud to be endorsed by Former New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a trailblazer, progressive changemaker, and tireless advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. And that is why I believe that twenty years from today we will be able to look back together with satisfaction on all that we will have accomplished together between now and then, with our children hardly able to believe we once lived in a time where the great American promise of equality and inclusion didn’t extend to each and every one of us.
Adam's Comments To NAACP’s Peekskill Chapter Protest & Dialogue
250 years after the unrealized promise of the Declaration of Independence;
150 years after the end of slavery, “its badges,” and the amendments we passed in a failed attempt to move past our nation’s original sin;
50 years after MLK awoke our consciousness and moral imagination by helping all Americans see the “sweltering heat” of racial injustice:
We see today as clearly as ever that we have so much further to go to realize the unmet vision of our constitution.
Thank you to Peekskill’s NAACP Chapter for convening a thoughtful and uplifting protest and constructive dialog today. I was honored to participate.
Full Transcript of Comments: