NEWSROOM

Schleifer Releases Plan To Strengthen Federal Oversight and Accountability Laws

Schleifer Will Introduce Legislation that Protects Executive Branch Inspectors General and Federal Whistleblowers, While Restoring Balance of Power Among Branches of Government

Schleifer: We must pass laws to protect our constitution from Trump and his cronies.

White Plains, NY – Adam P. Schleifer, a Democratic Candidate for U.S. Congress in New York’s 17th District, announced his plan for strengthening federal oversight and accountability laws.  Schleifer notes that presidential power has expanded under both Republican and Democratic institutions, metastasizing far beyond what the founding fathers envisioned.  Despite a gradual expansion of presidential powers and erosion of constitutional intent over the past five decades, Schleifer explains, no president has accelerated it as quickly as President Trump. 

“Our constitutional system is on edge,” Schleifer comments.  “The malign superficiality, narcissism, and corruption of President Trump threaten the fabric of the constitution he has sworn to uphold.  We must pass laws to protect our constitution from Trump and his cronies.” 

Schleifer will bring to Washington years of experience serving as a federal prosecutor, where he investigated and successfully prosecuted financial fraudsters, predatory payday lenders, and others who deceived and bullied others in hopes of improper benefit.  Schleifer’s plan calls for legislation to classify inspectors general, or government watchdogs responsible for investigating corruption and protecting whistleblowers, as “principal” officers and limit their removal by the president only “for cause.”  He notes that while a president has the authority to remove a Senate-confirmed inspector general, Congress only needs an explanation, not a legal cause, to justify the removal, a loophole that Trump continues to exploit.  

Schleifer points out that such legislation would have likely spared a number of inspectors general who have been fired by President Trump over the past spring. These include Steve Linnick from the State Department and Mitch Behm from the Department of Transportation (DOT). Trump’s replacement for Behm, Howard “Skip” Elliot, will be maintaining his old position as a DOT division manager while managing his new inspector general office responsible for investigating his actions, a move that raises serious conflicts of interest. It would also likely have spared Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community inspector general also fired by Trump who flagged to Congress a whistleblower complaint that ultimately led to President Trump’s impeachment.  For whistleblowers like these, Schleifer will strengthen their federal protections, including by prohibiting presidents or members of Congress from publicly revealing their identities without their consent.  Such a protection is currently not afforded under federal law.

Finally, Schleifer would use congressional oversight and accountability measures to protect the integrity of our elections.  Schleifer would pass legislation requiring all presidential and vice-presidential candidates to release their tax returns before and during their term in office.  He would also address gerrymandering and the partisan extremism it generates by sponsoring legislation under Article I, Section 4 of our Constitution that would vest the power of redistricting either in the hands of independent electoral commissions or in Congress itself, thereby removing it from the state houses that have drawn our existing and dysfunctional district lines.

About Adam Schleifer:

Adam Schleifer, 38, graduated from Chappaqua’s public schools in 1999 and went on to attend Cornell University and Columbia University Law School, where he served as a Senior & Staff Development Editor on the Columbia Law Review. After graduating from law school, Schleifer served two years as a federal law clerk, first in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, and then in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. 

Schleifer then built a career at one of the nation’s leading law firms before reentering public service, first as a New York State consumer-protection regulator, and then as an Assistant United States Attorney.  Schleifer has prosecuted regulatory and federal-criminal actions against predatory payday and subprime auto lenders; taken dangerous and illegal weapons out of communities; prosecuted crimes of sexual violence and predation; and protected our clean air by prosecuting a conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act.  Adam Schleifer and his wife, Nicole, are residents of New Castle.

Read more about Adam Schleifer at www.AdamSchleifer.com.

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Schleifer Earns Endorsement From Former White Plains Common Council Member and Community Leader Milagros Lecuona

Milagros Lecuona Served White Plains as a Councilwoman for 12 Years and Remains a Prominent Leader in the Hudson Valley 

As Councilwoman, Lecuona Served on the White Plains Sustainability Committee and White Plains Budget and Management Advisory Committee.

Schleifer: “I am honored to announce the support of White Plains superstar Milagros Lecuona.”

New York – Adam P. Schleifer, Democratic candidate for Congress in New York’s 17th Congressional District, earned the endorsement of former White Plains Councilwoman, Milagros Lecuona.  Throughout Milagros Lecuona’s twelve-year career as a Councilwoman, she advocated for environmental protection, community growth, and preservation of diversity in White Plains.  She has served on countless boards and committees, such as the Westchester Red Cross Board of Directors, the Westchester Planning Committee, the Westchester Hispanic Coalition, and the Sustainable White Plains Committee.  She is also a member of White Plains’s Historical Society and Volunteer Firefighters group.  Councilwoman Lecuona’s commitment to public service is an extension of her passion for the welfare of the people of White Plains.  Milagros hosts and produces “Livable Cities,” a weekly radio show that airs on WVOX since 2012.

“I am honored to announce the support of Milagros Lecuona, a longtime leader in White Plains who served for twelve years as an esteemed member of its Common Council,” said Schleifer.  “Milagros has consistently served as a voice for residents in White Plains and throughout the lower Hudson Valley.  From her work as Chair of the White Plains Sustainability Committee, a leader on the board of the Westchester Hispanic Coalition, as an urban planner, and volunteer firefighter, Milagros has oriented her life in service to others.”

Milagros Lecuona’s endorsement of Schleifer can be read below:

“I believe Adam Schleifer is the most qualified and best candidate to represent all the residents in New York’s 17th Congressional District, said Milagros Lecuona.  “I am confident that Adam will continue the important legacy of Congresswoman Nita Lowey.  Adam Schleifer’s knowledge and hands-on experience are relevant to the many unprecedented issues we are facing today.  Adam’s experience is remarkable and I strongly believe he will advance innovative programs that will benefit not only the 17th Congressional District, but the entire country.  When I hear Adam speak, I get energized.  His solid ethics and democratic principles reassure me that we will continue to have a member of congress from the 17th District who will keep fighting to help restore trust in our government and for a better, more equitable world.  Adam Schleifer has my vote and full support.” 

Milagros Lecuona is originally from the Canary Islands, Spain. She has resided in White Plains since 1987.  Before coming to the U.S., Milagros lived in Guadalajara, Mexico where she taught at the School of Architecture ITESO and co-owned an art school.

Milagros holds a BS in Architecture from the University of Madrid Spain, where she majored in Urban Planning, and holds dual master’s degrees from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and School of Urban Planning (GSAPP).  She has over three decades of experience in Architecture and Urban Planning.  In recent years, Milagros has been working primarily on educational and cultural facilities and prior to that, Milagros focused on construction and design work on health care facilities and laboratories. She is the principal at Lecuona Associates, an award-winning architectural design and urban planning consulting firm in White Plains.  She is an assistant adjunct professor at the GSAPP urban planning masters program and at the SUNY Empire State College.

Milagros is a former member of the Westchester County Planning Board, the White Plains Open Space Acquisition Advisory Committee and the White Plains Cable Commission.  She was co-president of the WPHS-PTA.  As a councilwoman in White Plains, she was the chair of the White Plains Sustainability Committee, and represented the City of White Plains on the Long Island Sound Water Inter-municipal Committee (LISWIC).  She was a member of the White Plains Budget and Management Advisory Committee and the White Plains Historical Society.  Milagros is a board member of the Westchester Hispanic Coalition and a member of the White Plains Volunteer Fire Fighters.

Milagros Lecuona was a councilwoman in the City of White Plains since 2008.  She has served as a champion for responsible and efficient growth, the protection of the built and the non-built environment, and the preservation of the city’s beautiful and diverse neighborhoods.  During her twelve years in the Common Council, she was a tireless fighter for affordable housing and for universal accessibility on all city parks and playgrounds.

 
About Adam Schleifer:

Adam Schleifer, 38, graduated from Chappaqua’s public schools in 1999 and went on to attend Cornell University and Columbia University Law School, where he served as a Senior & Staff Development Editor on the Columbia Law Review. After graduating from law school, Schleifer served two years as a federal law clerk, first in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, and then in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. 

Schleifer then built a career at one of the nation’s leading law firms before reentering public service, first as a New York State consumer-protection regulator, and then as an Assistant United States Attorney.  Schleifer has prosecuted regulatory and federal-criminal actions against predatory payday and subprime auto lenders; taken dangerous and illegal weapons out of communities; prosecuted crimes of sexual violence and predation; and protected our clean air by prosecuting a conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act.  Adam Schleifer and his wife, Nicole, are residents of New Castle.

Read more about Adam Schleifer at www.AdamSchleifer.com.

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Adam Schleifer Releases Plan To Address Housing Affordability in Rockland and Westchester Counties

In Congress, Schleifer Will Fight for Funding Initiatives, Tax Incentives, and Smart, Fair, HUD Policies to Increase Housing Stock, Fund Local Housing Authorities, and Expand Capital to Low-Income and Marginalized Communities

Schleifer: “We must do more to ensure everyone in Rockland and Westchester Counties has access to affordable and safe housing, and we must support policies to help seniors ‘age in place’ if they so choose”

White Plains, NY – Adam P. Schleifer, a Democratic Candidate for U.S. Congress in New York’s 17th District, released his housing plan to make housing more affordable and accessible for all residents in Westchester and Rockland Counties. Schleifer’s plan would increase investments in programs that fund the construction and rehabilitation of housing units for low- and middle-income families. It calls for funding federal rental assistance programs like housing vouchers and Section 8 so that all eligible residents would be able to receive them. Additionally, Schleifer commits to following in Congresswoman Nita Lowey’s footsteps through federal investment in the Community Development Block Grant, which funds important rehabilitation projects that can protect our children and seniors from public health threats. Finally, Schleifer would target funding to individuals living in communities that have been undermined by federal housing policies of the past, like redlining.

“We must do more to ensure everyone in Rockland and Westchester Counties has access to affordable and safe housing,” said Schleifer. “If we do not act now to lower housing costs for residents of Rockland and Westchester Counties, we are at risk of pricing people out of their homes and leaving working families to fend for themselves in the wake of the COVID pandemic.”

Rockland and Westchester Counties have become expensive for many middle- and low-income families over the past twenty years. Schleifer notes that from 2013-2017, Rockland County had the largest portion (59.4 percent) of rental households paying more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs. In Westchester County, a report published last year found that more than 40 percent of Westchester County residents spend more than 30 percent of their household income on housing. The unaffordable housing market has also pushed young people out of the district. Between 2000 and 2017, the population of 30- to 44-year-olds declined almost 19 percent, while nationally, that same age group grew by 2.1 percent over the same time.

Schleifer’s plan aims to lower housing costs by expanding the supply of housing stock and providing resources to low-income individuals struggling to make ends meet. Schleifer would increase funding for the National Housing Trust, a fund developed under the Obama Administration that creates affordable housing units for extremely low-income households. Schleifer’s plan also increases funding for federal tax policy incentives, like the Low-Income Housing Tax credit, to construct and rehabilitate more affordable private housing for both those near the poverty line as well as the middle class. Finally, Schleifer would fund the Department of Housing and Urban Development so that local housing authorities and those eligible for and dependent on federal rental assistance, including housing vouchers and Section 8 rental assistance, received sufficient funding. As of 2017, funding limitations have prevented 3 out of 4 eligible recipients from getting the federal housing funding they deserve, further exacerbating housing and homelessness crises in many communities across the country.

Schleifer would also build upon the work of Congresswoman Nita Lowey by securing more funding for housing rehabilitation and safety improvements through programs like the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). Schleifer applauds Congresswoman Lowey’s recent procurement of more than $3.6 million of CDBG funds through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for Rockland and Westchester Counties to make critical housing upgrades, especially for seniors, veterans, the disabled, and low-income families. This funding comes at a critical time. COVID-19 has highlighted how vulnerable seniors in long-term care facilities are to residing in such close proximity with one another during a global pandemic. Moreover, in Westchester County alone, 81% of housing units were built before 1979, the year that lead-based paint was no longer used in homes, posing an immediate risk to children living in these units. Under Schleifer’s plan, federal CDBG funding would be directed to make these important upgrades and inoculate our seniors and children from any threats to public health.

Finally, Schleifer seeks to direct resources to communities that traditionally have been excluded from accessing mortgages and other forms of capital. Schleifer’s plan supports creating a down-payment assistance program for any low-income individual living in a formerly-redlined neighborhood as a means of promoting home-ownership and building wealth. Additionally his plan calls for better enforcement of the Community Reinvestment Act, which requires federal regulators to evaluate how well local banks and financial institutions are meeting the credit needs of low- and middle-income families.

About Adam Schleifer:

Adam Schleifer, 38, graduated from Chappaqua’s public schools in 1999 and went on to attend Cornell University and Columbia University Law School, where he served as a Senior & Staff Development Editor on the Columbia Law Review. After graduating from law school, Schleifer served two years as a federal law clerk, first in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, and then in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Schleifer then built a career at one of the nation’s leading law firms before reentering public service, first as a New York State consumer-protection regulator, and then as an Assistant United States Attorney. Schleifer has prosecuted regulatory and federal-criminal actions against predatory payday and subprime auto lenders; taken dangerous and illegal weapons out of communities; prosecuted crimes of sexual violence and predation; and protected our clean air by prosecuting a conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act. Adam Schleifer and his wife, Nicole, are residents of New Castle.

Read more about Adam Schleifer at www.AdamSchleifer.com

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SCHLEIFER RELEASES HIS PLAN FOR COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM TO ENSURE OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL ROCKLAND AND WESTCHESTER RESIDENTS

In Congress, Schleifer Commits to Fighting for Comprehensive Immigration Reform that Unlocks the Potential of Immigrant Communities and Helps Residents throughout Westchester and Rockland Counties to Pursue the American Dream

Schleifer: “The United States of America is built on the hard work and determination of immigrants.”

White Plains, NY – Adam P. Schleifer, a Democratic Candidate for U.S. Congress in New York’s 17th District, announced his plan to fight for permanent, sensible, and just immigration reform in Congress. Schleifer’s policy would provide an efficient, affordable, and permanent path to citizenship and would reject the divisive, hateful, and economically-damaging dog-whistle do-nothingism of President Trump. Westchester and Rockland Counties are home to a multitude of constituents of immigrant backgrounds, with more than 20 percent of residents originating from another country. Schleifer will protect and provide a clear path of opportunity for the next generation of American citizens.

“For centuries, immigrants have enriched our culture and heritage, improved our ties with the rest of the world, and strengthened our economy – to the tune of $2 trillion per year. As the grandson of Holocaust survivors who immigrated to this country as refugees, I understand the importance of providing fair and just opportunity to the immigrants of our country. The United States of America is built on the hard work and determination of immigrants. It is our duty to fight for future American citizens within Westchester and Rockland Counties.”

One of Schleifer’s top priorities is to provide an affordable, attainable path to citizenship for law-abiding members of our society, especially those who were brought here as children. With President Trump rescinding the expansion of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) in 2017, federal programs that were created in an effort to ensure the success of future American citizens are at risk. Schleifer believes we must do better in upholding our humane values and continue to expand the path for opportunity to all. Through legislation similar to the DREAM Act of 2017 (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act), pushed forward by our New York Senator Charles E. Schumer, Schleifer commits to working towards a more just course of action for immigrants and their children.

Schleifer will also propose asylum for those with legitimate claims of oppression abroad. Schleifer believes it is our international, legal, and ethical obligation to welcome those seeking refuge into our communities. As a nationally recognized “sanctuary county” – a jurisdiction that has laws, ordinances, regulations, resolutions, policies, or other practices that obstruct immigration enforcement, Westchester has welcomed those seeking safety and opportunity within American borders. If elected to Congress, Schleifer will work with community members and local leaders to expand these policies to Rockland County and create a district in which all are welcome.

As a federal prosecutor, Schleifer worked tirelessly in keeping our communities safe. Thus, Schleifer understands what needs to be prioritized when protecting the residents of Westchester and Rockland Counties from bigotry and systemic oppression. In Congress, Schleifer will deny President Trump’s funding towards his useless dog-whistle plan to build a wall. Instead, Schleifer will push to return those resources to important military and law-enforcement initiatives. This includes the fight against international drug cartels and the trafficking of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids. The $1.5 million and counting that Trump has exclaimed to need should be used for opportunity, not division.

About Adam Schleifer:

Adam Schleifer, 38, graduated from Chappaqua’s public schools in 1999 and went on to attend Cornell University and Columbia University Law School, where he served as a Senior & Staff Development Editor on the Columbia Law Review. After graduating from law school, Schleifer served two years as a federal law clerk, first in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, and then in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Schleifer then built a career at one of the nation’s leading law firms before reentering public service, first as a New York State consumer-protection regulator, and then as an Assistant United States Attorney. Schleifer has prosecuted regulatory and federal-criminal actions against predatory payday and subprime auto lenders; taken dangerous and illegal weapons out of communities; prosecuted crimes of sexual violence and predation; and protected our clean air by prosecuting a conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act. Adam Schleifer and his wife, Nicole, are residents of New Castle.

Read more about Adam Schleifer at www.AdamSchleifer.com

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SCHLEIFER REVEALS COMPREHENSIVE PLAN TO PROMOTE GENDER EQUALITY AND PROTECT REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS IN ROCKLAND AND WESTCHESTER

If Elected to Congress, Schleifer Will Cosponsor Legislation that Protects a Woman’s Absolute Right to Choose, Fights Against Discrimination in the Workplace, and Addresses Alarming U.S. Maternal Mortality Rate

Schleifer: “I am committed to protecting the constitutional rights of women in Rockland and Westchester Counties.”

White Plains, NY – Adam P. Schleifer, a Democrat Candidate for U.S. Congress in New York’s 17th District, announced his plan on supporting and protecting women’s rights. The plan is broad, focusing on protecting reproductive rights and a woman’s right to choose, ensuring equal pay for equal work, and promoting pro-family policies like paid parental and family leave. Schleifer’s plan also includes fully restoring federal funding towards Planned Parenthood, which has been under assault by the Trump Administration; repealing the Hyde Amendment; enhancing the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to enforce anti-discrimination laws; and curbing the high maternal mortality rate in our country.

“I am committed to protecting the constitutional rights of all women in Rockland and Westchester Counties, including the unequivocal right to reproductive health, abortion, and privacy. Reproductive rights for all women are human rights” Schleifer states. “I will also fight to ensure everyone, regardless of gender, is afforded the opportunity to pursue meaningful careers and get equal pay for equal work, while getting the support we all need while raising families and caring for loved ones.”

If elected to Congress, Schleifer will protect Roe v. Wade and ensure government creates no undue burdens on the right to choose, including, if necessary, by sponsoring federal legislation in the event that right to privacy is undermined in the courts. As the family member of multiple OB-GYNs at the frontlines of protecting reproductive privacy and autonomy, Adam is committed to protecting those rights.

Schleifer’s plan also includes repealing the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of Medicaid for almost all abortions. Schleifer will stand against any measures that would put low-income women at risk or interfere with her right to choose. Given that Medicaid provides coverage to 1 in 5 women of reproductive age (15-44), creating equal access to safe and affordable reproductive care is vital to Adam’s comprehensive plan.

Moreover, Schleifer’s plan emphasizes his commitment to fully funding Planned Parenthood, our nation’s publicly funded family planning program that serves 40 percent of the 4 million individuals who rely on Title X health centers. In 2019, Planned Parenthood was forced to withdraw from the Title X federal family planning program over a Trump Administration rule prohibiting Title X grantees from providing or referring patients for abortion, except in cases of rape, incest, or medical emergency. If elected, Schleifer would support legislation that repeals the rule permanently to reestablish Planned Parenthood health centers, including the ones in White Plains and Spring Valley, as grantees of the program. He would also increase funding for Title X so that women across all backgrounds can have access to crucial and quality essential healthcare.

Schleifer identifies other areas where the federal government can protect a woman’s health and reproductive rights. Schleifer notes that his public health insurance option will include coverage for critical reproductive services, including intrauterine devices (IUDs) and other necessary forms of contraception. He will similarly fight for private insurers to fully cover these services as well. Additionally, Schleifer would marshall federal resources to address the abysmal maternal mortality rate in the United States, particularly for black women. According to a report by the CDC, 658 women died in 2018 during pregnancy, at birth, or within 42 days of birth, placing our country’s maternal mortality rate among the highest of all wealthy countries. The death rate for black women, 37.1 deaths per 100,000 live births, is orders of magnitudes higher than that of white women and Latina women (14.7 and 11.8, respectively). Adam would also support legislation like Senator Harris’s Maternal Care Access and Reducing Emergencies (Maternal CARE) Act, which would address racial bias in maternal health care and provide funding for pregnancy medical home programs for expecting women.

In addition to protecting reproductive rights, Schleifer’s plan also aims at giving women more agency and flexibility as they build their careers and start families. Schleifer would increase funding for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which enforces anti-discrimination laws in the workplace, to eliminate discrimination against women applicants and employees. This is particularly critical when it comes to the gender pay gap, as women only make 82 cents for every $1 a man makes, independent of race. Schleifer will also sponsor legislation requiring employers to provide paid parental leave for at least twelve weeks. Finally, as laid out in his LGBTQ+ plan, Schleifer will push private insurers to cover fertility services so that the millions of people in this country seeking to have children are not routinely deprived of this basic aspect of medical care.

About Adam Schleifer:

Adam Schleifer is running for Congress to serve the people of New York’s 17th District encompassing Rockland County and northern and central Westchester County. Adam, 38, graduated from Chappaqua’s public schools in 1999 and went on to attend Cornell University and Columbia University Law School, where he served as a Senior & Staff Development Editor on the Columbia Law Review. After graduating from law school, Schleifer served two years as a federal law clerk, first in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, and then in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Schleifer then built a career at one of the nation’s leading law firms before reentering public service, first as a New York State consumer-protection regulator, and then as an Assistant United States Attorney. Schleifer has prosecuted regulatory and federal-criminal actions against predatory payday and subprime auto lenders; taken dangerous and illegal weapons out of communities; prosecuted crimes of sexual violence and predation; and protected our clean air by prosecuting a conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act. Adam Schleifer and his wife, Nicole, are residents of New Castle.

Read more about Adam Schleifer at www.AdamSchleifer.com.

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Opinion: Ending the Gun Violence Epidemic

The following op-ed by Adam Schleifer has been published in the Harvard Kennedy School Review on May 19, 2020.

Two deadly epidemics threaten the lives of Americans. Both have cost too many of us our loved ones, imposed relentless burdens on our healthcare professionals, and affected all communities, while disproportionately harming communities of color.  The first is a global threat that originated in nature and will take all the scientific prowess and ingenuity we can muster to defeat:  It is, of course, COVID-19.  The second, uniquely American, is a problem of our own making, and can be dispatched with tools that have long stared us square in the face: gun violence.

The United States is an outlier among similarly wealthy, educated countries when it comes to gun violence.  According to Everytown for Gun Safety, the US gun homicide rate is 25 times that of other wealthy countries. Every year, about 38,000 people die from gun violence – or approximately 100 people per day – and nearly 2,900 of these are children and teens. 

And from one vantage, COVID-19 has brought no respite; cities like Chicago and Philadelphia have experienced an uptick in shootings, further straining the cities’ resources and healthcare capacity.  In the time between March 1 and April 19 of this year, we have actually seen a six percent increase in gun violence deaths relative to the same period last year.   Thus, and notwithstanding the many commonsense policy solutions House Democrats have introduced, the Republican Party’s feckless intransigence on issues of gun safety is allowing an already tragic gun epidemic in our country to become even worse.

For me, this issue hits close to home.  When I was a first-grade student in a New York City public school, a classmate brought what I assumed was a toy gun to class.  First, he pointed it toward me, then he pressed it against me, teasing, “bang, you’re dead.”  I soon learned this was no toy—it was a loaded handgun.  Although I was lucky to escape my personal encounter with a gun at school, in my career as a federal prosecutor, I saw firsthand how destructive illegal gun possession and gun violence can be to communities.  And I am proud to have helped take dozens of illegally possessed and illegal guns off of our streets and out of the hands of dangerous criminals.

Gun reform is part of why I am running for Congress.  It has become an inescapable truth that more guns in our communities means more gun-related deaths. I understand the need for the federal government to end the senseless gun tragedies in our schools, movie theatres, and places of worship, and hold all those responsible for these tragedies accountable.

As a Congressman, one of my first acts will be to introduce my gun reform plan: “STOP” (Securing Threats and Ongoing Protection), which contains 5 key policies.

First, we must institute universal background checks for all those seeking to purchase a firearm.  Current loopholes in federal law allow former criminals, domestic abusers, and people prohibited for mental health reasons to access guns from unlicensed sellers. With the support of more than 90 percent of Americans, implementing universal background checks is arguably the lowest hanging fruit of gun legislation.

Second, we must implement a ban on assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and other weapons of war that have no place in our communities.  In 1994, the U.S. Congress passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which made it “unlawful for a person to manufacture, transfer, or possess” a semiautomatic assault weapon.  The law expired a decade later, but in that time, research found a significant reduction in gun violence attributable to assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Third, we must pass red-flag laws that permit authorities to remove guns from those who are not currently fit, due to mental illness or other instability, to possess those weapons safely.  Today, 19 states have their own versions of red flag laws, including New York, which passed its legislation in 2019 under the leadership of Governor Cuomo.  However, a state-by-state approach to passing red-flag laws is not sufficient. To be successful, it will require federal legislation that applies to all states equally.

Fourth, we must take steps to regulate so-called “ghost guns,” or guns made by individuals using kits or 3D printers.  These guns are particularly dangerous because they are untraceable and anyone, including those prohibited from owning weapons, can make them with ease.  Indeed, as a federal prosecutor, at times I was left powerless to prosecute the possession of dangerous assault weapons from those who made them at home. Neither the bullets nor their victims care whether a dangerous weapon was made in a bedroom or a factory located across state lines, so we must close this glaring loophole.

Finally, as Joe Biden has argued, we must hold gun manufacturers accountable for their contribution to the problem, and ensure they no longer are able to assemble life-destroying weapons with impunity. Current law protects manufacturers from being held civilly liable for their products, a protection that is unique to the gun industry. This protection must end.

As we rally to overcome COVID-19, we should feel empowered to flex the same muscles of pragmatic decisiveness to address the other grave threats to our wellbeing.  Toward the top of that list is a threat entirely of our own making, one that we need no international partners to address:  our own, uniquely-American scourge, the scourge of gun violence.

Opinion: My View — How We Can Reinvigorate Voting and Spur Democratic Participation

The following op-ed authored by Adam Schleifer was published in The River Journal on May 18, 2020.

 

A Republic, if you can keep it—Benjamin Franklin

When Alexis de Tocqueville toured our young nation in 1831, American democratic participation was nothing short of revolutionary to his European eyes.  He noted, “the people reign over the American political world as God rules over the universe.”  And while it should be noted that, due to discriminatory restrictions in the franchise we thankfully recognize today as unjust, a far lower percentage of the total population actually voted then than they do today, it is also fair to say that if the people still reign as a god today, we’re an inattentive, absentee god, at best.

By international standards, our roughly 50 percent voter participation rate is weak.  Perhaps that weakness is a historical legacy of voter suppression; perhaps it’s a sign that our government offers too few solutions to the problems that vex us; perhaps it’s both.  Indeed, in the fifty-seven years since Martin Luther King Jr. uttered these worlds, we might ask whether much at all has changed:

We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until “justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

I believe, however, that the best way for us to ensure a person has something “for which to vote” is, first, to ensure that more people are incentivized and able to cast a vote that counts.  Below, I offer a few observations and proposals to increase the scope of our democracy, which, I hope will also increase its depth and vigor.  And, if elected to Congress in New York’s 17th District, I will work tirelessly to see these provisions written into law, so that nothingnot even a pandemic, can frustrate our democracy.  The below ideas are not the only necessary or good ideas for improving the vigor of the democratic process, but they are a few that appear most achievable and least affected by the spate of recent Supreme Court precedents that have harmed our democratic process.

First, to get more people voting, we should offer a $50 refundable tax credit to everyone who votes in a federal election.  That tax credit would be progressive, because the $50 would represent a greater proportional boost to working and middle class voters than to the wealthiest, while also addressing the economic burden that taking the time to vote imposes on hourly workers and those forced to extend childcare to get to the polls.  I will proudly co-sponsor legislation for such a credit, which would force my Republican colleagues publicly to choose between their stated love of reducing our tax burden and their unstated but apparent love of suppressing voter turnout.

To further boost voter participation and turnout, we must also make Election Day a federal holiday, and join the more than 80 percent of other OECD countries that hold elections on weekends or national holidays.  Additionally, we should provide more funding to states like New York to make voting registration automatic, giving voters the opportunity to “opt out” if they wish to unregister rather than the more cumbersome “opt-in” process we currently have.  Republicans and other critics will argue that such laws will lead to voter fraud, but extensive research debunks that claim.

We should also institute early voting in as many jurisdictions as possible.  By spreading out elections over periods of a week or more rather than just a single day, we permit people the flexibility they need to participate more fully, while reducing the risk of overcrowding that is not only inconvenient, but even dangerous in these times of public-health crisis.  Such a process would also give more time for those with questions or difficulties affecting their registration and ballot-validity to pursue legal redress with judges and other legal officials.

We should also take bold steps to enhance the integrity of our elections.  One way is by setting up independent redistricting commissions in each state to minimize the impact of partisan politics on how we draw state and congressional boundaries.   Currently, eight states have commissions with primary authority over the redistricting lines.  The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision that federal judges cannot oversee state gerrymandering will lead to election bias unless we take the map out of the hands of partisan state legislatures.

Lastly, we must abolish the Electoral College, either through a constitutional amendment or through the National Popular Vote Plan, which I’ve previously published an academic paper on.  Such a plan would allow states to agree with one another to cast their electoral votes for the winner of the national popular vote, so that the Electoral College would become functionally irrelevant.  Such a change would do a lot to engage citizens in the vast majority of states (including California, Texas, and New York) that presidential candidates now safely ignore, while returning us to the basic principle that every person’s vote should count.

If we can begin to unclog the arteries of democracy in these and other ways, perhaps we can come nearer to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s other vision:  a society that offers good people something “for which to vote.”

New Schleifer Ad: With Rockland and Westchester Residents Looking for Oversight and Accountability During COVID-19 Crisis, Schleifer Highlights Experience Working as a Consumer Protection Regulator Under Gov. Cuomo

Schleifer Emphasizes His Strong Record Taking on Healthcare Fraudsters and Standing Up to Bullies Under Gov. Cuomo and as a Federal Prosecutor

Schleifer’s New Ad Compares Sacrifices Being Made by Essential Workers and Health Care Workers to the Failures of the Trump Administration


New York – Adam P. Schleifer, Democratic candidate for Congress in New York’s 17th Congressional District, emphasized in his latest ad his ability to provide oversight and accountability for Rockland and Westchester residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Schleifer’s ad highlights his experience as a consumer protection regulator under Governor Cuomo and federal prosecutor, during which time he spent years fighting healthcare fraudsters and standing up to bullies.

Schleifer’s latest television ad opens with images of scientists, healthcare workers, and first-responders who are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. These images of hope and recovery are juxtaposed with that of President Trump, who Schleifer says has grossly mismanaged the nation’s response to COVID-19, among many other shortcomings in the Oval Office.

The ad then cuts to a picture of Schleifer with Governor Cuomo, under whom Schleifer worked from 2013-2016 when he served in New York’s Department of Financial Services (NY DFS). Schleifer served as a Special Associate Counsel at NY DFS, where he led successful enforcement actions against predatory payday and subprime auto lenders. Schleifer led the first successful investigation and enforcement action against an “online lead generator” and its celebrity spokesperson, who were promoting illegal and predatory payday loans. Schleifer also had an instrumental role in the nation’s first-ever state enforcement action brought by New York under the federal Dodd-Frank Act, which shut down a predatory subprime auto lender. In addition, Schleifer took on improper practices in New York’s medical-malpractice and healthcare industries, and drafted parts of the consent order imposing a $485 million penalty in a major investigation into illegal foreign-currency trading practices.

Finally, the ad closes with a picture of President Trump with Sen. Mitch McConnell. Schleifer has recently called on the Trump administration to reverse their harmful tax cuts that favor the wealthy, fund states like New York in proportion to their economic hardship during COVID-19, and save the U.S. Postal Service for the thousands of Rockland and Westchester residents who rely on the postal service.

Up until he announced his run for Congress last winter, Schleifer was an Assistant United States Attorney, where he led investigations into and successfully prosecuted major financial frauds and other serious crimes. These cases have included handling initial appearances in the Los Angeles portion of the “Operation Varsity Blues” prosecution of college-admissions fraud, as well as prosecuting healthcare fraud, Ponzi, and other investment schemes, including those targeting a religious institution and its elderly members. Schleifer also participated in the reopened investigation into the Guadalajara Cartel’s murder of DEA Special Agent Enrique Camarena, and prosecuted sexual predators and sexual extorters while also working with victims of those terrible crimes. He charged and tried environmental crimes, including an elaborate “smog fraud” designed to circumvent the EPA and dirty California’s air, as well as an arson on federal land at the famed Joshua Tree. Schleifer also took dozens of handguns and assault weapons out of the hands of dangerous and violent criminals by prosecuting numerous federal felony firearm offenses.

The ad can be viewed HERE.

The full transcript of Schleifer’s tribute to frontline heroes and Gov. Cuomo appears below:

While our essential workers and healthcare heroes risk their lives, Trump let us down by ignoring science and giving us toxic advice.

I learned how to lead working for Gov. Cuomo as a consumer protection regulator. And as a federal prosecutor, I stood up to bullies and took on fraud in our healthcare system.

In Congress, I’ll put our health and our safety first. And I’ll make sure that Trump and his cronies will never put us in this position again.


About Adam Schleifer:

Adam Schleifer is running for Congress to serve the people of New York’s 17th District encompassing Rockland County and northern and central Westchester County. Adam, 38, graduated from Chappaqua’s public schools in 1999 and went on to attend Cornell University and Columbia University Law School, where he served as a Senior & Staff Development Editor on the Columbia Law Review. After graduating from law school, Schleifer served two years as a federal law clerk, first in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, and then in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Schleifer then built a career at one of the nation’s leading law firms before reentering public service, first as a New York State consumer-protection regulator, and then as an Assistant United States Attorney. Schleifer has prosecuted regulatory and federal-criminal actions against predatory payday and subprime auto lenders; taken dangerous and illegal weapons out of communities; prosecuted crimes of sexual violence and predation; and protected our clean air by prosecuting a conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act. Adam Schleifer and his wife, Nicole, are residents of New Castle.

Read more about Adam Schleifer at www.AdamSchleifer.com.

Schleifer Unveils Progressive Tax Policy To Boost Rockland And Westchester Economy

If Elected to Congress, Schleifer Will End SALT Cap and Repeal Trump Tax Cuts

Schleifer: “Trump’s cap on the SALT deduction punished residents in Rockland and Westchester.”

White Plains, NY – Adam P. Schleifer, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress in New York’s 17th Congressional District, has unveiled a tax plan to restore fairness and relief from the unfair and fiscally irresponsible Trump-era tax cuts that have undermined the economy in Rockland and Westchester Counties. If elected to Congress, Schleifer will introduce legislation to support homeowners by removing the cap on state and local tax (“SALT”) deductions; undo Trump’s unfair and unsustainable rate cuts for the wealthiest earners; and revise capital gains tax treatment so that those earning the most pay higher, not lower, rates than the middle class.

“Trump’s cap on the SALT deduction punished residents in Rockland and Westchester, along with other residents of blue states, in an unfair and cynically political way,” Schleifer says. “At the same time, Trump’s tax breaks for the wealthiest earners have proven unfair and fiscally-unsustainable. I will fight to repeal his tax cuts, restore marginal rates on the very highest earners, and ensure our tax code is truly progressive by introducing an additional marginal tax rate above $2 million in earnings and limiting preferential capital gains treatment.”

Schleifer plans to undo the entirety of President Trump’s tax plan. Schleifer notes that the Trump tax cuts hurt the economy. Corporate tax revenues declined 31 percent in the first year after the law went into effect. Overall tax revenues have declined as a share of the economy in each of the two years since the tax cut took effect. The tax cuts have not paid for themselves through economic growth, as the Trump Administration claimed would happen. The economy only grew 2.9 percent the year after the law went into effect, which was the same growth the economy experienced in 2015, prior to the 2017 tax cut. The United States’ federal budget deficit increased to $779 billion in fiscal 2018, up 17 percent from the year before.

Schleifer will continue Congresswoman Lowey’s fight to repeal the $10,000 cap on SALT deductions. The cap on SALT deductions disproportionately harms New Yorkers broadly, and people in the district particularly. Before the cap was put in effect, fewer than 20 percent of households making under $50,000 claimed the deduction, but more than 90 percent of households making $200,000 or more claimed it. Because Westchester and Rockland residents pay relatively high taxes, nearly 50 percent of voters in NY 17 claimed the deduction in 2016, ranking as the 16th-highest district in terms of the percentage of filers who claimed a SALT deduction. The SALT repeal has increased the tax burden paid by the average New Yorker by over $2,500 per year.

Schleifer will raise marginal tax rates for the highest earners to prior rates. The Trump tax plan has largely benefited the wealthiest Americans at everyone else’s expense. As a result of the legislation, more than 60 percent of the tax savings went to people in the top 20 percent of the income bracket. Schleifer’s plan would repeal the Trump tax breaks that unfairly benefit the wealthiest of Americans, restore tax rates to their prior levels, and create two new tax brackets for high-income earners. These brackets would include a 40 percent marginal tax rate on those making over $1 million in a year and a 42 percent marginal rate on Americans making over $2 million in a year. Schleifer notes that Americans do not feel that they have benefited from Trump tax cuts generally. A recent poll found only about 40 percent of Americans approved of the cut while 49 percent disapproved. Unsurprisingly, the Economic Policy Institute estimated that the bill increased the average worker’s wages by only about 2 cents per hour.

Schleifer will repeal the Trump corporate tax rates. The Trump tax cuts dramatically lowered the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, caving in to corporate lobbyists who found a big business ally in the president. However, despite the president and congressional Republicans’ promise that such cuts would lead to greater business investment and higher taxable revenues, the Wall Street Journal suggests that companies have not widely passed their tax savings to their employees. One poll of 1,500 companies found that only 4 percent used their tax savings to hire more employees or increase salaries. An analysis of 145 publicly-traded companies showed only 6 percent of tax savings were going to workers, while 56 percent went to shareholders.

Schleifer will eliminate preferential capital gains tax treatment for individuals earning above $1 million in capital gains earnings in a given year. Though any American who sells a capital asset is subject to the capital gains tax, the wealthiest households are the most subject. In 2016, individuals in the top 1 percent received about 22 percent of their income from capital gains compared to less than 1 percent of income for individuals in the bottom 80th percentile. Cuts to and preferential treatment for the capital gains tax rate benefit these wealthier individuals the most. The Trump Administration has suggested that it may push to peg the capital gains tax rate to inflation, and Trump has claimed that he could do so unilaterally with a letter from the Attorney General. The majority of the benefits from indexing capital gains would go to the top 1 percent of earners.

About Adam Schleifer:

Adam Schleifer is running for Congress to serve the people of New York 17th District encompassing Rockland County and northern & central Westchester County. Adam, 38, graduated from Chappaqua’s public schools in 1999 and went on to attend Cornell University and Columbia University Law School, where he served as a Senior & Staff Development Editor on the Columbia Law Review. After graduating from law school, Schleifer served two years as a federal law clerk, first in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, and then in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Schleifer then built a career at one of the nation’s leading law firms before reentering public service, first as a New York State consumer-protection regulator, and then as an Assistant United States Attorney. Schleifer has prosecuted regulatory and federal-criminal actions against predatory payday and subprime auto lenders; taken dangerous and illegal weapons out of communities; prosecuted crimes of sexual violence and predation; and protected our clean air by prosecuting a conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act. Adam Schleifer and his wife, Nicole, are residents of New Castle.

Read more about Adam Schleifer at www.AdamSchleifer.com.

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Adam Schleifer Unveils “I.N.V.E.S.T.” Fund to Spur Federal Rehabilitation of Vital Hudson Valley Infrastructure

Schleifer Pushing for Federal Funding to Repair Roads and Highways, Especially the Palisades Interstate Parkway, Route 9W and 202 in Rockland

Schleifer Notes That Bridges in Clarkstown, Chestnut Ridge, Nyack, Ramapo, Suffern, Dobbs Ferry, Elmsford, and Mount Pleasant Are Rated “Structurally Deficient”

Schleifer: “Infrastructure is the backbone of the Rockland and Westchester economy.”


White Plains, NY – Adam P. Schleifer, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress in New York’s 17th Congressional District (Westchester and Rockland Counties), announced his infrastructure spending plan, “I.N.V.E.S.T.” (Investment in Necessary, Volume-reducing, Efficient Structures and Transportation) Fund. This plan aligns with Senate Democrats’ call for a $1 trillion federal investment that would create 15 million good-paying jobs, with thousands in Rockland and Westchester Counties. Specifically, Schleifer’s I.N.V.E.S.T. Fund would focus on modernized infrastructure throughout the Lower Hudson Valley, a one-seat solution for Rockland commuters along with additional transit options for Rocklanders heading to and from New York CIty, new high-speed ferries, and repairing roads and bridges. Schleifer is also pushing a National Service Plan and Green Infrastructure Corps that would pay for one year of higher education or vocational training for every year a person serves.

“The physical infrastructure of Rockland and Westchester Counties is the bedrock of our economy,” said Schleifer. “Infrastructure informs how New Yorkers travel to work and school, how much produce costs at the supermarket, the cost of water and sewer bills, and more. High-quality infrastructure determines where companies locate and create new jobs. Despite the importance of infrastructure, the Trump administration has allowed too many of our roads, bridges, buildings, and rail throughout Rockland and Westchester Counties to fall into disrepair. We spend less on infrastructure as a percentage of GDP than at any time in the last two decades. Residents in Rockland and Westchester must navigate potholed roads, cross bridges in disrepair, ride on overcrowded trains. And the ‘transit desert’ threatening to parch Rockland must be addressed immediately through a mix of immediate options and longer-term one-seat plans so that Rockland can better attract residents connected with New York City’s economy.”

If elected to Congress, Schleifer’s I.N.V.E.S.T. Fund would spur 21st-century infrastructure on both sides of the Hudson River, and create thousands of good-paying jobs. Schleifer points out that too many students attend school in buildings that are crumbling, and millions of Americans lack access to high-speed internet. Local governments are stuck with the impossible choice of allowing water and sewer systems to deteriorate further or raising local taxes. The American Society of Civil Engineers says we must spend $1.6 trillion above current levels just to get our infrastructure to a state of good repair. Our deteriorating infrastructure already costs the economy close to $200 billion a year, and if we do not make these needed investments now, they will simply cost us more later.

Schleifer’s plan also includes both immediate relief and a one-seat solution for Rockland County commuters into New York City. Schleifer joins Governor Cuomo and Senators Schumer and Gillibrand to push for federal funding for Amtrak’s Gateway program to build two new rail tunnels between New York and New Jersey. The future of the Gateway program depends on federal funding. Schumer has warned that because the tunnels were flooded during Superstorm Sandy, they are deteriorating at a rapid pace. Additionally, these aging tunnels were built between 1904 and 1908, making them structurally unsound. The Gateway program would include building two new tunnels under the Hudson to replace the existing, deteriorating tunnels. This would allow for a one-seat solution for Rockland County commuters.

Schleifer also calls for federal investment into the development of a high-speed ferry directly from Haverstraw and Ossining into New York City. The high-speed ferry would have to pass environmental standards and include renewable energy sources as proposed by local groups, such as the Hudson Riverkeeper. However, such a ferry would allow residents on both sides of the river to commute into New York City in roughly forty minutes from existing ports. Schleifer points to studies that show the strong correlation between long commute times and public health issues. Currently, too many residents in Rockland have to wait for a bus across the Tappan Zee Bridge in order to catch the train in Westchester. A high-speed ferry, combined with one-seat rail from Rockland, would greatly reduce unhealthy commute times.

Schleifer notes that nine of the bridges in the 17th District have a rating of “poor and structurally deficient” from a national transportation research nonprofit. Six of these aging bridges in Rockland County are in Clarkstown, Chestnut Ridge, Nyack, Ramapo, and Suffern. Three of these bridges in Westchester are in Dobbs Ferry, Elmsford, and Mount Pleasant. Most of these bridges carry an average of over 100,000 vehicles per day.

Schleifer’s plan also prioritizes the repair of existing roads and bridges. Specifically, he calls for a major increase in federal funding to repair deteriorating roads and bridges on the Federal-aid Highway System to ensure cost-effective and safe passenger travel. A portion of this new funding would be available on an incentive basis to encourage cities and states to propose and achieve ambitious performance goals for improving local infrastructure. In Congress, he will also push for a bipartisan plan that ensures the sustainability of the Federal Highway Trust Fund in order to prevent our roads and bridges from returning to a state of disrepair after an immediate investment.

Schleifer notes that some roads, such as Routes 202 and 9W by the Palisades Interstate Parkway in Rockland, have been the subject of multiple roadway improvement projects but continue to have problems. In Congress, he will join Senator Schumer to push a three-point plan to improve such roads: first, municipalities will identify needed road repairs; second, a Federal Highway Administration audit must be performed to specify recommendations to boost safety; and third, those recommendations must be prioritized for federal funding through the Transportation Improvement Program and other federal vehicles so that construction can begin immediately.

Additionally, Schleifer is proposing a Green Job Corps as part of his National Service Plan, so that Rockland and Westchester residents who work for nonprofits and government agencies that improve the energy-efficient infrastructure and transportation of the Hudson Valley can make a good living and earn scholarships for college or vocational training.

Schleifer is also announcing his National Service Plan that would pay for one year of higher education or vocational training for every year a person works in the public sector. Schleifer’s I.N.V.E.S.T (Investment in Necessary, Volume-reducing, Efficient, Structures and Transportation) Fund is outlined here:

  • Federal investment in 21st-century infrastructure on both sides of the river.

  • Work toward a one-seat solution for Rockland commuters while pushing NJ Transit to increase existing rail traffic through Secaucus and rolling out an electric-powered bus program with dedicated lanes.  

  • Fund high-speed ferries to make better use of our waterways as arteries of transit.

  • Improve our roads and bridges.

About Adam Schleifer:

Adam Schleifer, 38, graduated from Chappaqua’s public schools in 1999 and went on to attend Cornell University and Columbia University Law School, where he served as a Senior & Staff Development Editor on the Columbia Law Review. After graduating from law school, Schleifer served two years as a federal law clerk, first in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, and then in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Schleifer then built a career at one of the nation’s leading law firms before reentering public service, first as a New York State consumer-protection regulator, and then as an Assistant United States Attorney. Schleifer has prosecuted regulatory and federal-criminal actions against predatory payday and subprime auto lenders; taken dangerous and illegal weapons out of communities; prosecuted crimes of sexual violence and predation; and protected our clean air by prosecuting a conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act. Adam Schleifer and his wife, Nicole, are residents of New Castle.

Read more about Adam Schleifer at www.AdamSchleifer.com.

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