Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: Nov. 1992, 11th full term.

Born: June 13, 1947, Brooklyn

Home: Manhattan

Education: Columbia U., B.A. 1970, Fordham U., J.D. 1978

Professional Career: Legis. asst., NY Assembly, 1972; Law clerk, 1976.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Jewish

Family: married (Joyce Miller) , 1 children

Democrat Jerrold Nadler, first elected in 1992, is among the House’s most outspoken liberals, with a strong civil libertarian bent. He has become increasingly vocal in economic debates and, in 2013, proposed minting a trillion-dollar coin as a way to circumvent the need to raise the federal debt limit.

Nadler was born in Brooklyn and moved around with his family as a child. His parents bought a chicken farm in New Jersey, but the business failed, and they moved back to the city. His father ran a gas station on Long Island and owned an auto parts store. Interested in politics from a young age, Nadler campaigned for Democrat Eugene McCarthy for president while at Columbia University, where he roomed with Dick Morris, who would later become a top adviser to President Bill Clinton. The two were at Columbia during the 1968 campus riots.

After getting his law degree from Fordham University, Nadler ran for the New York Assembly in 1976, at age 29. In the primary, he beat Ruth Messinger, the Democratic nominee for mayor in 1997, by 73 votes. In 1992, he was suddenly presented with the opportunity to run for Congress. Ted Weiss, long an Upper West Side icon, died the day before the September primary, which he won posthumously. The nomination was decided by a convention of almost 1,000 county Democratic committee members. Nadler won 62% of the votes to secure the nomination and thus the election. He has not been seriously challenged since.

In the House’s Nadler’s leftward leanings are evident in his open fondness for the New Deal. He told a New York audience in October 2012 that President Franklin Roosevelt’s economic program “put into practice regulations on corporations and banks to prevent economic catastrophes—regulations that worked until they were dismantled, starting in the 1980s.” He said Republicans have been misguided in cutting social programs and in letting large corporations such as Exxon Mobil pay little or nothing in taxes. He considers the periodic vote to raise the debt ceiling a form of GOP “blackmail,” and in January 2013 embraced the trillion-dollar coin idea, which had bubbled up from economic blogs. “It sounds silly, but it’s absolutely legal,” he told the website Capital New York before the White House shot down the idea. He doesn’t confine his criticism to the GOP. After Hurricane Sandy ravaged New York and other states in October 2012, he said the Federal Emergency Management Agency was ill-equipped to handle large urban disasters and that New York City needed higher seawalls and waterproofed electric power facilities.

As the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee’s Constitution Subcommittee, Nadler has been a counterweight to lawmakers of both parties seeking expanded police powers to crack down on terrorism. It is not because Nadler, as the representative of the site of the September 11 attacks, is unsympathetic to their cause. But he has worked to protect detainees’ habeas corpus rights. When the House voted in September 2012 to extend the warrantless wiretapping program, he bemoaned how much power it gave to presidents. In 2008, he sponsored a bill requiring the Federal Bureau of Investigation to surmount higher legal hurdles before being allowed to use “national security letters,” which are government demands for information not subject to judicial review. He vigorously opposed the USA PATRIOT Act, the Bush administration’s centerpiece anti-terrorism law.

Nadler has little regard for most of the Republican-backed social legislation that makes its way to the Judiciary Committee or for the tea party conservatives who support strict interpretations of the Constitution. “You are not supposed to worship your Constitution; you’re supposed to govern your government by it,” he told The Washington Post in January 2011. He led the fight in the House against conservative proposals to ban same-sex marriage and, in early 2013, blasted the National Rifle Association’s unyielding resistance to gun control legislation in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school massacre. He called the NRA’s suggestion of putting armed guards in schools “ludicrous and insulting.” In early 2009, Nadler held hearings to document what he viewed as the “criminal” abuses of the George W. Bush administration and demanded that former Bush aide Karl Rove testify about the “politicization of the Justice Department” after the firing of several U.S. attorneys around the country allegedly for political reasons.

On foreign policy, Nadler has been a staunch supporter of Israel, but he opposed the Iraq war resolution in 2002. Regarding Afghanistan, he said in July 2010: “An intelligent policy is not to try to remake a country that nobody since Genghis Khan has managed to conquer.” He offered an amendment to a spending bill in February 2011 to defund military operations there that lost overwhelmingly, 98-331. He also was among the Democrats who criticized President Barack Obama in 2011 for intervening militarily in Libya without congressional approval.

For more than a decade now, Nadler has been involved in post-September 11 issues. In late 2010, he helped steer into law a long-delayed measure providing more than $4 billion in compensation to first responders suffering health problems—a development he called “without a doubt the proudest moment of my 34-year career in government.” Right after the attacks, he helped provide $20 billion for rebuilding, and he spearheaded numerous actions on behalf of affected families and small businesses.

As the Northeast’s most senior Democrat on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Nadler has fought to get more rail competition east of the Hudson and to save Amtrak. His biggest project has been a rail-freight tunnel under the Hudson. Lack of a rail-freight line means that New York gets only a tiny share of its freight by rail; a new line could mean cheaper freight and therefore lower consumer prices. Mayor Michael Bloomberg initially sided with neighborhood groups in Queens that object to the plan because it would increase noise, but in 2009, he reversed himself and called it “a good long-term solution.”

Nadler also has been a strong proponent of the Obama administration’s commitment to high-speed passenger rail, which many Republicans have rejected as too expensive. “It simply makes no sense to travel by air between New York and D.C. or Boston, or frankly between any cities within a 500-mile radius,” he said in February 2011. Nadler also successfully fought developer Donald Trump’s attempts to alter the West Side Highway to accommodate his luxury housing project on old rail yards between 59th and 72nd Streets. Trump in turn called Nadler a “hack.”

Nadler has been open about his decision to undergo stomach-reduction surgery in 2002 to combat obesity. The 5-foot-4 Nadler weighed as much as 338 pounds before the procedure but lost more than 60 pounds within three months. “I want to live to see my grandchildren grow up,” he told The New York Times.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-5635

(202) 225-6923

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2109
Washington, DC 20515-3210

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-5635

(202) 225-6923

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2109
Washington, DC 20515-3210

DISTRICT OFFICE

(212) 367-7350

(212) 367-7356

201 Varick Street Room 669
New York, NY 10014-7069

DISTRICT OFFICE

(212) 367-7350

(212) 367-7356

201 Varick Street Room 669
New York, NY 10014-7069

DISTRICT OFFICE

(718) 373-3198

(718) 996-0039

6605 Fort Hamilton Parkway
Brooklyn, NY 11219

DISTRICT OFFICE

(718) 373-3198

(718) 996-0039

6605 Fort Hamilton Parkway
Brooklyn, NY 11219

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(212) 352-0370

315 West 70th Street
New York, NY 10023

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

315 West 70th Street
New York, NY 10023

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Melissa Connolly
Legislative Assistant

Aerospace

Melissa Connolly
Legislative Assistant

Agriculture

Lisette Morton
Legislative Director

Animal Rights

Lisette Morton
Legislative Director

Appropriations

Melissa Connolly
Legislative Assistant

Arts

Lisette Morton
Legislative Director

Banking

Melissa Connolly
Legislative Assistant

Budget

Melissa Connolly
Legislative Assistant

Campaign

Commerce

Melissa Connolly
Legislative Assistant

Consumers

Melissa Connolly
Legislative Assistant

Disaster

Melissa Connolly
Legislative Assistant

Economics

Lisette Morton
Legislative Director

Education

Melissa Connolly
Legislative Assistant

Energy

Lisette Morton
Legislative Director

Entertainment

Lisette Morton
Legislative Director

Environment

Lisette Morton
Legislative Director

Family

Melissa Connolly
Legislative Assistant

Finance

Melissa Connolly
Legislative Assistant

Foreign

Ben Freeman
Legislative Assistant; Press Assistant

Daniel Schwarz
Communications Director

Govt Ops

Lisette Morton
Legislative Director

Jason Everett
Chief Intellectual Property Counsel

Grants

Melissa Connolly
Legislative Assistant

Gun Issues

Health

Melissa Connolly
Legislative Assistant

Homeland Security

John Doty
Washington Director

john.doty@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5635

Lisette Morton
Legislative Director

Housing

Melissa Connolly
Legislative Assistant

Human Rights

John Doty
Washington Director

john.doty@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5635

Immigration

Insurance

Melissa Connolly
Legislative Assistant

Intelligence

John Doty
Washington Director

john.doty@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5635

Judiciary

John Doty
Washington Director

john.doty@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5635

Lisette Morton
Legislative Director

Jason Everett
Chief Intellectual Property Counsel

Labor

Lisette Morton
Legislative Director

Land Use

Lisette Morton
Legislative Director

Medicare

Melissa Connolly
Legislative Assistant

Military

John Doty
Washington Director

john.doty@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5635

National Security

John Doty
Washington Director

john.doty@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5635

Native Americans

Lisette Morton
Legislative Director

Science

Melissa Connolly
Legislative Assistant

Seniors

Melissa Connolly
Legislative Assistant

Small Business

Lisette Morton
Legislative Director

Social Security

Melissa Connolly
Legislative Assistant

Tax

Melissa Connolly
Legislative Assistant

Technology

Lisette Morton
Legislative Director

Telecommunications

John Doty
Washington Director

john.doty@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-5635

Lisette Morton
Legislative Director

Trade

Lisette Morton
Legislative Director

Transportation

Lisette Morton
Legislative Director

Robert Gottheim
District Director; Office Manager

Urban Affairs

Melissa Connolly
Legislative Assistant

Veterans

Ben Freeman
Legislative Assistant; Press Assistant

Welfare

Melissa Connolly
Legislative Assistant

Women

Melissa Connolly
Legislative Assistant

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Jerrold Nadler
Votes: 165,743
Percent: 80.76%
Michael Chan
Votes: 39,413
Percent: 19.24%
2012 PRIMARY
Jerrold Nadler
Unopposed
2010 GENERAL
Jerrold Nadler
Votes: 98,839
Percent: 76.0%
Susan Kone
Votes: 31,996
Percent: 24.44%
2010 PRIMARY
Jerrold Nadler
Unopposed
2008 GENERAL
Jerrold Nadler
Votes: 160,730
Percent: 80.45%
Grace Lin
Votes: 39,047
Percent: 19.54%
2008 PRIMARY
Jerrold Nadler
Unopposed
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (76%), 2008 (80%), 2006 (85%), 2004 (81%), 2002 (76%), 2000 (81%), 1998 (86%), 1996 (82%), 1994 (82%), 1992 (81%), 1992 special (100%)

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