Gary Ackerman

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This is a profile of a former U.S. Representative. (See the New York portal for all incumbents, candidates and blogs.)
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Gary L. Ackerman, a Democrat, has represented the Fifth Congressional District of New York in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1983.


Record and controversies

Congressional scorecards

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Organization 2007 Scorecard
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2008 Scorecard
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Iraq War

For more information see the chart of U.S. House of Representatives votes on the Iraq War.

Ackerman voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 that started the Iraq War.[1]

Environmental record

For more information on environmental legislation, see the Energy and Environment Policy Portal

Support for gun control

  • Cosponsored H.R. 3104 to amend title 18, United States Code, to prohibit the importation and the manufacture of firearms designed to accept a silencer, bayonet, grenade launcher, flash suppressor, or folding stock, of certain ammunition feeding devices, and of related devices, and to provide for the imposition of enhanced penalties for the possession or the use of any such item in a crime of violence or in a drug trafficking crime. (7/30/1991)[2]
Main article: U.S. gun legislation

Christian values

Ackerman was one of only 22 Congressman and the only Democrat from New York to vote against protecting the symbols and traditions of Christmas.[1] The resolution, which did not include language that would protect the symbols of other religous holidays, passed 401-22 in the House in December 2005. This isn't the first time the Congressman was labeled as anti-Christian. Back in April 2003 the Catholic League for religious and civil rights attacked Congressman Ackerman for voting against a non-binding resolution that would have declared a day of prayer in recognition of the U.S. war in Iraq. He was also criticized for calling on President Bush to demand U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige's resignation for stating that values taught in Christian schools are better then those learned in public schools.[2][3]

Stock Value

Ackerman’s stock in defense contractor Xenonics has increased significantly over the past four years while America has been at war in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2002, Ackerman purchased stock in Xenonics worth between $1,000 and $15,000. [4]. Currently the stock is worth between $500,000 and $1,000,000 dollars. [5] Also, since Ackerman's purchase of the stock in 2002, Xenonics has been awarded many million dollar contracts.[6]



Gary Ackerman was born November 19, 1942, on western Long Island, in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Flushing, Queens. He attended local public schools, Brooklyn Technical High School, and received a B.A. from Queens College in 1965. After college, Ackerman became a New York City School teacher where he taught social studies, mathematics, and journalism to junior high school students in Queens.

Following the birth of his first child in 1969, Ackerman petitioned the New York City Board of Education for an unpaid leave of absence to spend time with his newborn daughter. But his request was denied under then existing policy which reserved unpaid "maternity-child care" leave to women only.

In what was to be a forerunner of the Federal Family Leave Act, then teacher Ackerman successfully sued the Board in a landmark case which established the right of either parent to receive unpaid leave for child care. A quarter of a century later, now a Congressman, Ackerman in the House-Senate Conference Committee, signed the report of the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Ackerman's second career move occurred in 1970, when he left teaching to start a weekly community newspaper in Queens called The Flushing Tribune which soon became The Queens Tribune. Ackerman served as its editor and publisher.

Ackerman was first elected to public office—the New York State Senate—in 1978.

Ackerman is a member of B'nai B'rith, a Jewish advocacy group. [7]

Congressional Career

State Senator Ackerman was elected to Congress in 1983 in a special election. Ackerman represented the central Queens area until 1992, when reapportionment reconfigured his district to the north shore of Queens, Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Then redistricting in 2002 slightly redrew the boundaries again to its present configuration of communities in Queens and Nassau.

He has served as Congress' delegate to the United Nations. He is the Present Chairman of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans. In 2002, he was awarded India's third highest civilian award, the Padma Bhushan for his contributions as member of the India Caucus in the Congress.

In his capacity as the then Chairman of the Asia Subcommittee, Ackerman made history in the 1990's by traveling to North Korea to discuss non-proliferation. Upon his return to South Korea, Ackerman became the first person since the Korean War to cross the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone).

Ackerman is also well known for his many missions to feed the starving people of Ethiopia and the Sudan and for playing a leading role in the rescue of Ethiopian Jews and aiding their emigration to Israel. Active in the Middle East peace process, Ackerman has met with the current and most past Israeli prime ministers and the heads of all the Arab countries in an effort to help secure peace in the region. He also ventured to Kashmir enduring sub-freezing winter temperatures in an attempt to secure the release of four western hostages.

He convinced the German government to establish a $110 million fund to compensate 18,000 Holocaust survivors and to investigate whether 3300 former Nazi soldiers now living in the U.S. and collecting German pensions are war criminals.

Congressman Ackerman also convinced the Defense Department to stop garnishing wages from certain U.S. soldiers serving in the war against Iraq. Although troops who serve in combat zones are not required to pay federal taxes, many soldiers had failed to be granted the exemption.

Legislative Highlights

  • Helped to force Hawaii to change its discriminatory law that forbade blind individuals from bringing their guide dogs with them to the Island.
  • Chaired a bipartisan hearing into whether New York City and Long Island officials properly utilized the spraying of Malathion during the West Nile virus outbreak. He also obtained federal funds to combat a return of the virus.
  • Introduced the "Heroes" postage stamp. Revenue from sales of this stamp supported families of rescue workers killed or disabled while responding to the attacks of September 11, 2001 attacks.
  • Passed "Baby AIDS" legislation. The measure requires mandatory HIV testing of newborns and disclosure of the results to the mother. It also forbids insurance companies from terminating the health insurance of anybody who undergoes an AIDS test, regardless of the results.
  • Stopped downed animals from being sold as meat in supermarkets, restaurants and butcher stores. For a decade, Ackerman warned that use of such livestock was not only inhumane treatment of animals but also risked causing a Mad Cow disease disaster in the United States. The Bush Administration — among those who had opposed the bill — finally imposed his ban through regulation.
  • Required banks and financial companies to notify consumers when negative information is placed on their credit reports. The Congressman also sponsored legislation which is now law that in the wake of the Enron, WorldCom and other corporate scandals, prohibits accounting firms from consulting for the companies they audit.
  • Authored legislation that required President George W. Bush to impose sanctions against the Palestinian Authority for not complying with peace agreements it signed with the U.S. and Israel.
  • Got Medicare to cover testing for prostate cancer.
  • Passed measure that prevents war criminals and human rights abusers who have perpetrated genocide, torture, terrorism or other atrocities, from entering the U.S. and deports those who have slipped in.
  • Ackerman sponsored the first federal legislation to ban the use of handheld cell phones while driving

2006 elections

No major candidates announced their intentions to contest Ackerman’s seat in the November 2006 election. (See U.S. congressional elections in 2006) [8]

Money in politics

This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. For specific controversies, see this article's record and controversies section.

Campaign contribution data could not be found.

Links to more campaign contribution information for Gary Ackerman
from the Center for Responsive Politics' site.
Fundraising profile: 2008 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by organization/corporation: 2008 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by industry: 2008 election cycle Career totals

Committees and Affiliations


Committees in the 110th Congress (2007-2008)

Committee assignments in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)

More Background Data

Wikipedia also has an article on Gary Ackerman. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.


DC office
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District offices
  • 218-14 Northern Boulevard, Bayside, NY 11361
    Ph: 718-423-2154 Fax: (none entered)
On the Web
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Campaign office
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Articles and Resources


  1. Roll call vote, Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.
  2. Thomas page on H.R. 3104


Local blogs and discussion sites


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