Letter To The Editor: Congressman Israel a No Show at Veterans Forum

Filed under: News,OPINION,Politics |


On August 25, 2012 Veterans for Better Government Coalition held a free public forum at the VFW, 155 Searingtown Road, Albertson, NY 11507, which was hosted and sponsored by myself, Leann Murphy-Baker, Veteran Advocate for veterans throughout Long Island and the country.  Currently, I am individually accredited by the Office of General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, DC.  Previously I worked as a senior paralegal with over 11 years of experience working in law firms and in-house counsel.  My experience includes assisting attorneys and clients throughout the United States with Family Law matters, Insurance Defense, Environmental Litigation, Personal Injury, White Collar Crime, Tax Fraud, Bankruptcy, Asbestos Cases, Contract Litigation, Construction Litigation, Intellectual Property and Complex Litigation. My passion is advocating for disabled veterans who have applied for benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs and Board of Veterans Appeals and for homeless veterans.  I also maintain several Executive Board positions for multiple organizations.

I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to NYS Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr. and Congressional Candidates Stephen Labate, Frank Scaturro and Councilman Dan Halloran for attending the Veterans for Better Government forum. Also in attendance was Lou Imbroto who is running for NYS Assembly.  The following candidates did not appear, but sent someone on their behalf:  Francis Becker was represented by Joe LoPristi, Assemblywoman Grace Meng was represented by Michael Fleischman, and Candidate for the U.S. Senate Wendy Long was represented by Shoshana Weismann.

In addition to Congressman Steve Israel, the following other candidates did not attend, nor did they send someone on their behalf, clearly demonstrating by their actions the lack of concern for veterans: U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy.

Near the end of the program, I asked a young man what he was doing with a VIDEO RECORDING DEVICE under the table and why he attempted to secretly record the forum.  I confronted the young man, who was later identified as Nick Beek, Congressman Steve Israel’s Research Director, and not the concerned citizen he first attempted to portray himself as, in front of the veterans and candidates.  In fact, Mr. Beek not once, not twice, but three times lied to the veterans and me about his identity.

These actions of Congressman Steve Israel are appalling.  Not only did Congressman Israel not show up or send someone on his behalf, he sent someone undercover to secretly record the forum under the disguise of deception and lies.  Congressman Israel’s behavior is not only outrageous, immoral and unbecoming of a man who holds the title of Congressman, but more importantly demonstrates his lack of concern for veteran voters.  Mr. Beek attempted to explain that he was there to record statements of Candidate Stephen Labate, Congressman Israel’s opponent.   This action further demonstrates Congressman Israel’s lack of attentiveness for veteran voters and a misplaced concern for his opponent.

On Monday, August 27, I reached out to Congressman Israel’s office and campaign staff.  Both offices took the position to “dodge” the issue.  Congressman Israel is deceitful, conniving and untrustworthy and is a political figure that uses veterans for photo ops and pretends to care for them.  His actions on Saturday, August 25, speak volumes.

VETERANS. . . REMEMBER ELECTION DAY WHO REALLY CARES ABOUT YOU.  Congressman Steve Israel does not.  DO NOT VOTE FOR HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Support the candidates who cared to show up themselves and listened to the concerns of veteran voters.

Please pass this to everybody that you know. The 3rd Congressional District covers the entire North Shore of Long Island from Whitestone and Little Neck on the West End, through all of Northern Nassau into Huntington and western Smithtown on the East End.

For information, please email Leann Murphy-Baker at leann@veteransprotected.com.

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21 Responses to Letter To The Editor: Congressman Israel a No Show at Veterans Forum

  1. This “forum” sounds more like a tea party event designed to boost the candidacy of those opposing Congressman Israel and Senator Gillibrand. As a disableed veteran I can state unequivocally that there is no greater supporter of veterans and the Northport VA hospital than Mr. Israel and that he does it in a way that counts, not by attending some non-event by poitical wannabees who have a political agenda.

    August 31, 2012 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm

  2. Feel free to contact the e-mail of the author wunder-pet. It’s called ‘Letter to the Editor’. You can always submit one yourself. Are you saying the editors should only pick and choose the Letters they receive that are favorable to Mr Israel? How is that balanced reporting? I have found the Huntingtonian to be fair and balanced during the most contentious election 2011, for the 18th between Spencer and Black they most defiantly represented both sides. You are just trying to demonize the paper. Want to talk about the bias reporting done by Snoozeday and the Long Islander? They are so far left with liberal lies it is not even funny.

    September 1, 2012 8:38 am at 8:38 am

  3. Also it’s not a ‘forum’ it is a NEWSPAPER. I have received deliveries of several NEWSPAPERS for over a year now, with stories also up to the minute, available online. Most local papers are in collusion with local municipalities because the legal notifications they get paid with TAX PAYER DOLLARS! But The Huntingtonian is not which is where I guess you have a problem with them, wunder-pet.

    September 1, 2012 8:42 am at 8:42 am

  4. Please the story before you comment. I was responding to the forum referred to in the article; I was not criticizing the Huntingtonian.

    September 1, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am

  5. Correction: First line in my last commentshould have read “Please read the story..”

    September 1, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am

  6. To wundaboy – I organized the “forum” for the veteran voters to meet with all candidates. My position is impartial. I do not take political sides when it comes to veterans. This was not a tea party, dem, repub event. It was a veteran forum so veterans can know more about the candidates running for office this year. I asked the cadidates questions relating to the Camp Lejune Act that was recently signed into law, the claims process coupled with the backlog issues, VA health care and other veteran related issues. Additionally, the veteran audience asked the candidates several questions. It was also an opportunity for the reps for the candidates who did not attend to speak with veteran voters and take notes of the veterans concerns to inform their candidates. The issue with Israel is that he was more concerned about what other political figures would be there and not the concerns of the veteran voters. Also, to send someone undercover to try and secretly record the forum is disrespectful to veterans. The 80 some veterans who were there from Queens, Nassau and Western Suffolk Counties were outrage and even chanted “take his camera” not to mention other statements. The civilans who attended were even shocked that Israel would stoop to such a level. If Mr. Beek had said in the begining who he was and that he would like to record the event, that would have been ok. But, to LIE at the begining of the forum when I asked if anyone was there from Israel’s office and then lie again not once, not twice, but three times about who he was after being caught trying to record the forum by hiding a camera under the table is an outrage. Wundaboy, you state you are a veteran – how would you feel if someone was trying to secretly record you then lie to your face about who they are and why they are doing it??? I gave Israel the opportunity to respond about the deception and lying. His action regarding the matter speaks volumes.

    Veteran Advocate
    September 1, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am

  7. Wundaboy – I would also like to respond to the comment of yours “non-event by poitical wannabees who have a political agenda” . I do not see NYS Senator Joseph Addabbo as a political wannabe. Fact is, Senator Addabbo is a ranking member of the Senate’s Veterans, Homeland Security & Military Affairs Committee who left his Veteran BBQ event to attend my forum to meet with the veterans, then he went back to his Veteran event. Senator Addabbo is a strong supporter of veterans who would do anything for them. Sen. Addabbo rightly has the respect of the veteran voters.

    The forum was a veteran event. It was for and about the veterans!!! You should have been there. The veterans who did attend, loved it!

    Veteran Advocate
    September 1, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm

  8. well then wunder-pet, if that is true then I apologize.

    September 1, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm

  9. Its a shame that Leann Murphy-Baker can’t “advocate” for veterans with out exploiting them for political purposes. This so-called “advocate” takes every opportunity to associate her group with Republicans and leverage that against Democrats and Independents. Shameful. If we want a honest discussion about how to better serve veterans we shouldn’t have it narrated by a member of the Rockville Center Tea Party Patriots(http://www.meetup.com/rvcteaparty/members/14534197/). Her attacks are so transparent. No where in this diatribe do you read any bashing of HER OWN CONGRESSMAN Rep. Peter King for not showing up. Instead she takes the opportunity to act like a scorned lover and bash Rep. Israel for not showing up to her party. Rep. Israel has done plenty for vets including securing $5.5 million in overdue benefits for local veterans and record funding to help homeless veterans. Any one who says otherwise is being blatantly disingenuous.

    Nice try Leann, but you are a partisan hack and this last stunt is fooling no one.

    September 1, 2012 2:10 pm at 2:10 pm

  10. O.K. I understand your points and if that is what happended I agree that Congressman Israel should explaind this. However, this does not mean he doesn’t care about veterans and I don’t think your anger over this incident justifies your statement “don’t vote for him” (which is political). I am curious though; have you or your organization and Mr. Isreal had some sort of issues in the past that would shed some light on his unwillingness to attend?

    September 1, 2012 2:17 pm at 2:17 pm

  11. After reading the below post by Thomas Jefferson and viewing the meet-up website, I think I now understand and that you ARE tea party and that pretty much explains everything. No wonder Mr. Israel didn’t attend or send a representative(well I guess he did, sort of, if your account is true!. You apparantly DO have a political agenda.

    September 1, 2012 4:00 pm at 4:00 pm

  12. @ Thomas Jefferson – I am not bashing Congressman Israel for not showing up. I am bashing his actions of not sending someone on his behalf openly. Instead he chose to send someone to conceal their idenity and secretly record the veterans. The man was caught. The big question is WHY did he do it?

    Seriously, don’t take what I say, speak with the veterans who were there and are very upset about it. Ask them how they feel about being secretly recorded.

    btw NYS Senator Addabbo is a Democrat and I think he is amazing! =D

    @ Wundaboy – I have never had any issues with Congressman Israel’s past actions.

    Please understand what the forum was. It was an opportunity not only for the veteran voters to meet the Candidates to express their concerns and decide which candidate they want to represent them, but also an opportunity for candidates to meet new veteran voters and hear their concerns. That is why the Incumbents and their opponents were invited. The candidates who were unable to attend, but sent representatives on their behalf was well received by those attended.

    Veteran Advocate
    September 1, 2012 4:34 pm at 4:34 pm

  13. Feel free to check out the Veterans Protected facebook page. Nothing political here. Only up to date information regarding veteran issues, including soldiers KIA in Afghanistan War.


    Most recently posting on the Veterans Protected facebook page


    Veteran Advocate
    September 1, 2012 5:06 pm at 5:06 pm

  14. My name is “GENE CLARK” and I have been a Veteran’s Advocate for over 50 years. I was a Veteran’s Counselor for the Nassau County Veterans Service Agency, served on the National Board of the “Veterans of the Vietnam War”, and more recently, I have come out of “retirement” of 12 years to become Director of the “Veterans Resource Center”, in Rockville Centre, to help in providing Federal, State and local benefit information to those troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan as directed by the POTUS.
    Both Republicans and Democrats I have dealt with on a professional basis, will tell you that I have ONLY the veterans best interest at heart. Veterans consist of both Republicans and Democrats and all that lies in between, and Politicians on both sides of the aisle should place the veteran community outside the realm of “PARTY POLITICS”, and treat the Veterans and Military personel as they should. As AMERICANS who have placed their lives in harms way, to DEFEND ALL CITIZENS OF THE USA, and who would more that likely do it again, without much prodding.
    I intended to be present for the Veterans forum, since it had to do with very important issues, however an unfortunate “Leak” in the basement of my house, prevented me from attending. However, I am responding now to those who have opined in this venue, that Leann Murphy-Baker was somehow “ingenuous” or “self-serving” in bringing people together to discuss what is important to veterans. Well, let me take this opportunity to set some people straight. I have always kept my “fingers-in-the-pie during retirement and when I could, I offered my years of Veteran’s Affairs expertise to people in political office or to the WWII veteran who lives down the block, needing some advice. While keeping in the loop, I have heard the name LEANN MURPHY-BAKER, many times, and never once did I ever hear her name in a derogatory fashion, but only in praise. When I opened the “Veterans Resource Center ” in Rockville Centre, I made it a point to contact her, sit down and discuss veterans issues, and how we could work together and make the lives of our Veterans and Military people and their families more available and less confusing. Neither Leann, myself nor any person connected with the Veteran’s Resource Center, were compensated in any way for their volunteer services. And there were MANY. Most of which were members of the Rockville Centre TEA PARTY PATRIOTS who as members, are bi-partison in their political beliefs. IN the year we have been operating, we had hundreds of Veterans attending our Resource Center. Leann helped dozens of Veterans in their Claims with the VA, and continues to do so. I have personally seen Leann in her dealings with veterans and was immediately convinced of her knowledge, professionalism, and dedication in assisting our veteran community.
    I also have criticisms of politicians who do not attend important meetings regarding public concern. Certainly Veteran issues are at the heart of millions of Veterans and their families in our Country and should be given the most ardent consideration by our political Representatives. My own Nassau County Legislature representative Francis X. Becker (R), who is also a “Candidate for US Congress” against Carolyn McCarthy (D) and Frank Scaturro (Cons), failed to show up at the Veterans Forum, He sent a Representative, but in my years of Veterans Advocacy, I have always felt that sending a “Representative” or a “seconed string player”, is a veiled insult. Truth be told, BECKER is in deep water for supporting a “Joe Mondello” appointment, who HAD ABSOLUTELY no qualifications to run the “Nassau County Veterans Service Agency”. Almost EVERY Veterans Organization in Nassau County opposed his appointment, yet the appointment was made. He lasted 5 months and he was transferred out, because of his “ineptness” but…..with a $10,000 raise in salary. BECKER also was hip deep in the “WELCOMING of the Vice President of El Salvador” to Nassau County, and held ceremonies in which BECKER (the Candidate for the US CONGRESS) extolled the virtues of Vice Presidente, SANCHEZ CEREN and praised him for his “outstaning record of Democratic acheivement” in El Salvador. It turned out that SANCHEZ CEREN was none other that the “Commandante” of the infamous “FMLN” (Communist Terrorist)of Central and South America and was responsible for the deaths of over 70,000 El Salvadorans (many of whose relatives now live in Nassau County, to flee CEREN. BECKER said he bever knew CEREN’S Background. I told him: ” GOOGLE IT !!!!!!) So politics aside, who do you think I will cast my vote for come November ??? Guess !!! As a VETERAN I don’t want a Congressman who can’t tell a Communist Terrorist from a legitimate friend. There comes a time when “COMMON SENSE” needs to guide your path. Stupidity is NOT a qualification for elected office, even though many times it seems that it is.

    Gene Clark

    September 1, 2012 5:27 pm at 5:27 pm

  15. Mr Labate if you are sincere you should ask your parties presidential candidate why he did not even mention our fighting men in his acceptance speech. As William Kristol put it:

    “The United States has some 68,000 troops fighting in Afghanistan. Over two thousand Americans have died in the more than ten years of that war, a war Mitt Romney has supported. Yet in his speech accepting his party’s nomination to be commander in chief, Mitt Romney said not a word about the war in Afghanistan. Nor did he utter a word of appreciation to the troops fighting there, or to those who have fought there. Nor for that matter were there thanks for those who fought in Iraq, another conflict that went unmentioned.”

    “Leave aside the question of the political wisdom of Romney’s silence, and the opportunities it opens up for President Obama next week. What about the civic propriety of a presidential nominee failing even to mention, in his acceptance speech, a war we’re fighting and our young men and women who are fighting it? Has it ever happened that we’ve been at war and a presidential nominee has ignored, in this kind of major and formal speech, the war and our warriors?”

    September 1, 2012 7:32 pm at 7:32 pm

  16. Actually, this has been a rather lively and interesting discourse. We need more of this in an election year and hopefully the candidates will put forth concrete solutions to the problems of the towns, counties, state and nation, not just rhetoric and attacks on their opponents.

    September 1, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm

  17. I should have said fighting men and women.

    September 2, 2012 6:16 am at 6:16 am

  18. Just a point of information, not expressing support or non-support here… I read that Steve Israel’s father just passed away in Arizona. Perhaps that is a reason why he didn’t attend or didn’t get someone to attend in his place. Not making any excuses here, just giving some information that could possibly explain what happened.

    My Town Too
    September 2, 2012 7:31 am at 7:31 am

  19. Condolences for his family and the Congressman for their loss.

    @My Town Too, thank you for the posting. The Congressman did send someone. The man was undercover. That is why the attending veterans, civilians and I are upset. The man from the Congressman’s office lied about working for the Congressman and attempted to secretly record the forum. All he had to do was say in the begining “I am from the Congressman’s office and I would like to record the forum”. That would have been ok.

    But he did not do that. I understand politicians are busy. Again, I am NOT upset that the Congressman did not show up. It is the lying and deception about the video camera and not admitting at first his employee worked for him. That is the part I am upset about. Nothing else.

    Veteran Advocate
    September 2, 2012 8:50 am at 8:50 am

  20. @1653 Like you, I was disappointed Romney did not mention our troops. As I write this my friend is in Afghanistan. Both he and his wife have completed tours in Iraq and other conflicts. One of the questions I presented to the candidates was in regards to the forgotten war.

    The question is posted below.

    The Afghan conflict generates barely a whisper in the routine of most Americans. It’s not a hot topic in the halls of Congress — even though more than 80,000 American troops are still fighting there and dying at a rate of one a day.

    The Afghan war is entering into its 12th year. More recently, a Quinnipiac University poll found that 60 percent of registered voters felt the U.S. should no longer be involved in Afghanistan. Just 31 percent said the U.S. is doing the right thing by fighting there now. Not since the Korean War of the early 1950s — a much shorter but more intense fight — has an armed conflict involving America’s sons and daughters captured so little public attention. According to an analysis of U.S. forces killed in the war by The New York Times, nine out of 10 were enlisted service members and the average age of those who died was 26. Half of the deaths were in Afghanistan’s Kandahar or Helmand provinces — in the country’s Taliban-dominated south, the Times reported.

    Since the Afghan war began in October 2001 the Taliban has regrouped. Since 2006 they have become a serious military threat. by the time President Obama sent 33,000 more troops to Afghanistan in December 2009 in a policy known as the “surge”, years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan had drained Western resources and sapped resolve to build a viable Afghan state. Many argue that bin Laden’s death justifies a quick U.S. exit from Afghanistan. Others say it’s important to stay longer to shore up the Afghan security forces and help build the government so that it can stand on its own. An unstable Afghanistan could again offer sanctuary to militants like al-Qaida who want to harm American and its allies.

    Please state your position in regards to this forgotten war.

    Veteran Advocate
    September 2, 2012 9:03 am at 9:03 am

  21. We never should have invaded Iraq (the Iraqis had nothing to do with 9/11 attacks on the U.S.) Given the Soviet experience and the British before them, we shoiuld not have invaded Afghanistan either. Worse, fighting a counter-insurgecny war there(ala Vietnam) is wrong. We should have used counter-intelligence and did surgical air strikes to neutralize the al-Qaida camps. I distrust the U.S. military/industrial complex as much today as I did as a draftee during the Vietnam War in 1968. The cost to America in terms of lost lives and injuries to our brave troops and economics cannot be justified. Americans are sick and tired of this war. The Republicans know that and their failure at their convention to acknowledge the wars and the responsibility of the Bush/Cheney administration or the sacrifices of our fighting men and women is simply a calculated strategy to help them get elected.

    September 2, 2012 1:23 pm at 1:23 pm

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