Issue One welcomes former Democratic New York Representative Steve Israel to our ReFormers Caucus, the largest coalition of its kind: 181 former members of Congress and governors dedicated to returning government to the American people.
“Steve Israel stands as a prime example of how the fundraising-first culture drives good public servants from office,” said Issue One Executive Director Nick Penniman. “We are fortunate that Steve will help us deliver solutions inside and outside the beltway.”
Much of Rep. Israel’s professional life has been dedicated to public service. He worked for fellow ReFormer Rep. Richard Ottinger (D-NY) before running for the Huntington, NY town board, on which he served from 1993 to 2001. He was elected to Congress to represent New York’s 2nd District before being redistricted to the 3rd District, which contains much of the North Shore of Long Island. Throughout his eight terms, Rep. Israel proved to be committed to reforming the House of Representatives. Between serving on the Appropriations Committee as well as Assistant Democratic Whip, Rep. Israel founded the Congressional Center Aisle Caucus, which sought to bridge gaps between the parties to create an atmosphere of productivity. It is his dedication to fixing our broken political system that led Rep. Israel to join Issue One’s ReFormers Caucus Campaign Finance Solutions Summit at the Brookings Institution early last year.
As Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), Rep. Israel had a front-row seat while America’s campaign finance system has derailed the legislative progress. In announcing his decision not to run for reelection in 2016, he penned a stunningly candid op-ed in the New York Times condemning the fundraising addiction that plagues both parties in Congress. “Confessions of a Congressman” begins with a sigh of relief: Following his retirement, the Congressman would be “liberated from a fundraising regime that’s never been more dangerous to our democracy.” In an interview with the Times just after deciding not to run for re-election Israel said,” “I don’t think I can spend another day in another call room making another call begging for money. I always knew the system was dysfunctional. Now it is beyond broken.”
Upon his retirement, Congressman Israel joined CNN as a political contributor and was tapped by Long Island University to chair its Global Institute. He also sits on the Board of Directors for the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America and is writing his second novel.