This afternoon, President Barack Obama issued a statement to commemorate Congressman Gary Ackerman’s many terms in office. Mr. Ackerman, of course, gave a surprise announcement yesterday evening that he was not going to seek reelection for another term in Washington D.C.
“For over thirty years, Gary Ackerman has represented the people of Queens and Long Island, first as a New York State Senator, and then as a Member of Congress,” Mr. Obama said in his statement. “Gary’s bipartisan efforts helped our nation confront significant challenges at home and abroad.”
“Gary’s unique enthusiasm will be greatly missed in the halls of Congress, but I am confident he will continue to serve the people of New York for years to come. Michelle and I wish him and his family well in the future,” he concluded.
Last night, Mayor Michael Bloomberg also paid tribute to Mr. Ackerman’s service.
“When Gary Ackerman and I visited Israel at the start of Operation Cast Lead in January 2009, rocket alarms went off as we visited the police station in Sderot. As everyone scrambled into the bomb shelter, Gary was cool and collected, which is exactly how he went about business in Congress for more than three decades,” he sad.
Mr. Bloomberg added, “The borough of Queens – and the people of Israel, Africa and so many other areas of the world – have rarely had a stronger ally in Congress, and our entire nation will miss Gary’s encyclopedic knowledge of foreign policy and so many other issues.
For his part, Mr. Ackerman thanked Mr. Obama and Mr. Bloomberg on Facebook, and said he was “overwhelmed by the outpouring of kind words I’ve received following my announcement that I would not run for a 16th term in Congress.”