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Who I am

My parents taught me that life's work can change other people's lives for the better. My mom developed the live-virus chicken pox vaccine. My dad discovered the body's "second brain" in the digestive tract. I admired their accomplishments, but I needed to express my family's commitment to social justice with a more entrepreneurial spirit.

At age 23, I founded one of New York's first sports bars for fellow Mets, Jets, Knicks, and Islanders fans (and occasional Yankees, Giants, and Rangers fans) and followed with a 25-year career as a lender to commercial real estate. In my private life, my family and I have worked consistently for social justice through our synagogue and in our community – I even ran 21 marathons, raising money for charity along the way. That would have been enough for me — until Donald Trump.

Trump's reputation for dishonesty in business dealings was appalling. I had first-hand knowledge going back to my career's start in 1993, when Trump topped the list of untouchable clients. But I was most struck, while visiting a museum in Washington D.C., by the similarities between the rise of authoritarian rule in 1930s and Trump and his style of leadership. The demeaning of the press, the denial of facts and science, the scapegoating of immigrants and minority Americans all stood out as warning signs. I used to believe that these things could not happen in post-World War II America, that, after the end of legal segregation, the slow, if uneven, march to greater economic, racial, gender, and social equality was inevitable.

Trump in the White House is a defining moment in my life. Now I know that decency is not inevitable unless all of us are willing to fight for it, each in our own way.

Our patriotic duty, my patriotic duty, is to fight back. To do that, we Democrats must first take back control of Congress and reign in Trump's extremism until we can vote him out of office. Our congressman, Lee Zeldin, is Trump's staunchest cheerleader in Congress and one of his biggest enablers. Those who are committed to tolerance, decency, progress, science, and democracy must step forward to challenge him, because we are not safe with Trump in office.

My principles are clear: We depend on our environment for life itself. I won't let Trump and Zeldin degrade it. You stop a bad guy by taking the assault rifle out of his hands, not by flooding schools with more guns. Control over a woman's body belongs to her, not to the government.

Decent employment, good healthcare, education for our children, and a secure retirement are the rights of every American, not the privileges of a wealthy few.

My wife and I built our home on Long Island 20 years ago, here in New York's 1st Congressional District. With the help of the neighbors, friends, and community members I've met across Brookhaven, the North and South Forks, Smithtown, and Riverhead, we can defeat Lee Zeldin, take back control of Congress, and stop Donald Trump from wrecking all we hold dear.

Perry

Posted on April 12, 2018.
“It's time Long Island had a strong voice to fight for high-paying jobs, affordable health care, high-quality education and clean air and water.”Perry GershonCandidate for Congress, NY-1