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Rep. Mike Lawler, Assemblyman Matt Slater, State Senate Candidate Gina Arena, and Town Supervisor Mike Cazzari Condemn Senator Peter Harckham’s False Claims on Battery Storage Legislation

June 14, 2024

Contact: [email protected]

Carmel, NY – June 14, 2024 … Today, Congressman Mike Lawler, Assemblyman Matt Slater, State Senate Candidate Gina Arena, and Town Supervisor Mike Cazzari released a joint statement condemning State Senator Peter Harckham for spreading falsehoods regarding his controversial battery storage legislation (S7834) and its implications for local control.

A recent op-ed by State Senator Harckham misled the public and distorted the facts surrounding his bill that sought to remove local input on battery storage projects across New York State. Harckham’s bill would have transferred control of local zoning decisions to unelected bureaucrats in Albany, undermining the autonomy and voice of local communities.

Town Supervisor Mike Cazzari emphasized, “The residents of Carmel and Somers raise valid concerns regarding the environmental and safety implications of the proposed battery storage facility. The ORES legislation circumvents local input and rushes these projects without thorough examination. We staunchly oppose any actions undermining local governance and remain committed to advocating for our communities’ right to participate in decisions impacting them directly.”

“Senator Harckham’s attempt to mislead the public is disappointing,” said Congressman Mike Lawler. “His bill was a blatant effort to strip away local control and push through battery storage projects without proper consideration for the concerns of residents, and now he’s lying about the purpose of the legislation – it’s frustrating that Harckham, similar to Mondaire Jones, is resorting to lies in an effort to score political points.”

Assemblyman Matt Slater emphasized the importance of local control, stating, “As a former town supervisor, I understand the critical role that local control plays in maintaining the quality of life in our communities. Senator Harckham’s legislation is an attack on local control and his attempt to paint it as anything else is an outright lie. The residents of Mahopac and Somers deserve better.”

State Senate Candidate Gina Arena also criticized Harckham’s misleading statements, saying, “Senator Harckham’s op-ed is nothing more than a desperate attempt to save face after his bill rightfully failed. His proposal ignored the legitimate concerns of local residents and sought to centralize power in Albany. By pulling his name off the bill, he tacitly admitted its flaws, but now he tries to mislead the public about its intent. This type of political double-talk is unacceptable.”

New York’s 17th Congressional District is just north of New York City and contains all or parts of Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess, and Westchester Counties.



June 11, 2024

During interview, Mondaire Jones admits his radical views “haven’t changed”, that he still wants support from the far-left Working Families Party and will push extremism in Congress

CONTACT: [email protected]

Pearl River, NY – 6/11/2024… Mondaire Jones admitting that his radical “values haven’t changed” and that he still wants support from the far-left WFP, was the most honest thing he’s said in a week, charged the Lawler for Congress campaign today.

“Mondaire Jones was one of the most hyperpartisan, radical voices in Congress during his one-term in DC, and his admission that nothing has changed was the first honest thing he said all week,” said Lawler for Congress spokesman Chris Russell, pointing to Jones’ ranking 381st out of 435 members for partisanship according to the Lugar Center and Georgetown University.  “During an interview with the Times Union, Jones admitted he still supports far-left policies like Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, stacking the Supreme Court, and, one can only assume, Defunding the Police and ICE.”

Russell said Jones’ campaign is in free fall – alienating his radical base while exposing himself as a true phony to everyone else.

“Mondaire Jones has twisted himself into so many knots this past week that he might as well change his campaign logo to a pretzel,” concluded Russell. “It’s already clear to everyone in NY-17 and across the country that Mondaire Jones is, has been, and will always be a far-left, radical politician. Just look at his votes in Congress and the positions he’s taken for years. Absent a time machine, there’s nothing he can do to run from that record.”



June 7, 2024

Report reveals that Sean Patrick Maloney, chair of the DCCC, offered to let Mondaire Jones run in NY-17, and Jones declined, opting for a potential primary against Jamaal Bowman instead.

CONTACT: [email protected]

Pearl River, NY – 6/7/2024… Today, the Lawler for Congress Campaign blasted Mondaire Jones for a damning, exclusive report in City & State that revealed Mondaire Jones chose to abandon the 17th Congressional District despite being offered the chance to run for his own seat in NY-17.

“There you have it folks, Mondaire Jones chose to abandon NY-17 in 2022, even after Sean Patrick Maloney offered to let Jones stay and fight for his seat,” said Lawler for Congress spokesman Chris Russell.  “Instead, Mondaire turned tail and ran away to New York City, because even he knew his views were too extreme to win in the Hudson Valley.”

Russell called on Jones to come clean about his abandonment of the 17th District in 2022.

“While NY-17 is much better off being represented by Congressman Lawler, who is one of the most bipartisan, successful members of Congress, it is time for Mondaire Jones to come clean and admit that he abandoned his constituents in NY-17 for his own personal and political gain,” concluded Russell. “The residents of New York’s 17th Congressional District deserve a member of Congress who will stand and fight for the Hudson Valley, and it’s clear that Mondaire Jones isn’t up for the job.”


Mike Lawler backs federal bill to ban parole for killers of sex assault victims under 18

June 6, 2024

By Nancy Cutler

Two notorious Hudson Valley murders decades ago have fostered another push to extend a federal parole ban for anyone who sexually assaulted and killed a child.

U.S. Rep. Mike Lawler has introduced HR 8587 in the House that would extend a current law that bans parole if the victim is 14 or under to excluding any chance of parole if a victim is under age 18.

The bill carries two names familiar with Rockland County in New York and Bergen County in New Jersey:

  • Paula Bohovesky, who was 16 when she was killed as she walked home from her after-high school job at the Pearl River Library. She was beaten and stabbed by two men who spent the day drinking in a local bar. The 1980 murder took place a block from Paula’s house.
  • Joan D’Alessandro, a 7-year-old who was selling Girl Scout cookies in her Hillsdale, New Jersey, neighborhood. She was sexually attacked and murdered in the spring of 1973 by her neighbor, a teacher at Tappan Zee High School. Her body was found days later at the edge of Harriman State Park in Stony Point. 

The bill is similar to one Lawler, a Republican who now represents the 17th District in the U.S. House of Representatives, pushed in New York when he was a member of the state Assembly. That legislation did not advance.

Expands existing federal codes

The federal legislation would add to existing federal code that bans parole for anyone who sexually assaults and kills a victim who is under age 14. The bill would add: “or if the victim has not attained the age of 18 years if the charge involved a sexual offense.”

For decades now, New York and New Jersey have had versions of Joan’s Law, which bans parole if a victim age 14 and under is sexually assaulted and killed. In New Jersey, unlike New York, Joan’s Law was updated in 2017 to address victims under 18.

A similar bill hasn’t been introduced in the U.S. Senate. In the House, the bill is now in the Judicial Committee.

The cases now

Even though New Jersey had enacted Joan’s Law in 1997 and expanded it in 2017, the little girl’s killer could still continue seeking parole.

John McGowan was a chemistry teacher at Tappan Zee High School. Joan, a 7-year-old Girl Scout, went to sell him cookies at his house, just across the way from the D’Alessandro home in a tight-knit Hillsdale, New Jersey neighborhood. He grabbed her and she was dead within minutes. That was on Holy Thursday. McGowan then drove up to Stony Point and dumped her body at the edge of Harriman State Park. Her body was discovered on Easter Sunday.

“The bipartisan Paula Bohovesky and Joan D’Alessandro Act will put in place penalties at the federal level that will ensure no family has to endure the pain of seeing their child’s tormentor released from prison,” Lawler said in a statement.

A similar bill hasn’t been introduced in the U.S. Senate. In the House, the bill is now in the Judicial Committee.

The cases now

Even though New Jersey had enacted Joan’s Law in 1997 and expanded it in 2017, the little girl’s killer could still continue seeking parole.

John McGowan was a chemistry teacher at Tappan Zee High School. Joan, a 7-year-old Girl Scout, went to sell him cookies at his house, just across the way from the D’Alessandro home in a tight-knit Hillsdale, New Jersey neighborhood. He grabbed her and she was dead within minutes. That was on Holy Thursday. McGowan then drove up to Stony Point and dumped her body at the edge of Harriman State Park. Her body was discovered on Easter Sunday.

McGowan is one of four killers profiled in the book “The Killer Across The Table,” written by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker. They also wrote the popular book “Mindhunter,” which is the basis for a Netflix series of the same name. Even though he had killed just once, the authors firmly believed McGowan was a serial killer who just lacked opportunity.

Numerous parole attempts failed before McGowan died in prison in June 2021. He was due for another parole attempt in 2025.

Bohovesky’s two convicted killers made parole:

  • Robert LaBarbera had originally been paroled in 2019, but was back in prison less than three weeks later after authorities learned he violated his parole by getting drunk. He was paroled again in 2020, under New York City supervision. Now 71, he was discharged from parole in July 2023.
  • Richard McCain was paroled in 2021. Now 63, he remains under parole supervision in New Rochelle.

“I’m more afraid for all the young women walking around,” Lois Bohovesky said in 2021, reflecting on both killers’ release. “If they did it again, my God!”

New York, California are ‘dumpster fires’ under Democrat leadership: Rep. Mike Lawler

June 5, 2024

Fox Business


May 30, 2024

Laments hyper-political prosecution and flimsy legal case aimed at trying to influence the results of 2024 Presidential election

CONTACT: [email protected]

Pearl River, NY – 5/30/2024… Congressman Mike Lawler released the following statement after a jury rendered a guilty verdict in President Trump’s trial in Manhattan.

“The willingness of hyperpartisan New York Democrats like Attorney General Letitia James, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, and even Governor Kathy Hochul, to abuse their monopoly on power in Albany and New York City to wage political war on their enemies should frighten every New Yorker, no matter which party you belong to or who you support for President,” said Congressman Mike Lawler.

“Convicting a former President on what amounts to a campaign finance violation in state court after the Federal Election Commission and The Department of Justice both opted not to pursue these same charges tells you all you need to know. This is a sad day for America. No matter where you fall on this, it undermines our electoral process and our judicial system. Simply put, it is destructive to our country. Our elections should be decided at the ballot box by voters, not by partisan prosecutors with a political ax to grind,” concluded Congressman Lawler.


Rep. Mike Lawler, Assemblyman Matt Slater, and Gina Arena Celebrate Victory for Local Control in Proposed Mahopac Battery Storage Facility

May 16, 2024

CONTACT: [email protected]

Mahopac, NY – May 16, 2024… Today, Congressman Mike Lawler, Assemblyman Matt Slater, and Gina Arena for State Senate released the following statement after achieving a significant victory for local control as state-level legislation to overrule local planning boards and fast track battery storage projects without proper environmental reviews has now stalled.

A proposed battery storage farm in the town of Carmel had raised serious and legitimate concerns among the residents of Mahopac and neighboring Somers due to its proximity to homes—just a few hundred feet away—and the potential risks of pollution to wells and toxic exposure from any potential fire. S7834 would have allowed Albany Democrats to overrule local zoning and planning boards for similar projects around the state. After facing significant pressure from residents, the bill is now dead.

“This is a prime example of why local control is critical in the Hudson Valley. The residents of Mahopac and Somers spoke out loud and clear, and their voices were heard” Congressman Lawler stated. “Albany’s attempt to override local decision-making was thwarted, thanks to the impassioned advocacy of local residents.”

“I firmly believe in the importance of local control, unlike my opponent Mondaire Jones, who cosponsored legislation in Congress that would have overruled local zoning laws,” concluded Congressman Lawler. “It is incumbent on Mondaire Jones to make clear where he stands as it pertains to local control of zoning – especially in the case of this proposed legislation by State Senator Harckham.”

Assemblyman Matt Slater added, “As a former town supervisor I know how important local control is for the Hudson Valley. I proudly led the fight against Governor Hochul’s disastrous housing mandate and will always stand up for our communities to make sure they have the ability to make the best decisions for our neighborhoods and families.”

Gina Arena, a candidate for State Senate, directly criticized Senator Peter Harckham for initially sponsoring the bill. “Senator Harckham’s proposal was a blatant power grab that disregarded the legitimate concerns of local residents. By removing his name from the bill, he acknowledges the mistake, but the damage to his credibility is done. We need leaders who prioritize the safety and well-being of their constituents over political maneuvering to appease the fringe of their party.”

New York’s 17th Congressional District is just north of New York City and contains all or parts of Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess, and Westchester Counties.


James Earl Jones nominated for Congressional Gold Medal on May the 4th: ‘Who says Darth Vader can’t be the good guy for once’

May 4, 2024

New York Post
By Josh Christenson

You don’t know the power of the Dark Side.

Republican Rep. Mike Lawler introduced legislation on Saturday to award a Congressional Gold Medal to a constituent in New York’s 17th Congressional District — James Earl Jones — best known for his resounding voice as Darth Vader in the “Star Wars” movies.

“James Earl Jones shattered racial barriers, served our country in the United States Army and warmed the hearts of hundreds of millions with his countless roles from the theater stage to the movie stage,” Lawler said on “Star Wars Day,” aka “May the 4th,” a play on the franchise’s “May the Force Be With You” catchphrase.

“While we may have disagreed on his participation in the Empire’s quest to build multiple Death Stars, I am thankful to represent him in Congress and look forward to awarding him with this great honor,” the Hudson Valley Republican joked. 

“Who says Darth Vader can’t be the good guy for once?”

“As a devoted fan of history, I’m deeply honored to receive an award that dates back to America’s founding and over recent years, has increasingly recognized lesser-known individuals whose courage and perseverance extends to many areas of our society,” Jones, 93, said in response to receiving the nation’s highest civilian distinction.

“I hope this honor will underscore the importance of the performing arts to our culture — and our future as a nation,” added the Academy Award nominee.

“On a more personal note, I want to thank Congressman Lawler and his staff for initiating this honor.”

Jones honed his thespian talent at the University of Michigan in the 1950s, going on to land a Broadway role in Shakespeare’s “Othello” and win a Tony Award for his performance in August Wilson’s “Fences.”

His film debut arrived with the 1964 black comedy “Dr. Strangelove,” which was followed by later starring roles in the cult classic “Coming to America,” the Academy Award-nominated drama “Field of Dreams” and the spy thriller “The Hunt for Red October.”

In his early years, though, Jones lacked faith in his rhetorical ability, having been afflicted for years with a disturbing stutter.

But with the encouragement of his high school teacher, Donald Crouch, he found his bellowing baritone voice.

“It was responsible for all that I am grateful for in my life,” Jones told Smithsonian Magazine in 2016, crediting Crouch for having made him read poetry out loud to his classmates.

That gift carried him after a brief stint in the Army to the American Theatre Wing in New York, where he further developed his talents.

Other fans of the galaxy far, far away franchise currently serving in Congress co-sponsored the bill at warp speed.

“There’s no Luke Skywalker (my favorite character) without Darth Vader, and no Darth Vader without the genius of James Earl Jones,” said Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-NY). “He’s truly an icon who deserves this recognition for his tremendous acting career and work to break down racial barriers.”

The beloved actor is the “pinnacle of Black American excellence. He helped pave the way for our community in Hollywood and delivered historic performances like Darth Vader to Mufasa along the way,” Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) said, referencing Jones’ bellowing portrayal of Simba’s father in “The Lion King.”

“The American people owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Jones for his tireless devotion to his craft, and I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing legislation that would recognize his achievements with a Congressional Gold Medal.”

The gift of life is beautiful. Democrats and Republicans must do more to protect IVF.

May 3, 2024

By Mike Lawler and Marc Molinaro

For any parent, some of the happiest moments in life are the days their children are born. As fathers, we know firsthand just how beautiful the gift of life is for all families, and the joy of holding your child is immeasurable. As members of Congress, we have sought to do all we can to make life easier for families by working to tackle persistent inflation, lower tax burdens, maintain a strong social safety net and encourage people to start families. That’s why we were so troubled to see a recent decision by the Alabama State Supreme Court that could rob families of ever being able to experience the joy of parenthood.

The decision forced clinics around the state to indefinitely pause access to IVF services for thousands of women. Doctors reluctantly made the decision until they could receive further clarification on what legal liabilities they and their patients could face when going through the IVF process.

While we were heartened to see Alabama’s House and Senate swiftly respond by passing bills to protect doctors and clinics that perform IVF, it remains unnerving that a single, out-of-touch state court was able to unilaterally muscle through these broad restrictions.

The ruling is especially outlandish when you consider how out-of-step it is with the views of a super-majority of Americans. One CBS News poll found that 86% of Americans believe IVF should be legal. And across the country, in red states like Kansas, Kentucky, and Ohio, voters are making it emphatically clear that they are opposed to more restrictions on women.

This watershed moment should be raising red flags for legislators at all levels of government and from both parties.

Unfortunately, it has not. This issue has been largely ignored, especially by members of our own party. We are done waiting. We believe, like most Americans believe, that women and families who choose IVF to bring life into this world should be protected.

That’s why we crossed party lines and became the first two Republicans to sign onto Democrat Rep. Susan Wild’s bill to federally protect IVF services.

Rep. Mike Lawler talks with his constituents during his Mobile Office Hours event at Haverstraw Village Hall Feb. 22, 2024.

This commonsense measure will statutorily protect IVF — precluding any court from forcing its views on IVF onto another woman or family. But supporting IVF protections is just the tip of the iceberg. We should also be doing more to support women and families. That’s why we championed the expansion of the Child Tax Credit in the recent bipartisan tax bill and are fighting to protect critical programs like WIC, which provides supplemental food, health care, and nutrition education for low-income women, infants and children.

We recognize and respect that each of us have different life experiences that shape our views on important issues and different circumstances that inform our decisions. But when it comes to IVF, we can’t let political affiliation get in the way of a commonsense policy that is so popular, and so personal for so many.

Rep. Marc Molinaro talks during a swearing-in ceremony in Saugerties, NY, on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2023.

We hope that by raising our voices, sanity will prevail, and more Republicans will back our effort.

Rep. Mike Lawler, a Republican, represents New York’s 17th District and Rep. Marc Molinaro, also a Republican, represents New York’s 19th District.

Here’s what I saw during my visit to Columbia University

May 2, 2024

Opinion | The Hill
By Mike Lawler

In recent months, we’ve witnessed a troubling surge in antisemitic incidents on our college campuses — culminating in the horrific scenes playing out at “elite” universities this spring. This wave of hatred, camouflaged as political activism, has sown division and left many Jewish students feeling unsafe. 

Just a week ago, I joined Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), House Education and the Workforce Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) and Reps. Anthony D’Esposito (R-N.Y.), and Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.) at Columbia University to hear directly from Jewish students and to meet with members of Columbia’s administration. 

What I heard shocked me. 

Jewish students said they couldn’t attend classes without facing verbal or physical assault and harassment. 

Administration officials begged off of lax enforcement of campus policies, claiming negotiating with students was more productive than having consequences. 

And this has all led to where we find ourselves today. 

Non-enforcement of university policy and a twisted priority placed on not upsetting radical elements of student bodies across the country has allowed this extreme, hateful minority of students to hijack college and university campuses across the country for their own means. 

From California to New York, Illinois to Massachusetts and Ohio to Washington, D.C., these impromptu encampments of hatred have sprouted up. 

And all the while, their occupants have joined in antisemitic chants calling for the extermination of the state of Israel, carrying signs that read “Final Solution” and “Al-Qassam’s Next Targets,” and have expressed support for terrorist groups. 

Will we, as a country, root out and clamp down on these hate mongers, or will we let our country become a breeding ground for antisemitism? 

I know where I stand on this issue. 

Last October, shortly after Hamas’s horrific attack, I introduced the Antisemitism Awareness Act, which passed the House by a broad, bipartisan margin last night. 

It very clearly defines what antisemitism is, preventing the Department of Education from pretending it can’t be defined. It establishes that the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism and its contemporary examples is the one to be used in enforcement of federal antidiscrimination laws. 

It would also expand the authority of the Department of Education to go after antisemitism on college campuses, forcing compliance with federal statutes on antisemitism, and preventing weak-kneed college and university administrators from tolerating this hatred on their campuses. 

Let me be clear. Never again is now. We cannot, as Congress, waver in our resolve and commitment to fighting hatred and antisemitism. 

History will judge us for what we do at this moment. And the question for the Senate is simple: Will you stand up to the radicals spouting antisemitism and calling for a genocide of the Israeli and Jewish people? 

I know what my answer is. And I know what our country’s answer must be. 

Mike Lawler represents New York’s 17th District.