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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

Lohud
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.

House GOP lawmaker calls for stripping colleges of tax dollars over antisemitic protests

April 29, 2024

Fox News
By Christopher Lopez

Rep. Mike Lawler, R-N.Y., joined “Sunday Night in America with Trey Gowdy” to criticize colleges for allowing antisemitic protests on its campuses “under the guise of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.”

Lawler’s criticism comes as students at elite college campuses across the nation are forming “Gaza Solidarity” encampments to call on their respective schools to either cut ties with or end their support of Israel.

The nationwide movement has spread to schools like Columbia, Yale, MIT, UC Berkeley, University of Southern California, Princeton, Harvard, Stanford, Northwestern University, Vanderbilt University, University of Michigan, University of North Carolina, University of Virginia and others.

Lawler said, “Congress must act to crack down on it because these universities and college presidents and administrators are failing in their responsibility to keep these students safe, and to ensure that there is a free exchange of ideas, but based in truth and reality, and not antisemitic rhetoric, designed to threaten and target Jewish students.”

Gowdy then pointed to concerns over the use of “tax dollars or public moneys” funding colleges that either can’t or won’t condemn “racist, antisemitic activities.”

“Bottom line to me is, you need to be able to define what antisemitism is, enforce it and if schools are failing in the enforcement, then they need to be stripped of federal dollars, including student aid. And that’s why I introduced the Stop Antisemitism on College Campuses Act, which would defund institutions of higher learning,” Lawler said.

Lawler also insinuated these colleges would have “cracked down” right away if the ongoing protests were aimed at Blacks, Hispanics or members of the LGBTQ+ community.”

Oftentimes it requires the power of the purse to get these institutions to act, and the threat of taking those federal dollars away, surely will cause many of them, to do what they should have been already doing, which is put an end to these protests because they’re not rooted in fact, they’re not rooted in reality, they’re rooted in antisemitism and the fact that these schools have allowed it to happen, knowing full well that if these were protests against Black people or protests against immigrants or protests against gay people, the schools rightly would have cracked down on it right away, but they are allowing it to happen under the guise of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, but we know what it is, it’s antisemitism at its core.”

The Real Record: Mondaire Jones Equated Immigration and Customs Enforcement with Terrorist Groups and Supports Open Borders

April 20, 2024

Op Ed | Rockland County Times
By Mike Lawler

In a recent op-ed, my opponent Mondaire Jones flat-out lied about my record regarding the border crisis—a crisis that started on his watch and has been worsened by politicians he supports, like President Biden and New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

While I have been actively involved in trying to secure our border while addressing the need for immigration reform as a co-author of the bipartisan Dignity Act for nearly a year, Mondaire Jones did nothing during his time in office to secure the border.

In fact, Mondaire Jones claimed that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was a “racist institution” and that any Democrat who supported funding ICE needed to do some “soul-searching”. If that wasn’t radical enough, Jones also claimed that Border Patrol agents were guilty of “unfathomable cruelty” in doing their jobs to stem the flow of illegal immigration.

This isn’t the only inflammatory statement Mondaire has lodged against law enforcement, either, frequently calling our brave cops “white supremacists”, and more.

During his time in office, Mondaire Jones had ample opportunity to try and address the crisis at our Southern Border. Instead, he focused on trying to find ways to exacerbate it.

Mondaire Jones was a cosponsor of the “Reimagining Asylum Processing Act of 2021” – a bill which would have codified the current Catch and Release policies of the Biden Administration.

Worse still, the bill has a specific carve out for migrants who are a security risk, stating that the “least restrictive alternative to detention” must be imposed even if the “alien poses a security threat”.

In other words, Mondaire favors lawlessness and open borders. But it gets worse – Mondaire was an original cosponsor of the “Fair Adjudications for Immigrants Act”, which, despite the innocent-enough-sounding name, would actually prevent deportation of illegal immigrants convicted of a crime.

Let me be frank: If Mondaire Jones returns to Congress, he won’t quit until the whole country is one big Sanctuary City like New York. How is that working out?

While Mondaire gives Rockland County and the Hudson Valley lip service on what he wouldn’t do to fix the problem, I’ve been working since day one on real solutions.

From the Dignity Act, to H.R.2, to the funding in the recent bipartisan appropriations package (which Mondaire refused to support) that funded thousands of new Border Patrol agents, I’m going to keep ignoring the noise from a desperate, flailing campaign, and focus on delivering real results for the Hudson Valley.

The recent bipartisan appropriations package is a good example -we were able to secure, just in Community Project Funding, more than what Mondaire Jones brought back in CPF in his entire term.

You remember Mondaire’s failed tenure, right? He served for two years where fellow Democrats pushed him out before it was even over because they knew he was too radical for the Hudson Valley. So, he fled to Brooklyn to run there, and then lost again.

I’m going to remain focused on my job, and recommend Mondaire prep for his return to cable news as a talking head.

LAWLER FOR CONGRESS CAMPAIGN UNVEILS WEBSITE HIGHLIGHTING MONDAIRE JONES’ RADICAL RECORD

April 18, 2024

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: [email protected]

Pearl River, NY – 4/18/2024… Today, the Lawler for Congress campaign launched RadicalMondaire.com detailing Mondaire Jones’ extreme record and rhetoric, including calls to ‘defund-the-police’, smearing border patrol and ICE agents, and lavishing praise on anti-Semites and socialists – painting the picture of a far-left radical dangerously out-of-touch with the Hudson Valley.

“Mondaire Jones is a radical whose support for dangerously out-of-touch policies and extreme rhetoric has made it more dangerous to serve in law enforcement and less safe to live in New York,” said Lawler for Congress strategist Chris Russell.  “Mr. Jones is on tape – in his own words – saying we need to ‘defund the police’ and release dangerous criminals from our prisons, and he also wrote a column calling for an end to cash bail.”

Russell said Jones’ record and rhetoric on immigration makes him an extremist on that issue as well.

“While illegal immigrants were pouring across our border at a record pace, Mondaire Jones was busy outlining ways he would ‘further New York as a Sanctuary City,’ attacking border patrol agents as guilty of ‘unfathomable cruelty’ and smearing ICE agents as ‘racist’,” added Russell.  “Make no mistake, Mondaire Jones is Eric Adams and Bill deBlasio on steroids.”  

Russell said the stark differences between Congressman Lawler and candidate Jones on the issues of public safety and immigration will be front and center in the 17th District congressional campaign.

“Congressman Lawler is well on his way to sweeping endorsements from law enforcement because the men and women in blue – and their families – don’t want a ‘defund-the-police’ radical like Mondaire Jones anywhere near elected office,” said Russell. “Instead, they want someone like Congressman Lawler who is delivering millions in local police funding, leading the fight to get rid of cashless bail, and fighting back against New York’s asinine Sanctuary State and City policies that have created a total mess in our region.” 

Learn more by visiting RadicalMondaire.com

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LAWLER FOR CONGRESS CAMPAIGN CALLS ON MONDAIRE JONES TO CONDEMN HIS FELLOW SQUAD MEMBERS FOR VOTING AGAINST BILL LABELING “FROM THE RIVER TO THE SEA”AS ANTISEMITIC

April 17, 2024

Jones voted, on average, 97% of the time with the “Squad” during his time in office, who all voted against the resolution condemning the phrase as antisemitic.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: [email protected]

Pearl River, NY – 4/17/2024… Today, the Lawler for Congress campaign slammed Mondaire Jones’ refusal to condemn the “Squad” for voting against a resolution that labeled the “From the River to the Sea” slogan as antisemitic.

“It’s no surprise that Mondaire Jones refuses to call out the Squad for voting against a resolution that labeled the ‘From the River to the Sea’ slogan as antisemitic,” said Lawler for Congress spokesman Chris Russell.  “The reason? Mr. Jones’ closest friends in Congress, like Jamaal Bowman, AOC, Cori Bush, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib, all voted against the resolution.”

“Mondaire Jones can try to hide from it, but he voted with these members, on average, over 97% of the time during his tenure in Congress,” concluded Russell.  “It’s no coincidence that he’s silent on their votes on this bill – it’s because deep down, he agrees with them.”  
 

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Congressman Lawler’s office closes thousands of constituent cases

March 20, 2024

Mid Hudson News

PEARL RIVER- If you are searching for an answer from a federal agency and can’t get a timely answer, the first place to turn for help is the office of your Representative.  Congressman Mike Lawler’s office recently closed its 3,000 constituent service case.

“I’m thrilled that our team has closed over 3,000 cases in just 63 weeks, returning over 13.85 million dollars to constituents,” said Lawler.  “Our district staff are some of the best in the business, and I’m thankful for all of their hard work on behalf of the residents of New York’s 17th Congressional District.”

According to Lawler, cases have ranged from bringing constituents home safely from Israel after the October 7th attacks, to expediting passports for hundreds of families, including the opening of a new passport facility in the district, to helping those who came to the US for a brighter future, including spouses and family members of US citizens, acquire green cards, to advocating with the IRS to send long-awaited tax refunds, to securing long-awaited VA, Social Security, or Medicare benefits.

Lawler has two district offices, one located in Blue Hill Plaza in Pearl River and the other on McAlpine Avenue in Carmel.

Mike Lawler Joins The Julie Mason Show – SiriusXM

March 20, 2024

Sidewalk Construction Planned In Putnam With Federal Funding

March 15, 2024

Patch
By Lanning Taliaferro

PUTNAM COUNTY, NY — $7.5 million in federal funding has been awarded to Putnam County for a pedestrian improvement project.

The funding will be used for a pedestrian improvement plan, including the replacement and installation of sidewalks, said Rep. Mike Lawler. “This project will improve accessibility and safety, improve connectedness, and improve ADA compliance. It would also result in additional mobility options near senior centers so that Putnam’s Golden Generation has access to amenities in towns around the county.”

Putnam County Executive Kevin Byrne thanked Lawler for the funding in his State of the County speech March 7.

“Earlier this week, I received a call from Congressman Mike Lawler to inform me that the proposed $5.5 million for new construction and accessibility upgrades to sidewalks throughout Putnam County, was included in the House Appropriations Bill that passed yesterday. Thank you, Congressman for keeping Putnam a priority, and bringing home this critical funding,” he said.

The administration plans to design and construct multiple missing sidewalk links, including:

  • Haviland Drive & Fairfield Drive in the Town of Patterson
  • Farm to Market Road & NYS Route 311, Town of Southeast
  • Peaceable Hill Road and Tonetta Lake Road, Town of Southeast/ Village of Brewster
  • East Lake Blvd, Town of Carmel
  • Baldwin Place Road, Town of Carmel
  • Secor Road, Town of Carmel
  • Upper & Lower Station Road, Town of Philipstown
  • Fair Street, Village of Cold Spring

Michael Lewyn, an associate professor at Touro Law Center on Long Island and Director of the Institute on Land Use and Sustainable Development, told Patch that the impetus to accommodate pedestrians as well as cars has been growing in communities nationwide.

“There is at least some trend towards adding sidewalks,” he said. “1000 municipalities have adopted ‘complete streets’ policies which require them to make streets safe for all users (which include walkers and cyclists) — not just in the Northeast but even in car-oriented Sunbelt places. Some of those municipalities have built added sidewalk miles; however, in the absence of a national inventory it is hard to know how many cities have made significant efforts.”

Americans spend an average of $10,000 annually on their cars, plus tax dollars to build and maintain roads and the indirect costs of regulations designed to promote parking and other car-oriented infrastructure. When people feel compelled to drive because of transportation policies where streets are made just for automobiles, the costs of cars can start to look a lot like a government-imposed tax, he wrote in 2o22.