Written by Wendy Kreitzman Thursday, 02 May 2013 00:00
“You learn more by listening,” said Great Neck’s fairly new congressman, Steve Israel, who added Great Neck to his district in the November 2012 election. Rep. Israel, whose district used to encompass only parts of Eastern Long Island, emphasized making the United States a better and safer country for the next generation, as he spoke at a recent Great Neck Democratic Club meeting.
srael said he learned to shorten his speeches thanks to a fourth grade student, who, while thanking the congressman for visiting his school, also said “thank you” for a short speech, so he did not have to miss recess. Israel has that letter on display in his Washington, D.C. office. For him, it is important to have contact with his public and he just opened his new Great Neck office on Barstow Road in Great Neck.
Prior to this meeting, Israel had visited the Great Neck Arts Center and had attended a ceremony for local Intel winners. “We value our students … we are interested in the future,” he said.
The future is where it is at for Steve Israel. “It’s fundamentally important … it’s my job and yours … children should grow up safe and secure and stable … that’s what I do for a living … to make sure those fourth graders have a future.”
And Israel spoke about the world of 2030, a world where those fourth graders will live. A future world for which there is much attention already, including attention from even the CIA. There is the fear of fighting in the world and the National Intelligence Council has prepared a report, “a brilliant report,” according to Israel. And the report focused on several issues.
First, Israel spoke to the fact that between now and 2030, the world will add 1.2 billion people. This, he said, will cause major problems in the U.S., “unless we get it right.”
Second, is the issue of the American population growing older. Israel said that the elderly are the fasted growing population in the country. This will result in the need for medical technology and will have an impact on Medicare and Social Security.
Third, there is the fact that more people are moving back into the cities --- 50 percent now living in cities as opposed to the 2030 expectation of 60 percent living in cities. This will impact government and there will be a need for major investments in cities and the possibility of more homeless people in the cities.
And, fourth, there is the issue of “disruptive technology” impacting life, including the now-existing 3D printing, where gun parts can be made in plastic.
Number five, Israel spoke of the “immense demand for resources,” with an upcoming 35 percent increase in the need for food for the world, as well as the need for more water and energy.
“This is a pivotal moment,” Israel told the audience. He emphasized that “today’s decision will have an immense impact on the very next generation.” This, he said, has only happened four times in history: 1815, 1919, 1945, 1989, and now in 2013.
“If we get it right, it will be a magnificent world --- safe and secure, good jobs … the stakes are high.” But Israel is confident that the United States has a history of “doing the right thing for our children.”
Also adorning Israel’s D.C. office are the immigration papers for his grandfathers. When he questions an issue, he tries to think of what his grandparents would say. “They came for the next generation, to make life better,” Israel said. And today their grandson, a congressman, promises that he will try to do the same thing.
As he finished, Israel answered several audience questions, including what was his toughest decision ever. That, he answered, was his decision to vote to go in to Iraq. Steve Israel said that he, and the other congressmen, had been given false information.
Answering human rights questions. Israel reiterated his dedication to the future and his promise to make this a better world “for those fourth graders.”