When Bruce Blakeman was nine years old, his grandfather sat him on his lap and told him that as a third generation American, he should never forget two facts about himself. The first was that he was an American. The second was that he was Jewish.
Those important words were engraved on Blakeman’s essence and guided him throughout his personal and professional life. Now, those very same principles are paving and shaping the path of his political career. Blakeman is running in the 2014 election for the U.S. House to represent New York’s 4th District. He won the Republican nomination and also ran uncontested for the Conservative and Independence Party nominations in the primary on June 24, 2014.
Last night, a group of us gathered for a private dinner to honor Blakeman and his fiancée, Sigal. The dinner was organized by Dr. Joe Frager, a staunch Israel advocate and supporter.
During the dinner, Blakeman laid out for us the most important components of his platform. He believes that the U.S. is at a crossroad both internally and as far as its role on the international arena is concerned.
On the domestic front, Blakeman is concerned that the working middle class has “once again been forgotten and is being squeezed harder every day.It is easier to get on welfare and get food stamp,” he told me earlier today during our telephone conversation, “than it is to get a job, get a pay raise and to succeed. This is wrong and needs to change.” Blakeman is not only concerned about the present reality. He is also concerned about the future of his fellow Americans. “We have to really worry about whether our children or grandchildren will ever enjoy the same standard of living and security that we knew and now see slipping away.”
On the Foreign Policy front, Blakeman, believes that it has been deeply misguided. His main worry is that America has been and continues to lose its position as a superpower. “I believe in American exceptionalism. I believe America is that “Shining City on the Hill”. He feels that America’s stature in the international community has been weakened. ” We have let ourselves be pushed around by third rate oppressive and dangerous regimes like Iran and North Korea. Weakness invites danger.”
It is this concern of Blakeman that has pushed him to support Israel and what it stands for. Like many other Americans, Blakeman understands the reality that Israel is facing. Furthermore, he also realizes that what Israelis experience at present may soon be the lot of many Americans. If one wishes to avert such an eventuality, one needs to support Israel and make sure that Israel remains strong is one of the tenets of his beliefs.
One of Blackman’s more touching moments last night was when the Deputy Mayor of the City of Jerusalem , Mr. Dov Kalmanovich, who survived a terror attack that nearly killed him, awarded him with the gold pin of the Lion of Jerusalem.
“I have been wearing it all day today,” he announced to me, “and will continue to wear it on my lapel. I love the city of Jerusalem and what it means to us, Jews. I know my grandfather is proud of me!”
Mr. Bruce Blakeman, you have given many of us here good reasons to be proud of you and we wish you the best of luck in November.