You know, I often become so engrossed in my own practice, family, and other endeavors that I lose track of other things in the world. This is one of those times.
Lee Zeldin, an attorney from Suffolk County, New York, recently won the race for NY state senate by defeating the incumbent, Brian Foley. Two years ago, Lee ran for US House of Representatives in NY, and I managed his Missouri campaign office (inside joke). However, I was not tracking his 2010 run for State Senate. How did I miss it? Some friend I am.
I’ve known Lee since 2004 when we met at the Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School in Charlottesville, Virginia. He, Rob Nye, and I went to lunch together 4-5 times a week for 3 months, and those lunches are some of my fondest memories from the JAG Basic Course. You never knew where the conversation would turn, and the laughter never ceased–especially at the expense of each other. To this day, I’d go out of my way to help either of them.
Because the Army moved me every 2-3 years since 1996, I made a small handful of good friends who I do not have the privilege of seeing on a regular basis, though I wish I could. Lee and Rob are two of them.
Lee and I do not agree on all issues. I doubt we’d be friends if we did. However, I can say that he is one of the brightest individuals I’ve met. He possesses a razor-sharp wit and the ability to spot legal issues with little or no effort. Plus, he gives a damn. I sincerely believe that NY is better with him in a leadership role.
My JAG Basic Course was quite the collection of individuals. Now, two of my classmates hold elected office: Lee and Beau Biden. They certainly raise the overall level of excellence for our class–even with the likes of me dragging-down the average. I’m always happy to see my friends excel–especially those who I know are solid, conscientious individuals.
With that said, Lee, congratulations. For what its worth, you got 100% of the Missouri vote. I’m terribly sorry I missed your campaign.