Colleagues are praising Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-Roslyn Heights, for his years of public service. What do you think of the fiery congressman's tenure?
The 69-year-old congressman announced Thursday evening that he will after serving 15 terms in office. The decision comes on the heels of the .
“Gary was a hard worker and served his district well. He was colorful, flamboyant and very helpful to me when I first ran for Congress,” Rep. Peter King, R-Massapequa, told Patch.
Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi commended Ackerman for his long tenure.
"Congressman Ackerman has made his mark at home and left a legacy of passionate, bold leadership abroad," she said in a statement. "He has served his constituents with distinction and pride, and earned the respect of his colleagues. We wish him and his family well in their future endeavors."
Ackerman represents the Fifth Congressional District of New York, which includes northern Nassau County and west and northeast Queens.
He is a senior member of the full Foreign Affairs Committee, and a ranking member of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia. He also serves on the Financial Services Committee.
Ackerman castigated the Big Three automakers when they flew private jets to Washington asking for a taxpayer bailout in 2008.
"Couldn't you all have downgraded to first class or jet-pooled or something to get here?" he asked. "It would have at least sent a message that you do get it."
And in 2009, he lashed out at U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission general counsel Andrew Vollmer over the fraud case surrounding Bernard Madoff. “The economy is in crisis,” Ackerman told him. “We thought the enemy was Mr. Madoff. I think it’s you.”
Ackerman was first elected to public office in the New York State Senate in 1978.
The congressman, whose term of office ends on Jan. 2, 2013, stated that he plans to remain involved in local and global issues as a private citizen.