New Jersey District Initiatives
Congressional newsletter to constituents describing Congressman Rothman’s efforts to save the last 8,400 acres of undeveloped land in the Hackensack Meadowlands, December 2001
Preserving the Hackensack Meadowlands
Steve Rothman is credited with lending, for the first time, the weight and efforts of a U.S. Congressional Candidate and then U.S. Congressman to preserving the last 8,400 acres of undeveloped wetlands and open space in the Hackensack Meadowlands, advocating for the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission’s rezoning of that area as “undevelopable,” and securing $10 million dollars in federal funds, plus additional state and local matching funds, for the remediation and protection of all those acres and its wildlife.
As a congressional candidate in 1996, Rothman spoke out against the Empire Tract Mall that threatened to destroy the heart of the Meadowlands. After several years of Rothman’s public and private efforts to stall and prevent the Mills project from receiving approvals from the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers and the U.S. Congress, the company abandoned its plans to build on those acres. As the press later observed: “The battle over the Mills project served as a catalyst for preserving the Meadowlands.”
Record newspaper article on Congressman Rothman’s efforts to save the Hackensack Meadowlands, May 30, 2002
The Hackensack RiverKeeper Bill Sheehan described a key moment in the efforts to save those acres as occurring around 2000 when Rothman called a meeting of all stakeholders and pointed to a big map of the area, where he had drawn a black line around those thousands of acres and said: “This is what we intend to save,” putting developers, their political supporters and everyone else on notice.
In 2004, at the urging of Rothman, who was the U.S. Congressman for that region, and the environmental community, the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission formally rezoned the 8,400 acres as undevelopable.
Marvin Moriarty, the Northeast Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, stated in 2004 that Congressman Rothman had “become the linchpin for ecological conservation activities in the Meadowlands. His unstinting efforts on behalf of the Meadowlands are encyclopedic in volume and scope”.
From 2001 to 2007, Congressman Rothman also secured $10 million in federal funds, plus additional state and local matching funds, to buy up those parcels not already publicly-owned to create an 8,400 acre ecological preserve in the Hackensack Meadowlands.
Congressman Rothman’s efforts to preserve the Hackensack Meadowlands were covered extensively by the media at the time and selected extracts can be found in Further Reading here. A 2002 Congressional newsletter to constituents on the topic can be found here.
Golden Phragmites Award for Congressman Rothman’s efforts to save the Hackensack Meadowlands, September 9, 2001
Steve Rothman is given the National Great Blue Heron Award by Marvin Moriarty, the Northeast Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In making his presentation to Congressman Rothman, Moriarty said: “Mr. Rothman has become the linchpin for ecological conservation activities in the Meadowlands. His unstinting efforts on behalf of the Meadowlands are encyclopedic in volume and scope“, June 2005
In recognition of his work, he was awarded various awards including:
– the Golden Phragmites Award (presented by the NY/NJ Baykeeper in September 2001 for Outstanding Work on Behalf of the Hackensack Meadowlands)
– the 2004 National Great Blue Heron Award (presented by Marvin Moriarty, the Northeast Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the North American Waterfowl Management for Significant Contributions to Waterfowl and Wetland Conservation), and
– the Pete & Toshi Seeger Wetlands Preservation Award (presented by Jeff Tittel of the New Jersey Sierra Club in November 2012 for “Groundbreaking Work in Protecting The New Jersey Meadowlands – for Taking Political Risk While Calling Attention to Wetlands Protection”).
Limiting use of Teterboro Airport
Congressman Rothman Leads Local Officials and Community Leaders
in Opposing the Use of Larger Jets and the Noisiest Airplanes
at Teterboro Airport, December 2001
Congressman Rothman celebrates his successful efforts to have Congress pass his two bills that will keep the huge Boeing Business Jet and the noisiest smaller aircraft from using Teterboro Airport, Summer 2002
Congressman Rothman’s efforts resulted in making Teterboro Airport quieter, safer and less busy for the communities surrounding the airport.
In 2002, Rothman worked with the Port Authority to ban “Stage 1” noisy aircraft from Teterboro airport.
Also, Boeing Company had been working since 1996 to allow its 140,000 pound plus Boeing 737 Business Jets into the airport and filed a complaint with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA then proposed a policy change requiring airports to provide evidence of the potential damages that planes weighing over 100,000 pounds would cause, thus shifting the burden of proof upon local residents and officials and supporting Boeing’s plans.
Congressman Rothman and his partners at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey criticized the proposed exceptions and in 2003 Steve Rothman authored a measure in Congress to prevent the F.A.A from lifting the 100,000 pound weight limit at Teterboro Airport, thus keeping out Boeing’s 737 Business Jets. Rothman’s bill was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate and was signed into law by President Bush in 2002.
In 2004, Congressman Rothman also oversaw the passage of a federal law preventing scheduled passenger air service at Teterboro Airport. He also organized a public-private partnership with the airport’s chief operators to ban the noisiest planes, limit nighttime flights, and to work with surrounding communities to address their additional complaints about the airport.
Further reading on the efforts to limit the use of Teterboro Airport can be found in the Press Archive.
Bipartisan Committee-Approved Mailer from Congressman Rothman to His Constituents Re. “Over $2 Billion” of Federal Dollars Secured by Rothman for Northern New Jersey Projects. Projects included: renovations to local hospitals, improvements to schools, roads and bridges, upgrades to local senior centers, expansions of public transit, purchases of communications equipment for First Responders, repairs to local sewer systems, purchases of environmentally sensitive lands, environmental remediation projects, and scores of economic development projects across his district, May 2010
Bringing billions in federal aid for local needs
During his 16 years in Congress, Rothman brought billions of dollars of federal money for improvements to every one of his area’s local hospitals, and helped local businesses, small and large, garner appropriations for his district and for the state’s transportation and other aging infrastructure, funding for school safety, First Responders, and medical research. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, he was also able to fund many other state projects.
Honoring the Fallen
Congressman Rothman was the author of several pieces of legislation honoring fallen police and armed service members in his Congressional District.
On March 11, 2004, he introduced a bill to re-designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 14-24 Abbott Road in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, as the “Mary Ann Collura Post Office Building”. Officer Collura, an 18-year veteran of the Fair Lawn Police Department and the Borough’s first female officer, was killed in the line of duty on April 4, 2003, in Fair Lawn. The bill was passed by the House and Senate and signed by President George W. Bush on June 25, 2004. The renaming ceremony took place on November 1, 2004, in Fair Lawn, New Jersey.
Congressman Rothman honoring Veterans, September 1999
On April 22, 2010, in response to a request by their families and local officials, Congressman Rothman sponsored bill H.R. 5133 to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 331 1st Street in Carlstadt, New Jersey, as the “Staff Sergeant Frank T. Carvill and Lance Corporal Michael A. Schwarz Post Office Building”. 51-year-old Army National Guard Staff Sergeant Carvill was killed by an improvised explosive device in Baghdad, Iraq on June 4, 2004. 20-year-old Marine Lance Corporal Schwartz was killed by a sniper in Anbar province, Iraq on May 21, 2007. Rothman’s bill was passed by the House and Senate, signed by President Barack Obama on January 4, 2011, and the renaming ceremony took place on April 27, 2011, in Carlstadt, New Jersey.
Conducting Town Hall Meetings
During his 16 years in Congress, Congressman Rothman conducted more than 150 town hall meetings in person and nearly a dozen telephone town hall meetings.
For samples of Congressman Rothman’s Notices to Constituents concerning Listening Session dates, times and locations from 1997 to 2012, see the Photo Gallery.
Congressman Rothman’s newsletter to constituents, Summer 2000
Providing Constituent Services
In his January 2013 article “Reflections on 25 Years in Public Office and the End of a Political Career”, Congressman Rothman cited the constituent service record of his Congressional Office as a source of great pride: “Aside from […] legislative and advocacy achievements, I am so proud of my Constituent Service staff who have helped literally hundreds of thousands of our neighbors. I am also thankful, and was made better and wiser, for having met and spoken with so many at schools, churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, cultural centers, supermarkets, factories, senior citizen centers, veterans halls, rallies and at the more than 150 town hall meetings I conducted, as well as with our troops who shared their time and their stories on my visits to war zones and other places abroad and at home”. Read the full article here.
One area, in particular, of focus for Rothman’s office, was to assist the lawful applications of many thousands of individuals seeking to become U.S.citizens. He and his staff helped people of all national origins. When addressing those foreign born, Spanish-speaking individuals concerned how a congressman’s office would handle their cases, Steve would say: “Todos mis abuelos fueron immigrantes. Por eso, en mi corazon y mi alma, yo soy un immigrante. Siempre” Translation: “All of my grandparents were immigrants [to the U.S.]. So, in my heart and soul I am an immigrant. Always.”
Rothman Congressional Staff
In alphabetical order
Wilson David Bernal
Maria De Fazio
Kelly Dougherty Walz
Sabrina Hall Little
Jennifer Higgins (Rowe)
Al “Zippy” Zampella