Howard Wolfson on Nita Lowey’s announcement

Howard Wolfson previously served as Congresswoman Nita Lowey’s Chief of Staff and press secretary. Following Lowey’s announcement that she will not be seeking re-election next year, Wolfson sent JI the following:

At a time of such terrible indecency and partisan cynicism in our public life, Nita Lowey built a long and incredibly successful legislative career built on honor and integrity, optimism and inclusion. 

Democracies depend on people like Nita Lowey — legislators who practice the art of persuasion and understand how to build consensus. She had friends on both sides of the aisle and the trust of colleagues across the political spectrum. 

When Nita came to Congress it was run by men and fueled by testosterone — and she fundamentally and forever changed that reality by reshaping not just what leadership looks like but how it leads. Her career can be measured in paths blazed — for women in politics —  or in lives saved — by changing research paradigms and priorities at the NIH or by reducing drunk driving on our roads. 

She is a Lion of Judah and so proud of it — stalwart in her support for a strong US-Israel relationship, always willing to do the quiet work in the Democratic caucus rounding up the votes on behalf of Israel’s aid package. 

Nita changed the lives of the people who worked for her. She taught us that politics could be practiced with a smile and an outstretched hand and that you could compromise to get a law passed without compromising your values. Nita attracted great staff who stayed with her forever because she was a great boss who did great things and we all knew how rare that combination was.

There is a reason that Nita Lowey never lost an election — in fact barely had a challenge — over four decades in Congress. It’s because her constituents fundamentally trusted her and because she never violated that trust. They understood that she was honest and that she was good and they understood how rare those traits are in politics. 

After this Congress they will be rarer still. Until then let’s watch a great lawmaker in her element and learn from her example.