👋 Good Wednesday morning!
In today’s Daily Kickoff, we talk to Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart about his plans as head of one of the House Appropriations subcommittees, and interview Will Scharf, who announced his bid for Missouri attorney general last night. Also in today’s Daily Kickoff: Jake Tapper, Nikki Haley and Amos Yadlin.
Secretary of State Tony Blinken wrapped his trip to the Middle East last night, following a meeting in Ramallah on Tuesday afternoon with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Speaking to press gathered at Jerusalem’s Waldorf Astoria hotel before his return to the U.S., Blinken addressed the escalation in tensions, saying that Israeli and Palestinian leaders “have to work together to find a path forward that both defuses the current cycle of violence and also leads to positive steps that each can take to build back some trust and confidence.” Earlier in the day, Blinken had announced that the U.S. would provide an additional $50 million to the U.N. agency tasked with working with Palestinians.
Blinken’s trip caps off a series of visits from high-level U.S. officials to the region, including National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, CIA Director Bill Burns and the National Security Council’s Brett McGurk, at a time of escalating tensions on the ground. Blinken’s remarks alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this week underscored the administration’s continued conversations with Israel.
David Makovsky, the Ziegler distinguished fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told us that the Biden administration sees Netanyahu’s new government as “potentially sharply different” than prior Netanyahu governments. “Netanyahu’s objective for the Blinken visit was to insist he will steer this ship in a responsible way,” Makovsky said. “And therefore the prime minister insists there is more continuity than discontinuity from his previous coalitions. It is no secret that he wants the focus of U.S.-Israel relations to be both about stopping Tehran and jumpstarting a breakthrough with Riyadh. Netanyahu knows he needs Washington for both and wants the focus of the bilateral relationship to be on common interests.”
“However,” Makovsky continued, “I think the significance of the Blinken visit this week is that he made it crystal clear that the U.S.-Israel relationship is so special because it is based on common values and not just common interests. These common Western values are what attracted virtually every American president to Israel from Harry Truman to Joe Biden. Standing alongside Netanyahu, Blinken spoke publicly, albeit diplomatically and respectfully, about the character of democratic governance beyond elections. It was something that was always a source of beaming pride for Israelis for the last 75 years as they justifiably called themselves the only democracy in the Middle East.”
Danielle Pletka, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, took a less sanguine approach to the visit. “Perhaps if Tony Blinken had taken a playbook from 2023, and not 1983, he might have achieved something on his visits to Jerusalem and Ramallah,” she emailed us. “But mouthing platitudes about a two-state solution, the evils of ‘settlements,’ and talk about ‘deescalation’ really doesn’t cut it anymore. And pledging more money to Hamas-supporting UNRWA? #Smh, what the heck was the Biden administration thinking? If Washington was trying to send the message that it isn’t turning away from the Middle East, this trip didn’t do it. The reverse.”
The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Aaron David Miller asked, “What [is the administration] prepared to do beyond very strong rhetoric, private conversations with the prime minister? To me, that’s the acid test. And my answer, until I’m persuaded otherwise, is they’re not prepared to do much. I think for [three] reasons. Number one: It’s bad politics, particularly as the president in the next several weeks or months or so is going to announce his intention to seek a second term. Second, it is not their big priority and will not be a defining legacy piece for the president. And number three, fighting with Israel is an occupational hazard. Presidents don’t want to do it. When they do do it, it’s almost always because they sense that there is some opportunity — maybe generated by a crisis — but some opportunity, that if in fact they can move this along, the fight with the Israelis and their supporters in the United States becomes worth it.”
“Think Richard Nixon and [former Secretary of State Henry] Kissinger and the three disengagement agreements following the ‘73 war,” Miller added. “Think Jimmy Carter at Camp David and the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. Think Bush 41 and James Baker over Madrid. All of them wrangled with Israeli prime ministers and with the Jewish community [in the U.S.], but all of them succeeded in accomplishing important things. Nixon/Kissinger: three disengagement agreements, one of which, the second one with Egypt, clearly laid the foundation for [Anwar] Sadat’s trip to Jerusalem. Carter, obviously Camp David and the peace treaty. And Bush 41 is Baker, Madrid.”
“I think that as they look at this situation, if Biden believed that there really was a serious opportunity on the Israeli-Palestinian issue to move matters along,” Miller concluded, “I think he might be inclined to become involved proactively and not wait for what may be coming, which is another May 2021 [conflict]. So I think they really do believe that there’s not much that can be done, and they’re probably right.”
Transparency International issued its latest corruption ratings, which track countries’ efforts to tackle corruption, on Tuesday. The UAE, Israel, Qatar and Saudi Arabia hold the top four spots in the Middle East, ranking the highest for addressing corruption, while Syria, Yemen, Libya and Iraq round out the lowest-scoring countries.
This evening in Washington, President Joe Biden will hold an official farewell to Ron Klain, who has served as chief of staff since the beginning of Biden’s term.
Díaz-Balart promises to get ‘aggressive’ on the U.N. as Appropriations leader
Days before Secretary of State Tony Blinken announced plans to send an additional $50 million in aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), one of the new House leaders who will have a key oversight role regarding that aid previewed plans to take a hard look at U.N. funding. Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart (R-FL), who is stepping into the leadership of the House subcommittee that oversees spending levels for U.S. foreign aid, the State Department and other international programs, told Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod last week that he’ll be placing every dollar that comes through the committee under strict scrutiny — with a particular eye toward funding that goes to the United Nations.
UN-satisfied: “You can’t expect the American people to take an organization seriously if they don’t take themselves seriously,” he said, referring to the United Nations. “If you have an organization, for example, that has a Human Rights Council made up of the world’s worst human rights violators, that just doesn’t pass a straight-face test.” “I’m not willing to look the other way,” Díaz-Balart continued, emphasizing that the U.N. “better start taking itself seriously if it wants me to take it seriously” and will have to “justify every dollar.”
Cut or not to cut: Díaz-Balart declined to say if he’d seek to cut off U.S. aid to the Palestinians, as the Trump administration did, but laid out concerns about the Palestinian Authority’s payments to the families of terrorists and the U.N. Relief and Works Agency’s educational materials valorizing terrorism. “[It’s] hard for me to justify that American taxpayers spending should be going to things like that,” he said. Outside of UNRWA, the U.S. provides direct aid to various Palestinian NGOs, which Díaz-Balart said would also have to be “looked at with a microscope.”
Strong affinity: The Miami-Dade congressman, born to Cuban parents, has long been a prominent voice in the House in favor of Israel and against antisemitism. Díaz-Balart described Israel as an “amazing democracy” and “one of our best allies in the world” that “shares our values, our principles,” whose location in the Middle East “makes it even more of a miracle.” “The day that the United States loses its will to do what it needs to, to protect an ally like that,” he said, “is the day we’ve lost our will to really survive… the day that we’ve given up on who we are.”
Across the aisle: In areas like Israel and antisemitism, Díaz-Balart frequently partners with Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), with whom he co-chairs the bipartisan Latino-Jewish Caucus and the Interparliamentary Task Force to Combat Online Antisemitism. “It’s been a pleasure to work alongside my friend Mario over the last 25 years,” Wasserman Schultz told JI last week. “We have, of course, sparred and disagreed over policy, but when it comes to fundamental issues like combating antisemitism and maintaining bipartisan support for the U.S.-Israel relationship, we are in near lockstep. I am proud to see him move into this new leadership role and look forward to continuing our strong partnership.”
back on track
House to vote on Omar’s Foreign Affairs removal
Following days of uncertainty, House Republicans’ effort to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) from the Foreign Affairs Committee now appears to be back on track, with legislators expected to vote on the measure as soon as Wednesday, Jewish Insider’s Marc Rod reports.
Making tweaks: In response to concerns and opposition from a handful of Republicans — enough to prevent the measure from passing — Republicans revised the legislation to include a provision that may allow Omar to appeal her removal to the House Ethics Committee, which would report to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who would ultimately decide whether to reinstate her. McCarthy has vowed for years to remove the Minnesota Democrat from the panel. Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN) had been opposed to removing Omar from the committee, but said yesterday she’ll support the measure with the addition of this “due process” language.
Unfit: The removal resolution, introduced by freshman Rep. Max Miller (R-OH), argues that Omar has “brought dishonor to the House” by invoking antisemitic tropes and “by her own words, has disqualified herself from serving on the Committee on Foreign Affairs, a panel that is viewed by nations around the world as speaking for Congress on matters of national importance and international security.”
Response: Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-NM) argued in last night’s House Rules Committee hearing that the legislation is “perhaps minimizing the horror of antisemitism right now, the horror of white nationalism that’s rising.” Leger Fernandez characterized the removal effort as a politically motivated bid to take revenge on Democrats for removing Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ) from their committee seats.
Hindsight: Democrats, particularly those otherwise critical of Omar, have expressed concerns in recent days about the majority party removing minority party members from committees. Democrats were the first to make such a move in the previous Congress with Greene and Gosar and some Democrats have recently appeared to express regrets about the way that process was handled. Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO) said during the Rules hearing, “I do concede that some of the warnings about the dangers” of removing Greene and Gosar offered by Republicans at the time “were prescient.” Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA), who is now the ranking member of the Ethics Committee, said, “I don’t think that it was the correct process” to remove Greene and Gosar without going through standard Ethics Committee procedures, and alluded to conversations with colleagues on the subject at the time.
Will Scharf steps up to run for Missouri AG
Will Scharf, a recent federal prosecutor and conservative activist, announced on Tuesday that he will run against Missouri’s newly appointed attorney general, Andrew Bailey, setting the stage for what could be a heated two-way Republican primary, Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel reports.
Challenging Bailey: Bailey, the 41-year-old prosecutor who had served as Gov. Mike Parson’s general counsel, said last week that he would run for a full term in 2024, casting himself as “a constitutional conservative” who “has defended Missouri communities by putting violent criminals behind bars.” In an interview prior to his own campaign launch, Scharf, 36, said he was undeterred by his position in the race, even as he moves to unseat Parson’s choice for the job. “The governor made his pick,” he told JI last month, “and in August of 2024, the people of Missouri are going to get to make their choice.” Bailey, he insisted, “very much represents the establishment insider clique in Jefferson City,” the state capital. “I think we can present a very strong contrast there.”
Antisemitism on campus: Scharf, who is Jewish, added that he is personally concerned about recent instances on college campuses in which anti-Israel activism has given rise to what many students have described as antisemitic discrimination. “With the rise of the BDS movement and the dominance of intersectionality as a motivating principle on the left, I think a lot of Jewish students really feel under fire,” he said, referring to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. “We haven’t had big incidents like that here yet.” But Scharf said he is “interested in getting involved” with such issues as attorney general if specific cases of anti-Jewish discrimination at state-funded universities in Missouri are brought to his attention. “College campuses are often not friendly places for Jewish students now,” Scharf told JI. “To the extent that’s the case in the state of Missouri, I’d love to play a role in improving the situation.”
Jewish identity: For his part, Scharf, who believes he would be Missouri’s first Jewish attorney general, said he has never experienced antisemitism during the years he has lived in the state. “It’s a state with a long history of electing Jews to Congress, to statewide office, or electing people with Jewish family,” he said. “In terms of my race, I don’t see antisemitism being an issue and I hope it doesn’t become an issue.” Scharf, who grew up in New York City and North Florida, was raised in a Modern Orthodox home but attended non-Jewish schools, a dynamic he described as having “a foot in two worlds.” “Judaism is still a big part of my life, and it comes up in weird places,” Scharf told JI, recalling one particularly memorable episode during his time with the administration of former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens. “I was at work late one night during Hanukkah and I lit a little travel menorah in my office in the governor’s office, and I thought to myself, like, this is probably the first time that a menorah has been lit in the governor’s office here, and it’s just sort of cool to think about things that way.”
👨 Reaching Across the Aisle: The Washington Post’s Colby Itkowitz spotlights the strategy deployed by Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, to appeal to all sides of the political spectrum. “His approach to governing is similar to how he campaigned — seeking to broaden the party’s appeal beyond urban and suburban voters. Now some Democrats see Shapiro’s success as a road map for the party nationally, and they name him among a new generation of young governors who could one day run for president…’For me, you’ve got to show up, and you’ve got to treat people with respect. You’ve got to see them for the valuable individuals that they are. And I think in society, we put too many labels on people or put too many people in certain buckets and ignore too many folks,’ Shapiro said at the end of his first day, sitting at his new oak-wood desk, the light-blue checked tie he had worn earlier flung over a nearby coat rack. ‘I think as a party, Democrats need to show that they are willing to show up anywhere and speak to people with respect, not ignore swaths of our communities that feel like time and time again they’ve been ignored or talked down to.’” [WashPost]
🛬 Flying High: Tablet Magazine’s Menachem Butler interviews Amos Yadlin, former deputy commander of the Israel Air Force, former IDF chief of military intelligence and former defense attaché to the United States, about his long military career and his close friend Ilan Ramon, Israel’s first astronaut who died in the fatal Columbia space mission. Talking about the Shavuot 1981 bombing of the Iraqi nuclear reactor, a mission both men were part of, Yadlin said, “And Ilan, by the way, was the only unmarried pilot. He said, ‘You all have wives and kids. Give me the most dangerous place in the formation.’ And that was position number eight. Number one came by surprise, number two was still a surprise. And as eight airplanes dive [on the target], the last one [in the formation] is the one most likely to be shot down. So, Ilan volunteered for the eighth position.’ [Asked during the interview whether that was Air Force policy, Yadlin said], ‘It is not a policy. Ilan did not volunteer because of a policy. He did it out of friendship and camaraderie, and because of the amount of training time we had spent together.” [Tablet]
📓 Staking Out Santos: Politico’s Jesús Rodríguez documents the 16 hours he spent camped outside the office of Rep. George Santos (R-NY), part of a group of reporters’ largely futile attempts to extract answers from the scandal-plagued congressman. “The first thing out of George Santos’ mouth when he sees me in the tunnel that connects the House office buildings to the Capitol is, ‘I have dogs. No friends.’ He’s on his way to votes and it’s been a long day. He’s running out of steam, and the entourage of cameras that could capture his cheerfully defiant demeanor isn’t with us. This seems like a non sequitur, but he’s referring to a question I’d blurted out earlier just as he was dashing into an elevator: Did he consider any of his new colleagues to be his friends? ‘I’m sorry?’ he’d said, just before the elevator doors closed, puzzled. ‘Wow, that’s a great question.’ But now we’re alone, I try to ask him about his housing situation, given the stories [of] members of Congress sharing apartments or sleeping on their office couches. But I fumble my phrasing, so he clearly believes I’m asking a member of Congress for his home address. ‘Can you ask me, like, nothing personal?’ Okay. More than half of New York Republicans want you to resign. What’s your message to them? ‘It’s their prerogative, it’s a free country! Free speech, I support it!’” [Politico]
🏃♂️ Gallego’s Plan: In Semafor, David Weigel looks at Rep. Ruben Gallego’s (D-AZ) strategy to win the Arizona Senate race. “‘I think having very aggressive, open opinions is going to help you with independents,’ Gallego told Semafor after the first rally of his U.S. Senate campaign, announcing his challenge to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a former Democrat who left the party last month. ‘I think people are sick of politicians that hide their true feelings, or hide their values.’ Instead of facing her in a primary, in which she was ‘not going to be able to beat me,’ Gallego launched his campaign as the prohibitive Democratic nominee. And instead of nominating someone with a carefully-wrought centrist image and reassuring tone, like Sinema or Sen. Mark Kelly, the party could elect a progressive Latino Marine veteran who fought in Iraq and tells the other side exactly what he thinks. In interviews, including one with Semafor, Gallego has emphasized just how hard his early life was — sleeping on his family’s floor, escaping an abusive father — and cast his own politics as populism, unpopular only among the very rich and the people they pay.’ ‘He talks like working class people,’ said state Rep. Cesar Aguilar, who came to support Gallego at his second stop, in Phoenix.” [Semafor]
🥕 Veggie Delight:Haaretz’s Rotem Maimon interviews Israeli chef Shirel Berger, owner of the plant-based Tel Aviv restaurant Opa. “It was a high-end venue described as ‘plant-based,’ but did not fit comfortably into the pigeonhole of ‘vegan restaurant.’ Well, that’s what the chef herself thinks, anyway. ‘Veganism is not Holy Writ. I create food that seeks to blow your mind – what difference does it make if it’s vegan or not?’ she asks. ‘It isn’t that I despise veganism. But from my perspective, it’s just part of the story of Opa and me. Honestly, that whole business of definitions leaves me cold: to marry; to bring children into the world – leave me out of it. Maybe it’s because I’ve come from a religious background where everything was about definitions, and I can’t stand it anymore.’” [Haaretz]
Around the Web
📢 Coming Soon: Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley plans to launch her 2024 bid for president on Feb. 15.
🙅♂️ Opting Out: Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels ruled out a Senate bid to replace Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN), who is leaving Congress at the end of his term next year.
✋ Tit for Tat: Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) said that Turkey will not receive F-16s from the U.S. if Ankara blocks Sweden and Finland’s bids to join NATO.
👋 Santos Saga: Rep. George Santos (R-NY) stepped down from his assigned congressional committees, as fellow Republican New York Reps. Anthony D’Esposito and Nick LaLota urged him to resign.
💍 Mazal Tov: Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and the Brookings Institution’s Elaine Kamarck are engaged, Politico reports.
💭 Hopes and Dreams: The New Republicinterviewed progressive House Democrats about their priorities and goals in the new Congress, where Republicans hold a slight majority.
📺 Holocaust Comparison: Rep. Eric Burlison (R-MO) quoted Pastor Martin Niemöller’s post-WWII poem “First They Came…” while criticizing DirecTV for dropping conservative outlet Newsmax from its lineup.
🤝 Cyber Collab: The U.S., Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco are broadening their normalization agreements with cybersecurity collaboration.
🇮🇱 Deri Dealings: The entire Israeli governing coalition signed a bill to block a High Court ruling that barred MK Aryeh Deri from serving as a minister.
📻 Jabs at Jared: Far-right radio host Stew Peters pressed an attorney for former President Donald Trump about Trump’s relationship with his son-in-law Jared Kushner, describing Kushner as “the swamp that’s right around [Trump].” Peters later told the Daily Beast that “Kushner infiltrated the Trump White House like a member of the Mossad.”
📄 Misleading Maps: Activists in New York blasted the state’s mandatory high school Regents exam for including “misleading” questions about Israel that omitted historical context.
🖊️ Sordid Scribblings: A Saudi national charged with stealing a school bus in New Jersey reportedly left journals with antisemitic ramblings that threatened violence.
❌ Called Off: The mayor of Lyon, France, canceled a roundtable event featuring Franco-Palestinian lawyer Salah Hamouri, who was expelled from Israel in December over his alleged links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
🍽️ Fine Dining: Chef Tomer Tal’s Tel Aviv restaurant George & John was ranked sixth in San Pellegrino’s Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants list for 2023, with an additional five Israeli restaurants named on the list.
🎙️ Bibi Interview: In a wide-ranging interview with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, CNN’s Jake Tapper pressed the Israeli leader on relations with the Palestinians, to which Netanyahu said, “When effectively the Arab-Israeli conflict [comes] to an end, I think we’ll circle back to the Palestinians and get a workable peace with the Palestinians”; Iran (“If you have rogue regimes that are [intending to get] nuclear weapons, you can sign 100 agreements with them, it doesn’t help”); and Netanyahu’s new government (“Well, a lot of people say a lot of things when they’re not in power. They sort of temper themselves when they get into power. And that’s certainly the case here”).
🦄 Unicorn Out: Tom Livne, the founder and CEO of Verbit unicorn software company, said he will leave Israel and stop paying taxes in protest of the government’s planned judicial reforms.
🧑🎤 Big Apple-bound: In Variety, David Brinn interviews members of the Israeli rock band Mashina ahead of a concert at New York’s Beacon Theater, which will be filmed for a documentary being produced by the daughter of frontman Yuval Banay.
🛥️ Smuggling Ship: Elite French special forces seized a boatload of Iranian-supplied weapons and ammunition headed for militants in Yemen.
👫 Dangerous Dance: A young Iranian couple was sentenced to more than 10 years in jail after being convicted of “encouraging corruption and public prostitution” and “gathering with the intention of disrupting national security,” after a video of them dancing in front of a Tehran landmark went viral.
🌊 Buying In: Indian businessman Gautam Adani, whose Adani Group purchased the port of Haifa, said he plans to continue making investments in Israel.
🕯 Remembering: Candy company executive Ira “Bob” Born, whose family’s company pioneered the mechanized production of Peeps marshmallow treats, died at 98. Carin Goldberg, a prominent graphic designer who changed the face of book and album covers, died at 69.
Pic of the Day
Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) spoke earlier this week alongside local Jewish and political leaders in Riverdale, N.Y., about rising antisemitism.
“I am deeply alarmed and horrified to know that such a high percentage of people in this country hold such hateful and discriminatory views of the Jewish community,” Torres said. “But let me be absolutely clear. There is nothing accidental about the historic surge to which we are seeing in antisemitic prejudice and violence directed at Jewish people and institutions. It’s been entirely fueled by a constant barrage of coordinated conspiracy theories and vicious lies designed to sow division and promote intolerance.”
Actor, comedian, director, writer and producer, Pauly Shore turns 55…
Vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Malcolm I. Hoenlein turns 79… Mediator and arbitrator, he is a past president of the Beverly Hills Bar Association, Howard S. Fredman turns 79… Midtown Manhattan physician, affiliated with Lenox Hill Hospital, specializing in Nephrology and Internal Medicine, Mark H. Gardenswartz, MD… Composer and conductor, he is the laureate conductor of the Chappaqua Orchestra since 2002, and author in 1994 of The Jewish 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Jews of All Time, Michael Jeffrey Shapiro turns 72… Far Rockaway, N.Y., resident, Maurice Lazar… President and part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, he was previously president of the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals, Stan Kasten turns 71… Publisher of Baltimore Jewish Life, Jeff Cohn… CEO of the Charleston (S.C.) Jewish Federation, Judi Corsaro… Born in Derbent in Southern Russia, now living in Albany, N.Y., he is an artist whose oil on canvas paintings have many Jewish themes, Israel Tsvaygenbaum turns 62… Director for policy and government affairs at AIPAC, David Gillette… 25-year veteran of the Israeli foreign service including a three-year stint as DCOM at the Embassy of Israel in Washington, now a scholar-in-residence at American University in Washington, Dan Arbell… EVP and chief program officer of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Becky Sobelman-Stern…
One of Israel’s top soccer players of all time, successful on both Israeli and European teams, Eli Ohana turns 59… Voting rights and election law attorney, he advises the DNC, DSCC, DCCC and the DGA, Marc E. Elias turns 54… Mid-Atlantic regional director for AIPAC, Tara Brown… Managing director of Pickwick Capital Partners, Ari Raskas… Canadian actress, her stepfather is a rabbi, Rachelle Lefevre turns 44… Experimental jazz guitarist, bassist, oud player and composer, Yoshie Fruchter turns 41… Venezuelan journalist, writer and TV and radio presenter, Shirley Varnagy Bronfenmajer turns 41… Libertarian political activist, radio host and author, Adam Charles Kokesh turns 41… Comedian, writer, actress and illustrator, best known for co-creating and co-starring in the Comedy Central series “Broad City,” Abbi Jacobson turns 39… Account executive at Google focused on elections, Andrew Friedman… Sportscaster and sports reporter who covers the New York Mets for SNY, Steven N. Gelbs turns 36… AVP for health policy at the University of Southern California, Stephanie Beth Cohen… Member of the U.S. House of Representatives (D-CA), Sara Jacobs turns 34… Fourth-year resident physician in the Ob-Gyn program at Emory University School of Medicine, she is married to U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA), Alisha Sara Kramer turns 33… Brand marketing manager at Smore, David Aryeh Leshaw… Television and movie actress and model, Julia Garner turns 29…