Lester L. Wolff
|Member of the U.S.HouseofRepresentatives |
from New York's 3rd district
January 3, 1965 –January 3, 1973
|Preceded by||Steven B. Derounian|
|Succeeded by||Angelo D. Roncallo|
|Member of the U.S.HouseofRepresentatives |
from New York's 6th district
January 3, 1973 –January 3, 1981
|Preceded by||Seymour Halpern|
|Succeeded by||John LeBoutillier|
Lester Lionel Wolff
January 4, 1919
New York City, New York, U.S.
(m. 1940;died 1997)
|Residence||Muttontown, New York, U.S.|
|Unit||Civil Air Patrol|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Lester Lionel Wolff (born January 4, 1919) is a retired American politician and former Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives from New York. He served as president of the International Trade and Development Agency. In 2014, Wolff received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award in the United States. As of January 2019, Wolff is the oldest living former member of the House and the last surviving member born in the 1910s.
The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. Tracing its heritage back to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's Democratic-Republican Party, the modern-day Democratic Party was founded around 1828 by supporters of Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party.
The United States House of Representatives is the lower chamber of the United States Congress, the Senate being the upper chamber. Together they comprise the legislature of the United States.
New York is a state in the Northeastern United States. New York was one of the original Thirteen Colonies that formed the United States. With an estimated 19.54 million residents in 2018, it is the fourth most populous state. To distinguish the state from the city in the state with the same name, it is sometimes called New York State.
An expert in Asian affairs, Wolff was also the chair of the Touro College Pacific Community Institute, the author of numerous books on foreign policy, and the host of weekly PBS show Ask Congress.
Touro College is a private college of higher and professional education in New York City, New York, in the United States. It was founded by Bernard Lander in 1971 and named for Isaac and Judah Touro. It is a part of the Touro College and University System.
A country's foreign policy, also called foreign relations or foreign affairs policy, consists of self-interest strategies chosen by the state to safeguard its national interests and to achieve goals within its international relations milieu. The approaches are strategically employed to interact with other countries. The study of such strategies is called foreign policy analysis. In recent times, due to the deepening level of globalization and transnational activities, the states will also have to interact with non-state actors. The aforementioned interaction is evaluated and monitored in attempts to maximize benefits of multilateral international cooperation. Since the national interests are paramount, foreign policies are designed by the government through high-level decision making processes. National interests accomplishment can occur as a result of peaceful cooperation with other nations, or through exploitation. Usually, creating foreign policy is the job of the head of government and the foreign minister. In some countries the legislature also has considerable effects. Foreign policies of countries have varying rates of change and scopes of intent, which can be affected by factors that change the perceived national interests or even affect the stability of the country itself. The foreign policy of a country can have profound and lasting impact on many other countries and on the course of international relations as a whole, such as the Monroe Doctrine conflicting with the mercantilism policies of 19th-century European countries and the goals of independence of newly formed Central American and South American countries.
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Wolff was born in New York City to a family that had settled in the United States during the 18th century. He became bar mitzvah at a Reform synagogue in Manhattan. Wolff attended New York Public Schools, and graduated with a degree in marketing from New York University.
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He lectured at New York University from 1939 until 1941, and later became a department chair at the City College of New York. Wolff was part of the Civil Air Patrol during World War II. He was a squadron commander and a subchaser.
The City College of the City University of New York is a public senior college of the City University of New York (CUNY) in New York City.
The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is a congressionally chartered, federally supported non-profit corporation that serves as the official civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force (USAF). CAP is a volunteer organization with an aviation-minded membership that includes people from all backgrounds, lifestyles, and occupations. It performs three congressionally assigned key missions: emergency services, which includes search and rescue and disaster relief operations; aerospace education for youth and the general public; and cadet programs for teenage youth. In addition, CAP has recently been tasked with homeland security and courier service missions. CAP also performs non-auxiliary missions for various governmental and private agencies, such as local law enforcement and the American Red Cross. The program is established as an organization by Title 10 of the United States Code and its purposes defined by Title 36.
Wolff worked for the Long Island Press and The Bronx Home News . Wolff then founded his own firm, specializing in the food industry, and was executive director of the New York Conference of Retail Grocers. He became the producer and host of Between the Lines, a local television program, and the producer of a celebrity variety show starring Wendy Barrie.
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The Bronx Home News was a newspaper from The Bronx.
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Wolff remained active in philanthropy, heading a division of the United Jewish Appeal.
Philanthropy means the love of humanity. A conventional modern definition is "private initiatives, for the public good, focusing on quality of life", which combines an original humanistic tradition with a social scientific aspect developed in the 20th century. The definition also serves to contrast philanthropy with business endeavors, which are private initiatives for private good, e.g., focusing on material gain, and with government endeavors, which are public initiatives for public good, e.g., focusing on provision of public services. A person who practices philanthropy is called a philanthropist.
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In 1957, Wolff was selected by the House of Representatives as chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Subcommittee on Consumers Study.
He was elected to Congress in 1964 and served from January 3, 1965 until January 3, 1981. Through redistricting he initially represented the 3rd District and later the 6th District. Wolff served as Chairman of the Asian and Pacific Affairs Committee, and the Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control. He commanded the Congressional Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol, raising to the rank of Colonel.
During Wolff's 1978 congressional delegation to China, he met with Deng Xiaoping. The Deng-Wolff Conversation conducted during this time was credited for its particular importance in the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between the People’s Republic of China and the United States. Wolff is the author of the Taiwan Relations Act, signed into law on April 10, 1979. TRA was born of the need of the United States to find a way to protect its significant security and commercial interests in the Republic of China in the wake of President Jimmy Carter’s termination of diplomatic relations and a mutual defense treaty of 25 years.
Wolff introduced amendments to the White House-sponsored Foreign Assistance Act of 1969 to restore the initiative for direct peace talks between Israel and the Arab states. He also played a role in the Camp David Accords.
He was the president of the International Trade and Development Agency. Wolff was the director of the Pacific Community Institute at Touro College, and has published numerous books on foreign policy. He hosted a weekly PBS show, Ask Congress, continuously since the mid-1980s. Due to his expertise in Asian culture and relations, Wolff was a well sought-after consultant. He was a director of the Griffon Corporation from 1987 to 2007. Wolff received the World Peace Prize Top Honor in 2010 and the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilain award in the United States, in 2014.
With the death of James D. Martin on October 30, 2017, Wolff became the oldest living former member of Congress. Wolff turned 100 in January 2019.
Wolff married Blanche Silvers in 1940; she died in 1997.
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|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives |
from New York's 3rd congressional district
Angelo D. Roncallo
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives |
from New York's 6th congressional district
James D. Martin
| Oldest Living United States Representative|
(Sitting or Former)
October 30, 2017 – present