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Reviews | New York Times interview with Elizabeth Holtzman


And I said to them at the subcommittee, what do you think? And I’m talking to real right-wingers. And I said, you know, we don’t really need it, because if they commit violence, you can bring them down to other aspects of the code, I think. And they said, you know, maybe you’re right. And they said, let’s ask the Department of Justice.

We asked the Department of Justice. They said it was redundant. I therefore had a unanimous vote to eliminate the Smith Act from this bill. The bill never saw the light of day because ultimately nobody wanted to pass a whole revised criminal code. He had too many other problems. But this, again, is a good example of getting Republican votes on very theoretically controversial issues.

So I was able to work with the Republicans and gain their support. I can’t say that I have a miracle solution. And these Republicans are not the same ones I worked with. I have no illusions about that. But at least I had the means to start working.

Mara Gay: Thank you. So there’s been a lot of talk, of course, about inflation, which hits all Americans hard, but I really want to ask you what you could do to ease the burden of housing costs, which is a much bigger problem important to the constituents who would serve you.

Right. Well, housing is a really, really, really big deal. And one of the things I thought of, because I have a bit of experience in this area. I was not on a housing committee. So, I mean, I can easily answer some constitutional questions, but I’m not a housing expert. But I’ll tell you two things that I’ve done, and they kind of suggest possibilities for the future.

Opinion debate
Will the Democrats face midterm annihilation?

One is that insurance companies were reviewing areas in New York when I was in Congress to prevent borrowing. This, in essence, froze borrowing in areas of majority minority residence. And you can’t easily beat the insurance companies, but we did. We were one step ahead of them.