Arthur “Jerry” Kremer is a Long Island political institution. While leaders change and elected officials come and go, Kremer’s respect among our region’s decision-makers has withstood the test of time. A high-profile former assembly member representing Nassau County’s South Shore, the longtime public servant built his profile as a public servant and has remained relevant, resourceful and revered by many to this day.
Kremer cut his teeth in government as corporation counsel to the City of Long Beach. Representing Long Beach in this capacity helped lay the foundation for an illustrious political career. The attorney by training would be elected to New York’s statehouse in 1966, where he would serve 13 terms in the lower house of the legislature.
Over his time in Albany, he would become among the most recognizable power brokers in the state legislature. Serving as the chairman of the Assembly Committee on Ways and Means — still the only Long Islander to ever hold the post — he would yield his influence to help fortify the powers of the legislative bodies in the budget-making process for a decade. From there, it was his committee that would determine how the state’s taxpayer dollars were spent.
The laws that Kremer was responsible for introducing and ushering through the legislature are as high-profile as he is. He sponsored the first Lemon Law, protecting motorists from being ripped off by auto dealers if their car was defective. He also helped protect journalism in New York State with the Shield Law, which established reporters’ rights to refuse to reveal the sources of their information — a law that has brought light to the inner workings of government. He also helped pass a law that required public transit employees to be trained in CPR, which has saved countless lives.
“I got my taste for politics as a weekly newspaper reporter and speechwriter for elected officials at age 14, as well as an attorney,” he says. “I jumped into the field because I thought I could do better. I soon learned that public service was not for the weak, you need to be prepared to give up your personal life to do the job — my message to others who sought to enter public life has been: If you are not in it to accomplish things for the people, then stay home.”
After retiring from political life in 1988, Kremer would still remain in the public eye. In the first week of November, he can often be found sitting aside evening news anchors, breaking down election results as the returns come in. His insight appears in various political columns and is referenced by even those who consider themselves experts on the Long Island political landscape.
Professionally speaking, he would make the natural transition to government relations, helping companies, corporations and governments work with their state-elected leaders. He has been trusted to represent Fortune 500 and household brands like Canon USA, Public Service Electric & Gas, Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, as well as various local governments whose matters and interests are considered before the legislature.
“My brand of politics was: ‘What can we do that makes a difference over the next 10 years?’ Too many of today’s politicians are focused on the next 10 minutes and just run to gain access to power, which is the wrong reason,” Kremer says. “I would travel the state looking for worthy projects and helped designate funds to build everything from the Syracuse stadium dome, to college libraries and gymnasiums, to fully funding early childhood education programs.”
One of his favorite projects, he says, was the restoration of a golf course near Montauk Point, which now is the state-owned-and-run Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course, which is revered among golfers.
Kremer is now widely considered among the most powerful lobbyists in Albany, as the founder of Empire Government Strategies. He is also a partner at the law firm of Ruskin Moscou in Uniondale.
While his career serving New Yorkers began over five decades ago, he maintains an active role in countless key local institutions, and by way of guidance, helps shape the Long Island we now know and love.
He is a longtime trustee of Hofstra University and the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra University. He was recently named the chairman of the Council of Independent College and Universities Governing Board, making him the spokesman for over 8,100 trustees who serve on New York’s 131 college boards.
“Robert Frost said it best: ‘I have miles to go before I sleep and promises to keep.’ I remain involved with local affairs, charities and education because I think that I can help make a positive impact on lives on Long Island and statewide,” Kremer adds.
And, while the Bronx-born Nassau resident still remains active in local affairs, he finds refuge from the hustle-and-bustle of politics and government on the East End.
During the warmer months, Kremer spends time in Bridgehampton. He can often be seen frequenting various local restaurants. When in Bridgehampton, he is oftentimes relaxing with his family, including his wife Suzan, his children Lindsey, Katherine, Robin and Nora, and his seven grandchildren.
Also when spending time in the Hamptons, he spends time with his passion: writing. He is in the process of authoring two new books, The Legend of Bo Davis, about the struggle of West Virginia’s drug epidemic, and also a tribute to past legislative leaders whose accomplishments have been overlooked by today’s crop of elected officials.
Todd Shapiro is an award-winning publicist and associate publisher of Dan’s Papers.