Queens, N.Y. — This morning, Representative Bob Turner (R., N.Y) introduced a legislative proposal to honor former Senator James L. Buckley (C., N.Y) by renaming the visitor’s center at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge the “James L. Buckley Visitor Center.”
In an address from the site, Turner emphasized Buckley’s career in government, calling him “a true public servant, serving at the highest levels in all three branches of government.” Turner commended Buckley’s 20 years in business as a model for political leaders, stating that he was able to bring “a commonsense approach to economics with him to Washington.”
Queens community leader Herbert Stupp, who appeared alongside the congressman, echoed Turner’s sentiments. “It is fitting and overdue that . . . Jim Buckley is recognized for his leadership,” Stupp said in remarks. Buckley’s contemporary, the late Senator Jacob Javits (R., N.Y.), and successor, the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D., N.Y.), have already lent their names to federal spaces, while Buckley has yet to receive the honor.
Buckley, the brother of National Review founder William F. Buckley, Jr., was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1970, running on the Conservative Party ticket. He remains the only person nominated exclusively by the CP to have been elected to statewide office in New York, defeating Republican incumbent Charles Goodell and Democrat Richard Ottinger in a three-way race.
During his sole term in the Senate, notable for his introduction of a human-life amendment to the Constitution, among other things, Buckley co-sponsored the bill to create the Gateway National Recreation Area, which includes the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Although the senator was best known for his characteristic, Buckley-family-brand conservatism, Turner noted another side to him: a passion for “environmental conservation and [a] love of bird watching.”
With this in mind, the choice of the Refuge’s visitor center seems quite fitting, as Buckley’s six children expressed in a statement: “This would be a wonderful and appropriate honor to our father. His love of nature, and birds in particular, is well known, and helping create the preserve was one of the greatest privileges he had serving in the senate.”