A Long Island native who became a national gun control advocate after his daughter was killed in a school shooting has become a surrogate to former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.
Fred Guttenberg, an LI native who has lived in Florida since 1989, made the move after sharing how the Democratic candidate seeking to unseat President Donald Trump on Election Day gave Guttenberg help and hope. Guttenberg shares the story in his biography, Find The Helpers: What 9/11 and Parkland Taught Me About Recovery, Purpose, and Hope, which was released Sept. 15.
“If like me, you care about public safety, decency, civility, and genuine concern for all Americans, you have no choice but to join me,” Guttenberg said.
His 14-year-old daughter, Jaime Guttenberg — along with 16 other students and staff of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida — lost her life to a 19-year-old gunman who opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle on February 14, 2018. Guttenberg’s brother also died of an illness stemming from the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.
He’s not the only LI native who lost a daughter in the Parkland shooting. Andrew Pollack, an Oceanside High School graduate who moved to Florida in 1999, lost his 18-year-old daughter Meadow in the massacre. Pollack endorsed Trump’s re-election during a speech at the Republican National Convention in August.
Guttenberg, who was ejected from Trump’s State of The Union address for yelling at the president during the speech in February, said Biden gave Guttenberg key advice that fueled “his mission and move forward with purpose.” Biden is experienced with turning grief into action after his first wife died in a car crash shortly after being elected to the U.S. Senate in 1972 and son died of cancer five years ago.
“Fred is an important voice for the Biden-Harris ticket, constantly amplifying our policy work to a broad audience and ensuring issues around gun safety measures stay front and center,” said Adrienne Elrod, director of Surrogate Strategy for the Biden campaign. “He is always ready and willing to do the hard work, and is relentless in his pursuit to hold the Trump administration accountable at every turn.”