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Gregory Meeks


Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 6th district
Incumbent
Assumed office 
February 3, 1998
Preceded by Floyd Flake

Member of the
New York State Assembly
from the 31st district
In office
1993–1998
Preceded by Anthony Seminerio
Succeeded by Pauline Rhodd-Cummings

Born September 25, 1953 (1953-09-25) (age 56)
New York City, New York
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Simone Marie Meeks
Residence Queens, New York City, New York
Alma mater Adelphi University, Howard University
Occupation attorney, judge
Religion African Methodist Episcopal

Gregory Weldon Meeks (born September 25, 1953 to Brian Carpenter), American politician, has been a liberal Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives since 1998, representing New York's 6th congressional district, which includes most of Southeastern Queens including Jamaica, Laurelton, Rosedale, Saint Albans, Springfield Gardens, and Far Rockaway, as well as John F. Kennedy International Airport. His district is made up mainly of middle-class and upper middle-class African-American communities, but also includes a small part of Ozone Park and part of Howard Beach known as Old Howard Beach, both of which are mainly made up of middle-class Italian-Americans. He also represents much of Kew Gardens and northern Richmond Hill, middle-class white and South Asian neighborhoods.

Contents

Early life and early professional career

Born in East Harlem, New York City and raised in a housing project, he attended Adelphi University and obtained a degree in Law from Howard University. He worked as an Assistant District Attorney and Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York before joining the Investigations Commission to investigate official misconduct and organized crime. He then was Supervising Judge for the New York State Workers Compensation System.

Elected official

He was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1992. He was elected to Congress in a special election to replace right-wing Democrat Floyd Flake, a congressman, reverend, and real estate developer who was retiring to focus on his church's real estate holdings. Meeks currently serves on the House Financial Services Committee and the House International Relations Committee. He is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and of the New Democrat Coalition and supports the Bush Administration's warrantless wiretapping programs.

His wife Simone was recently considering a 2009 run for New York City Council. However, Meeks publicly announced that he would be supporting a male candidate, not his wife, in that election.

Meeks is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African Americans. [13]

During the 2008 electoral campaign[1], he appeared in a TV ad[2] endorsing the reelection of Puerto Rico Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá.

Committee assignments

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Caucus memberships

  • Co-chair of the Dialogue Caucus
  • Co-chair of the Malaysia Caucus
  • Co-chair of the Middle East Economic Partnership Caucus
  • Co-chair of the Services Caucus

Interest Groups

Gregory Meeks is pro-choice on abortion and he supported Planned Parenthood all throughout his career. His votes, such as voting against the prohibition of late-term or partial birth abortions, twice in 2003 against the Republicans, support and strengthen his position on abortion. However, in the recent 2008 election for funding federal money to abortions, he voted against it. [3] He is supported by NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association is the not supported by National Rights to Life Committee. [4]

Gregory Meeks is for animal rights and he never supported or voted for the organizations supporting hunters and animals owners based on his votes in Congress. He is also a supporter of endangered species and voted to protect them. In the 2005 Endangered Reauthorization Species bill, he voted against the Republicans in vain [5]. He is supported by the Humane Society of the United States, Big Cats Rescue and is not supported by Sportmen and Animal Owner’s Voting Alliance. [6]


Gregory Meeks is not supported by the Americans for Fair Taxation, which wants to the change the tax system, so a clean slate is given to every American and he or she is taxed equally by using retail sales tax. However, this banishes Social Security, Medicare and other government supported plans. [7] Also, the National Taxpayers Union does not support Meeks. [8] The National Taxpayers Union strives to change the current tax system to make it simpler to the individual. [9] Similarly, he is not supported by the National TaxPayers Union, National Tax Limitation Committee and American for Tax Reform, which have supported more Republicans than Democrats. None of these groups have overwhelmingly supported Gregory Meeks since he has been a representative of New York. [10]

Issue Positions

On the Federal Budget, Gregory Meeks supports Social Security and Medicare and wants to balance the budget, lower national debt while sending money to education, environment and national defense. [11] He is also against the privatization of Social Security. [12] On Homeland Security, Gregory Meeks has unwavering support of on-ground troops and a large supporter of veterans and emergency responders. [13] Finally, Gregory Meeks is a strong supporter of the Health Care plan and is currently working to promote the extension and expansion of the State’s Children’s Health Insurance Program. He has also worked hard to increase the federal funding to research fields to speed cures. [14]

Philippine Visit

On August 25, 2007, Silvestre Reyes, chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Armed Services Committee and four other US Congressmen visited American troops deployed in the southern Philippines to overview the US-Philippines relationship. Reyes headed the bipartisan delegation which included New Jersey Rep. Rodney P. Frelinghuysen , member of appropriations committee and the select intelligence oversight panel; New Mexico Rep. Heather Wilson of the committee on energy and the intelligence committee; New York Rep. Gregory W. Meeks, a Democrat, of the financial services and international relations committees; and Maryland Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger of the appropriations and intelligence committees. They drove to the base of the Joint Special Operation Task Force Philippines (JSOTFP), a US-led body, which trains Filipino soldiers against terror, in Barangay Upper Calarian.[15]

Letter to "Tirofijo"

On December 20, 2007 along with 2 other US representatives (Bill Delahunt and Jim McGovern), Meeks wrote a letter thanking the head of the leftist Colombian guerilla FARC (Revolutionary army of Colombia, in Spanish) for the release of evidence that confirms the survival of several of the 45 hostages that the terrorist groups holds captive (including 3 US citizens), some of them for over a decade. The group is considered a terrorist organization by the US government and the European Union. The terrorist are currently demanding for the release of the captives the surrender of Colombian territory; this demand is vehemently rejected by the current democratically elected Colombian government. [16]

Congressional Auto Lease

It was recently noted by the New York Times that Meeks utilizes the option to use tax dollars to lease a car, for use as a member of Congress. This option does not exist for Senate members. The lease is forgone by many members of Congress, but Meeks presently holds the most expensive lease among all members. Despite having one of the most compact districts in the entire Congress, with access to public transportation, he currently uses tax dollars to lease a 2007 Lexus LS 460, at $998 per month. Meeks was unwilling to provide further comment when questioned by the New York Times, on the lease arrangement, saying "These are never lighthearted stories." [17]

2008 House Primary election

Meeks was criticized for initially supporting Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama. His House primary election challenger is Ruben Wills, a former chief of staff for State Senator Shirley L. Huntley and an organizer Obama. Wills said “I was on board with Obama from Day 1. Meeks had to be dragged across the line.” Some suggest that a young black political class is seeking to assert the neighborhood’s power against what it sees as an older establishment, based in Harlem, that has long exercised disproportionate influence in New York City.[18][19]

External links

References

Political offices
Preceded by
Anthony Seminerio
New York State Assembly, 31st District
1993–1998
Succeeded by
Pauline Rhodd-Cummings
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Floyd H. Flake
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 6th congressional district

1998–
Succeeded by
Incumbent

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