|Member of the|
U.S. House of Representatives
from New York
February 3, 1998
|Constituency||6th district (1998-2013)|
5th district (2013-present)
|Member of the New York State Assembly|
from the 31st district
January 1, 1993 - January 3, 1998
|Anthony S. Seminerio|
Gregory Weldon Meeks
September 25, 1953
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Education||Adelphi University (BA)|
Howard University (JD)
Gregory Weldon Meeks (born September 25, 1953) is an American politician serving as the U.S. Representative for New York's 5th congressional district (formerly in the 6th district) since 1998. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district formerly included, in the last congress, most of southeastern Queens, including Jamaica, Laurelton, Rosedale, Cambria Heights, Saint Albans, Springfield Gardens, The Rockaways, and the John F. Kennedy International Airport. His district is made up largely of working, middle, and upper middle-class African-American and West Indian 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 predominantly middle-class Italian-American communities. In addition, he represented much of Kew Gardens and northern Richmond Hill, as well as the largely Irish American western portion of the Rockaway Peninsula.
Born in East Harlem, New York City and raised in a housing project, Meeks received his B.A. degree from Adelphi University and his J.D. degree from Howard University School of Law. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.
He worked as an Assistant District Attorney and for the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York before joining the Investigations Commission on official misconduct and organized crime. He then was Supervising Judge for the New York State Workers Compensation System.
On the U.S. Federal Budget, Meeks supports Social Security and Medicare and wants to balance the budget, lower the national debt while sending money to education, environment and national defense. He is also against the privatization of Social Security. On Homeland Security, Gregory Meeks has unwavering support of on-ground troops, and a large supporter of veterans and emergency responders. 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.
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. He is supported by NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association. He is not supported by National Rights to Life Committee.
Meeks is for animal rights, and he never supported or voted for the organizations supporting hunters and animal owners based on his votes in Congress. He is also a supporter of endangered species and voted to protect them. In the 2005 Endangered Species Reauthorization Bill, he voted against the Republicans in vain. He is supported by the Humane Society of the United States, Big Cats Rescue and is not supported by Sportsmen and Animal Owner's Voting Alliance.
Meeks has supported the Bush Administration wiretapping programs that were undertaken without the attainment of a warrant.
In July 2020, following the primary defeat of House Foreign Affairs Committee chairperson Eliot Engel, Meeks declared his candidacy for the chair. Joaquin Castro has also announced his candidacy and Brad Sherman, who defeated former chairperson Howard Berman in a 2012 primary, is expected to run as well.
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.
On December 20, 2007, together with two other US representatives (Bill Delahunt and Jim McGovern), Meeks wrote a letter thanking the head of the leftist Colombian guerilla organization FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, in Spanish) for the release of evidence that confirmed the survival of several of the forty-five hostages that the terrorist groups held captive (including three US citizens), some of them for over a decade. The group is considered a terrorist organization by the US government and the European Union (EU).
In 2013, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named Meeks as one of the most corrupt politicians in Washington. This was as a result of claims that he purchased a home for over $150,000 less than it was worth, met with former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez on behalf of a donor, and failure to disclose a private loan on congressional financial statements.
It was 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 has held the most-expensive lease among all members. He has used 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." 
Meeks was criticized for initially supporting Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama for President. His House primary election challenger was to be Ruben Wills, a former chief of staff for State Senator Shirley Huntley and an organizer for Obama. Wills said, "I was on board with Obama from Day 1; Meeks had to be dragged across the line." Some suggested that a young black political class was seeking to assert the neighborhood's power against what it saw as an older establishment, based in Harlem, that had long exercised disproportionate influence in New York City. Wills did not qualify for the ballot, resulting in no primary election taking place.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) named Meeks one of the most-corrupt members of Congress in 2011. It was subsequently reported that Meeks' continuing ethical and criminal probes would cause his premature exit from Congress; however, Meeks has denied this.Hip hop artist and law school graduate Mike Scala announced in October 2011 to run for office against Meeks. However, Meeks won the Democratic primary and was re-elected with 90% of the general election vote in November 2012.
Ethnically, Gregory Meeks is of African-American heritage, and according to a DNA analysis, he descended, mainly, from people of Sierra Leone. His great-grandparents were living in South Carolina when slavery was abolished.
|New York State Assembly|
Anthony S. Seminerio
| Member of the New York Assembly
from the 31st district
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 6th congressional district
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 5th congressional district
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Representatives by seniority