Gregory Meeks
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Gregory Meeks

Gregory Meeks
Gregory Meeks, official portrait, 115th congress.jpg
Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee

January 3, 2021
Eliot Engel
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from New York

February 3, 1998
Floyd Flake
Constituency6th 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
Pauline Rhodd-Cummings
Personal details
Born
Gregory Weldon Meeks

(1953-09-25) September 25, 1953 (age 68)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Simone-Marie Meeks
Children3
ResidenceQueens, New York, U.S.[1]
EducationAdelphi University (BA)
Howard University (JD)
WebsiteCampaign website
House website

Gregory Weldon Meeks (born September 25, 1953) is an American lawyer and politician who has been a U.S. Representative from New York 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 part of Rockaway Peninsula.

Early life, education, and career

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.[2]

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.

Meeks was a member of the New York State Assembly (31st D.) from 1993 to 1998, sitting in the 190th, 191st, and 192nd New York State Legislatures.

U.S. House of Representatives

Elections

2008

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.[3][4] Wills did not qualify for the ballot, so no primary election took place.

2012

Meeks in June 2012

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) named Meeks one of the most corrupt members of Congress in 2011.[5] It was subsequently reported that his continuing ethical and criminal probes would cause his premature exit from Congress,[6] but Meeks has denied this.[7] In October 2011, hiphop artist and law school graduate Mike Scala announced his candidacy in the Democratic primary.[8] Meeks won the primary and was reelected in the November general election with 90% of the vote.

Tenure

On March 3, 2015, Meeks participated with fellow Democrats in a boycott of the speech delivered by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Congress.[9]

In July 2020, after the primary defeat of House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Eliot Engel, Meeks declared his candidacy for chair. On December 3, 2020, Meeks defeated Joaquin Castro in a caucuswide vote, 148-78.[10]

As of September 2021, Meeks had voted in line with Joe Biden's stated position 100% of the time.[11]

Philippines visit

On August 25, 2007, Silvestre Reyes, chair of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Armed Services Committee, and four other representatives visited American troops deployed in the southern Philippines to overview the US-Philippines relationship. Reyes headed the bipartisan delegation, which included Rodney P. Frelinghuysen, member of the Appropriations Committee and the select intelligence oversight panel; Heather Wilson of the Committee on Energy and the Intelligence Committee; Meeks; and 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 that trains Filipino soldiers against terror in Barangay Upper Calarian.[12]

Fall of Afghanistan

On the day of the fall of Kabul, Meeks said in a statement that the Taliban victory was "inevitable". He also said, "It is abundantly clear that the Taliban's advance was ultimately inevitable, at least without a commitment to surge tens of thousands of U.S. troops for an unknown span of time. That is a commitment the American public has made clear it does not support."[13]

2013 CREW report

In 2013, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named Meeks as one of the most corrupt politicians in Washington.[14] This was as a result of claims that he purchased a home for over $150,000 less than it was worth,[15] met with former Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez on behalf of a donor,[16][17][18] and failure to disclose a private loan on congressional financial statements.[19]

Congressional auto lease

The New York Times reported 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 for $998 per month. Meeks was unwilling to provide further comment when questioned by the Times about the lease arrangement, saying, "These are never lighthearted stories."[20]

Meeks poses with Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken before Blinken testifies before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on March 10, 2021.

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Personal life

Meeks is of African-American heritage, and according to a DNA analysis, he descended mainly from people of Sierra Leone.[28] His great-grandparents were living in South Carolina when slavery was abolished.[29]

See also

References

  1. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/20/nyregion/20meeks.html/. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ Lawrence Kestenbaum. "Alpha Phi Alpha Politicians". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 2010.
  3. ^ Hernandez, Raymond (July 1, 2008). "A New Campaign Charge: You Supported Clinton". The New York Times.
  4. ^ Obama Forces Back Challenges To Meeks In SE Queens Primary | www.qgazette.com | Queens Gazette
  5. ^ Staff (2012). "Gregory Meeks (D-NY)". CREW's Most Corrupt. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Archived from the original on July 31, 2012. Retrieved 2020.
  6. ^ Vincent, Isabel; Klein, Melissa (October 2, 2011). "Pushing Meeks out door". New York Post.
  7. ^ U.S. Rep. Greg Meeks (November 3, 2011). "Meeks Clears Air". Queens Tribune. Archived from the original on April 24, 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  8. ^ Queens-Politics (October 28, 2011). "Scala Seeks Democratic Endorsement For 6th Congressional". Queens-Politics.com. Queens-Politics.com. Retrieved 2012.
  9. ^ "List of 56 Democrats Not Attending Netanyahu's Speech". IJ Review. March 3, 2015. Retrieved 2015.[dead link]
  10. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20200722102313/https://thehill.com/policy/international/508387-castro-launches-bid-for-house-foreign-affairs-gavel. Archived from the original on July 21, 2020. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ Bycoffe, Anna Wiederkehr and Aaron (April 22, 2021). "Does Your Member Of Congress Vote With Or Against Biden?". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 2021.
  12. ^ Matikas Santos (June 28, 2012). "'Dindo' will hit N. Luzon, 10 areas under Signal No. 2". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Archived from the original on October 4, 2008. Retrieved 2012.
  13. ^ Choi, Joseph (August 16, 2021). "Top House Democrat: Taliban advance was 'ultimately inevitable'". The Hill. Retrieved 2021.
  14. ^ "Rep. Gregory Meeks(D-NY) Named One of the Most Corrupt Members of Congress". CREW. Retrieved 2020.
  15. ^ Lipton, Eric; Hernandez, Raymond (March 19, 2010). "Congressman Cries Poor, but Lifestyle May Disagree". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020.
  16. ^ Report, Post Staff (September 25, 2011). "Meeks' moral morass". New York Post. Retrieved 2020.
  17. ^ staff/ben-muessig (December 29, 2009). "Queens Rep. Tied To Ponzi Schemer -- And Hugo Chavez?". Gothamist. Retrieved 2020.
  18. ^ Editorials. "Come clean, Mr. Meeks: Congressman must explain relationship with shady billionaire". nydailynews.com. Retrieved 2020.
  19. ^ Smith, Greg B. "FBI looks into secret $40,000 personal loan to Queens pol Gregory Meeks". nydailynews.com. Retrieved 2020.
  20. ^ Hernandez, Raymond (May 1, 2008). "What Would You Drive, if the Taxpayers Paid?". The New York Times.
  21. ^ "Members". House Baltic Caucus. Retrieved 2018.
  22. ^ "Members". Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. Retrieved 2018.
  23. ^ "Our Members". U.S. House of Representatives International Conservation Caucus. Archived from the original on August 1, 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  24. ^ "Members". U.S. - Japan Caucus. Retrieved 2018.
  25. ^ "Membership". Congressional Black Caucus. Retrieved 2018.
  26. ^ "Members". New Democrat Coalition. Retrieved 2018.
  27. ^ "Members". Afterschool Alliance. Retrieved 2018.
  28. ^ Congressman Greg Meeks Ancestry Reveal on YouTube
  29. ^ Gronich, Marc "A Q&A With Rep. Gregory Meeks" Jewish Press June 19, 2020

External links

New York State Assembly
Preceded by
Member of the New York Assembly
from the 31st district

1993-1998
Succeeded by
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 6th congressional district

1998-2013
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 5th congressional district

2013-present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee
2021-present
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
United States representatives by seniority
43rd
Succeeded by

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