Gregory Meeks
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Gregory Meeks

Gregory Meeks
Gregory Meeks, official portrait, 115th congress.jpg
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 67)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Simone Meeks
Children3
EducationAdelphi University (BA)
Howard University (JD)
WebsiteHouse website

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.

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.[1]

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

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Meeks is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus,[6] the International Conservation Caucus,the New Democrat Coalition[7] and the Afterschool Caucuses.[8]

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.[9] He is also against the privatization of Social Security.[10] On Homeland Security, Gregory Meeks has unwavering support of on-ground troops, and a large supporter of veterans and emergency responders.[11] 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.[12]

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.[13] He is supported by NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association. He is not supported by National Rights to Life Committee.[14]

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.[15] 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.[13]

Meeks has supported the Bush Administration wiretapping programs that were undertaken without the attainment of a warrant.

During the 2008 electoral campaign, Meeks appeared in a television advertisement[16] endorsing the reelection of Puerto Rico Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá.

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.[17]

Boycott of Benjamin Netanyahu

On March 3, 2015, Meeks participated with fellow Democrats in a boycott of the speech delivered by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Congress.[18][dead link][19]

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.[20]

Letter to Tirofijo

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).

Accusations of corruption

2013 CREW report

In 2013, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington named Meeks as one of the most corrupt politicians in Washington[21]. This was as a result of claims that he purchased a home for over $150,000 less than it was worth[22], met with former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez on behalf of a donor[23][24][25], and failure to disclose a private loan on congressional financial statements.[26]

Congressional auto lease

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." [27]

Primary 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.[28][29] Wills did not qualify for the ballot, resulting in no primary election taking 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.[30] It was subsequently reported that Meeks' continuing ethical and criminal probes would cause his premature exit from Congress;[31] however, Meeks has denied this.[32]Hip hop artist and law school graduate Mike Scala announced in October 2011 to run for office against Meeks.[33] However, Meeks won the Democratic primary and was re-elected with 90% of the general election vote in November 2012.

Personal life

Ethnically, Gregory Meeks is of African-American heritage, and according to a DNA analysis, he descended, mainly, from people of Sierra Leone.[34] His great-grandparents were living in South Carolina when slavery was abolished.[35]

See also

References

  1. ^ Lawrence Kestenbaum. "Alpha Phi Alpha Politicians". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 2010.
  2. ^ "Members". House Baltic Caucus. Retrieved 2018.
  3. ^ "Members". Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. Retrieved 2018.
  4. ^ "Our Members". U.S. House of Representatives International Conservation Caucus. Archived from the original on August 1, 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  5. ^ "Members". U.S. - Japan Caucus. Retrieved 2018.
  6. ^ "Membership". Congressional Black Caucus. Retrieved 2018.
  7. ^ "Members". New Democrat Coalition. Retrieved 2018.
  8. ^ "Members". Afterschool Alliance. Retrieved 2018.
  9. ^ "Project Vote Smart - Representative Gregory W. Meeks - Issue Position: The Federal Budget". Votesmart.org. Retrieved 2010.
  10. ^ "Project Vote Smart - Representative Gregory W. Meeks - Issue Position: Social Security and Medicare". Votesmart.org. Retrieved 2010.
  11. ^ "Project Vote Smart - Representative Gregory W. Meeks - Issue Position: Homeland Security". Votesmart.org. Retrieved 2010.
  12. ^ "Project Vote Smart - Representative Gregory W. Meeks - Issue Position: Health Care". Votesmart.org. Retrieved 2010.
  13. ^ a b "Project Vote Smart - Representative Gregory W. Meeks - Voting Record". Votesmart.org. Retrieved 2010.
  14. ^ "Project Vote Smart - Representative Gregory W. Meeks - Interest Group Ratings". Votesmart.org. May 14, 2010. Retrieved 2010.
  15. ^ "Project Vote Smart - Representative Meeks on HR 3824 - Endangered Species Reauthorization Bill". Votesmart.org. Retrieved 2010.
  16. ^ "". "¿A quién recomiendan los congresistas?". YouTube. Retrieved 2010.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  17. ^ 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)
  18. ^ "List of 56 Democrats Not Attending Netanyahu's Speech". IJ Review. March 3, 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  19. ^ "U.S. Rep Gregory W. Meeks Statement on Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's Address to Congress" (Press release). Gregory W. Meeks. February 11, 2015. Retrieved 2020.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ "Rep. Gregory Meeks(D-NY) Named One of the Most Corrupt Members of Congress". CREW. Retrieved 2020.
  22. ^ Lipton, Eric; Hernandez, Raymond (March 19, 2010). "Congressman Cries Poor, but Lifestyle May Disagree". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020.
  23. ^ Report, Post Staff (September 25, 2011). "Meeks' moral morass". New York Post. Retrieved 2020.
  24. ^ staff/ben-muessig (December 29, 2009). "Queens Rep. Tied To Ponzi Schemer — And Hugo Chavez?". Gothamist. Retrieved 2020.
  25. ^ Editorials. "Come clean, Mr. Meeks: Congressman must explain relationship with shady billionaire". nydailynews.com. Retrieved 2020.
  26. ^ Smith, Greg B. "FBI looks into secret $40,000 personal loan to Queens pol Gregory Meeks". nydailynews.com. Retrieved 2020.
  27. ^ Hernandez, Raymond (May 1, 2008). "What Would You Drive, if the Taxpayers Paid?". The New York Times.
  28. ^ Hernandez, Raymond (July 1, 2008). "A New Campaign Charge: You Supported Clinton". The New York Times.
  29. ^ Obama Forces Back Challenges To Meeks In SE Queens Primary | www.qgazette.com | Queens Gazette
  30. ^ 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.
  31. ^ Vincent, Isabel; Klein, Melissa (October 2, 2011). "Pushing Meeks out door". New York Post.
  32. ^ U.S. Rep. Greg Meeks (November 3, 2011). "Meeks Clears Air". Queens Tribune. Archived from the original on April 24, 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  33. ^ Queens-Politics (October 28, 2011). "Scala Seeks Democratic Endorsement For 6th Congressional". Queens-Politics.com. Queens-Politics.com. Retrieved 2012.
  34. ^ Congressman Greg Meeks Ancestry Reveal on YouTube
  35. ^ Gronich, Marc "A Q&A With Rep. Gregory Meeks" Jewish Press June 19,2020

External links


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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