Gregory Meeks

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Gregory Meeks
Gregory Meeks, Official Photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 5th district
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded byGary Ackerman
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 6th district
In office
February 3, 1998 – January 3, 2013
Preceded byFloyd Flake
Succeeded byGrace Meng
Member of the
New York State Assembly
from the 31st district
In office
1993–1998
Preceded byAnthony Seminerio
Succeeded byPauline Rhodd-Cummings
Personal details
Born(1953-09-25) September 25, 1953 (age 60)
New York City, New York
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Simone Marie Meeks
ResidenceQueens, New York City, New York
Alma materAdelphi University, Howard University
Occupationattorney, judge
ReligionAfrican Methodist Episcopal attends Greater Allen Cathedral
 
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Gregory Meeks
Gregory Meeks, Official Photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 5th district
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded byGary Ackerman
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 6th district
In office
February 3, 1998 – January 3, 2013
Preceded byFloyd Flake
Succeeded byGrace Meng
Member of the
New York State Assembly
from the 31st district
In office
1993–1998
Preceded byAnthony Seminerio
Succeeded byPauline Rhodd-Cummings
Personal details
Born(1953-09-25) September 25, 1953 (age 60)
New York City, New York
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Simone Marie Meeks
ResidenceQueens, New York City, New York
Alma materAdelphi University, Howard University
Occupationattorney, judge
ReligionAfrican Methodist Episcopal attends Greater Allen Cathedral

Gregory Weldon Meeks (born September 25, 1953) is 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, Far Rockaway, and the John F. Kennedy International Airport. His district is made up mainly of middle and upper middle-class African-American and West Indian American communities, but also included a small part of Ozone Park and part of Howard Beach known as Old Howard Beach, both of which are predominantly middle-class Italian-Americans communities. In addition, he represented much of Kew Gardens and northern Richmond Hill.

Early life, education and career[edit]

Born in East Harlem, New York City and raised in a housing project, Meeks attended Adelphi University and obtained a law 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 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 elected to the New York State Assembly in 1992.

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Meeks is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, the International Conservation Caucus and the New Democrat Coalition.

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.[2] He is also against the privatization of Social Security.[3] On Homeland Security, Gregory Meeks has unwavering support of on-ground troops, and a large supporter of veterans and emergency responders.[4] 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.[5]

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.[6] He is supported by NARAL Pro-Choice America, National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association. He is not supported by National Rights to Life Committee.[7]

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 Species Reauthorization Bill, he voted against the Republicans in vain.[8] 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.[6]

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 would banish Social Security, Medicare and other government-supported plans.[9] Also, the National Taxpayers Union does not support Meeks.[10]—the National Taxpayers Union strives to change the current tax system to make it simpler to the individual[11] Similarly, he is not supported by the National Tax Limitation Committee and Americans for Tax Reform, which have supported more Republicans than Democrats.[clarification needed] None of these groups have overwhelmingly supported Gregory Meeks since he has been a representative of New York.[12]

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[13] endorsing the reelection of Puerto Rico Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá.

Philippine visit[edit]

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.[14]

Letter to Tirofijo[edit]

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 Army 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).

Congressional Auto Lease[edit]

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 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." [15]

2008 House Primary election[edit]

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 L. 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.[16][17] Wills did not qualify for the ballot, resulting in no primary election taking place.

Investigations and Fraud and 2010 elections[edit]

In late 2009, and ongoing through 2010, Greg Meeks has been investigated by a House ethics committee on loans with New York Senate Temporary President Malcolm Smith and his pastor, the local Jamaica Rev. Floyd Flake. Meeks has also been investigated about his mortgage loans to a Guyanese immigrated real estate tycoon Edul N. Ahmad of Century21 Ahmad Realty and Ace Mortgage, Inc. Meeks has denied this, although being investigated by the New York State Attorney General's office and the House Ethics Committee. In 2010, Meeks faced Republican Asher Taub and won reelection despite his investigation.

2012 House Primary election[edit]

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) named Meeks one of the most-corrupt members of Congress in 2011.[18] It was subsequently reported that Meeks' continuing ethical and criminal probes would cause his premature exit from Congress;[19] however, Meeks has denied this.[20] Hip hop artist and law school graduate Mike Scala announced in October 2011 to run for office against Meeks.[21] However, Meeks won the Democratic primary and was re-elected with 89.7% of the general election vote in November 2012.

Personal life[edit]

Ethnically, Gregory Meeks is of African-American heritage, and according to a DNA analysis, he descended, mainly, from people of Sierra Leone.[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lawrence Kestenbaum. "Alpha Phi Alpha Politicians". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  2. ^ "Project Vote Smart - Representative Gregory W. Meeks - Issue Position: The Federal Budget". Votesmart.org. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  3. ^ "Project Vote Smart - Representative Gregory W. Meeks - Issue Position: Social Security and Medicare". Votesmart.org. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  4. ^ "Project Vote Smart - Representative Gregory W. Meeks - Issue Position: Homeland Security". Votesmart.org. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  5. ^ "Project Vote Smart - Representative Gregory W. Meeks - Issue Position: Health Care". Votesmart.org. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  6. ^ a b "Project Vote Smart - Representative Gregory W. Meeks - Voting Record". Votesmart.org. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  7. ^ "Project Vote Smart - Representative Gregory W. Meeks - Interest Group Ratings". Votesmart.org. 2010-05-14. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  8. ^ "Project Vote Smart - Representative Meeks on HR 3824 - Endangered Species Reauthorization Bill". Votesmart.org. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  9. ^ "Project Vote Smart - Americans for Fair Taxation Rating". Votesmart.org. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  10. ^ "Project Vote Smart - National Taxpayers Union Rating". Votesmart.org. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  11. ^ David Keating (18 April 2011). "A Taxing Trend: The Rise in Complexity, Forms, and Paperwork Burdens - NTU Policy Paper 128". NTU - National Taxpayers Union. National Taxpayers Union. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  12. ^ "Project Vote Smart - Representative Gregory W. Meeks - Interest Group Ratings". Votesmart.org. 2010-05-14. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  13. ^ “”. "¿A quién recomiendan los congresistas?". YouTube. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  14. ^ Matikas Santos (28 June 2012). "‘Dindo’ will hit N. Luzon, 10 areas under Signal No. 2". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  15. ^ Hernandez, Raymond (2008-05-01). "What Would You Drive, if the Taxpayers Paid?". The New York Times. 
  16. ^ Hernandez, Raymond (2008-07-01). "A New Campaign Charge: You Supported Clinton". The New York Times. 
  17. ^ Obama Forces Back Challenges To Meeks In SE Queens Primary | www.qgazette.com | Queens Gazette
  18. ^ Staff (2012). "Gregory Meeks (D-NY)". CREW's Most Corrupt. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  19. ^ Vincent, Isabel; Klein, Melissa (2011-10-02). "Pushing Meeks out door". New York Post. 
  20. ^ U.S. Rep. Greg Meeks (3 November 2011). "Meeks Clears Air". Queens Tribune. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  21. ^ Queens-Politics (28 October 2011). "Scala Seeks Democratic Endorsement For 6th Congressional.". Queens-Politics.com. Queens-Politics.com. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  22. ^ Congressman Greg Meeks Ancestry Reveal

External links[edit]

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
Gary Ackerman
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 5th congressional district

2013–present
Incumbent
Preceded by
Floyd H. Flake
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 6th congressional district

1998–2013
Succeeded by
Grace Meng
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
John Tierney
D-Massachusetts
United States Representatives by seniority
107th
Succeeded by
Lois Capps
D-California