King: De Blasio and I can fight for New York together

Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) said he, along with Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) said he, along with other lawmakers, want the Department of Veterans Affairs to explain differences between how fast Northport officials say patients get doctors' appointments there and what a national VA audit of Northport reported. Photo Credit: Newsday / Karen Wiles Stabile

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Dan Janison Melville. N.Y. Tuesday January 26, 2010. Daniel Janison,

Dan Janison has been a reporter at Newsday since 1997, initially as a staff writer for the New ...

On the surface, at least, no two elected officials from the region would seem to share less of a worldview than Rep. Peter King and New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio.

Declaring himself the most progressive candidate in the campaign season just ended, de Blasio ran to the left of several rivals in the Democratic primary. King, the veteran Republican from Seaford, visited the National Security Agency campus the other day to show his support for its employees as they draw fire over civil-liberties concerns.

But the politics business is business, and common constituencies are just that. As part of the GOP majority in the House of Representatives, King has played a go-to role for the state as a whole, and doesn't see that changing in terms of the city.

"By its nature it would depend on what the issue is," King said this week. "If we're talking about stop-and-frisk, and his cutting it back, I strongly disagree with him, and obviously he's not going to get support there, but there are other issues I think we can meet on.

"I'm sure there are big differences, but when it comes to fighting for New York we can be on the same side," added King, who's widely regarded as more of a point man on local issues than the city's only GOP Congress member, Michael Grimm of Staten Island.

Earlier this year, King drew the spotlight by denouncing GOP lawmakers from elsewhere in the country, such as Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who balked at sending emergency aid to New Yorkers severely affected by superstorm Sandy.

He's also been a key player in pushing for federal security funds to help the NYPD's anti-terrorism efforts -- and on that score, has been a public ally of 12-year Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, whom de Blasio said he'd oust.

King and de Blasio have had a bit of cordial, if rivalrous, face-to-face contact before. Both appeared on a presidential-election panel in October 2012 with King, who was a Mitt Romney skeptic during the earlier primary campaign, emphasizing the positive on behalf of the GOP candidate. At the forum, hosted by the City & State publications, King stressed that Americans in general "do not think President Obama has done a good job."

De Blasio, of course, took issue with King. He suggested after the president's poorly reviewed performance in his first debate against Romney that Obama become more aggressive. "I think a group of New Yorkers could be convened to advise the Obama campaign the next time to just smack [Romney] if you disagree with him," de Blasio said.

It is typical for the mayor of the nation's largest city to serve as a spokesman for an urban agenda. While running, de Blasio, a former federal housing official, vowed for example to "rally the country's cities around a new urban agenda in Congress" specifically for affordable housing.

Like King, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan) said he has yet to hear from the mayor-elect. "But a number of members of the delegation, myself included, have a good relationship with him and we've known him a long time," he said.

He warned that the current controversies in Washington, D.C., over spending would create a difficult climate for any mayor.

Overall, Nadler said Thursday, "I'm looking forward to having an activist, progressive mayor. It will be good for New York."

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