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Democrat Gregory Meeks unopposed in 5th Congressional District

Rep. Gregory Meeks seen on Aug. 27, 2017,

Rep. Gregory Meeks seen on Aug. 27, 2017, is unopposed in his re-election race. Credit: Jeff Bachner

Democratic Rep. Gregory Meeks will be without an opponent in November for the first time in his career as he seeks his 11th term in Congress in the 5th Congressional District.

Meeks, 65, of St. Albans, Queens, is a widely known figure in the district, which is located primarily in southeast Queens, but includes nearly 60,000 voters in Nassau County.

He is a regular guest on cable news programs, a former assistant district attorney and special narcotics prosecutor in Manhattan and serves as ranking member of the House foreign affairs subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia.

The 5th District is heavily Democratic, with 433,469 registered voters, including 59,031 in Elmont, North and South Valley Stream and Inwood. There are 318,456 registered Democrats, 35,517 Republicans and 66,486 voters not aligned with a major party, according to the state Board of Elections. Members of minor political parties comprise the rest.

Since the start of the election cycle in January 2017, Meeks has raised $760,086, spent $777,913 and has $105,774  in cash on hand, according to federal election records.

In June, Meeks defeated NYPD Det. Carl Achille and technology manager Mizan Choudhury in a Democratic primary.

For the first time, the Queens and Nassau Republican committees did not nominate a candidate to challenge Meeks. Spokesmen for the two committees did not respond to requests for comment.

Meeks is a vocal supporter of a $1 billion privately funded plan to redevelop 43 acres of state-run Belmont Park in Elmont, including an 18,000-seat arena that will become the permanent home of the New York Islanders.

The plans also include 435,000 square feet of retail, restaurants, a movie theater, hotel and outdoor space. The Long Island Rail Road is studying how to boost service at the Belmont station, where trains run only on race days.

Meeks, who earns $174,000 a year, said he wants to increase federal infrastructure funding for the district to improve the LIRR station and expand area roadways, including around Belmont Park.

“Elmont residents need to have better transportation options to and from the city,” Meeks said. “This can be a significant asset for the community.”

Meeks also supports a $13 billion effort, announced earlier this month by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, to modernize Kennedy Airport, which is expected to be financed primarily through private investment.

The congressman will co-chair a community advisory council comprising Nassau and Queens elected officials, community leaders, clergy members and officials of nonprofits to ensure residents have a voice in the JFK project.

Meeks said his focus includes ensuring that homeowners living around the airport are not adversely affected by increased noise levels and that members of the community can secure jobs associated with the project. 

“We need to have a collective vision for JFK,” Meeks said. “The people who live near the airport deserve to receive some benefits from the project.”

If Democrats win control of the House of Representatives, Meeks said he will focus on increasing capital for small businesses in his district and improving American relationships with European nations.

“I am going to be a check on President Trump,” Meeks said, “so that he is not ruining relations with the rest of the world.”


Registered: Democrat

Age: 65

Home: St. Albans, Queens

Education/Career: Meeks received a bachelor’s degree from Adelphi University and a law degree from Howard University. He was elected to Congress in 1998 to fill the seat of Democratic Rep. Floyd Flake, who retired. Meeks is the ranking member of the House foreign affairs subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia and a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee. Meeks served three terms in the New York State Assembly from 1992-98.

Family: Married with three children

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