Elmont civic leader and NYPD Det. Carl Achille will run a Democratic primary challenge against Rep. Gregory Meeks, whose district includes parts of Queens and Nassau County.
Achille, 34, an Iraq War veteran and president of the Parkhurst Civic Association, said residents of the 5th Congressional District are tired of the “status quo.” Meeks, of St. Albans, Queens, is serving his 10th term in Congress.
“Many in the community feel like Congressman Meeks is just going through the motions and has lost his connection to the community,” Achille said. “It seems he only comes to the eastern part of the district when he needs our votes.”
Achille, the former vice president of the Elmont Chamber of Commerce, said he wants to pass gun control legislation, create a path to citizenship for immigrants living here without legal permission, and boost economic development opportunities.
“The beauty of American democracy is that anyone can run for office,” Meeks said in a statement. “I am humbled to serve my constituents and I look forward to seeking the Democratic nomination so that I can continue to work tirelessly on their behalf.”
Meeks has $60,675 in cash on hand while Achille has yet to raise any campaign funds, according to Federal Election Commission documents.
The 5th District, while located primarily in southeast Queens, has nearly 60,000 voters in Elmont, North and South Valley Stream and Inwood.
Reps. Thomas Suozzi and Kathleen Rice, Long Island’s two other Democratic members of Congress, also have primary opponents. The candidates must submit 1,250 valid signatures on nominating petitions by April 12 to get on the ballot for the June 26 primary.