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Editorial: Re-elect Gregory W. Meeks in 5th Congressional District

Gregory W. Meeks, Democratic candidate for the 5th

Gregory W. Meeks, Democratic candidate for the 5th Congressional District. (May 11, 2012) Photo Credit: Steven Sunshine

Thanks to redistricting, seven-term Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-Queens) has some work to do. His old territory in southeastern Queens has been redrawn to include North and South Valley Stream, Elmont and Inwood in western Nassau County. So the 59-year-old needs to make himself known on Long Island.

Meeks views the shift as a chance to push New York City and the Island to work more closely in pursuit of common goals. And there's no shortage of goals to choose from -- whether the subject is identifying ways to ease the brunt of home foreclosures, resolving local immigration controversies or creating programs to assist small businesses.

Meeks is not a total stranger to Long Island -- he has a bachelor's degree from Adelphi University. After earning his law degree from Howard University in Washington, he worked as an assistant district attorney and a special narcotics prosecutor in Queens.

It is troubling that his name keeps popping up in official investigations, most notably by the House Ethics Committee, which is looking into a 2007 loan from a Queens businessman that Meeks didn't initially disclose. The congressman calls the lapse an oversight.

But his opponent in this race, running on the Republican line, is Allan W. Jennings, 46, of South Ozone Park, Queens, a registered Democrat who once served on the New York City Council. The council censured Jennings in 2005 after two female subordinates accused him of sexual harassment, and he lost a primary re-election campaign later that year.

Jennings says he's running for Congress now because he wants to reduce the high rates of unemployment and home foreclosure in the district. He is not an acceptable alternative to Meeks.

Newsday endorses Meeks.