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Meng marks 100 days since she joined House

Meng marks 100 days since she joined House
Photo by Phil Corso
By Phil Corso

Just more than 100 days ago, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) was laying the groundwork for her first term as a member of Congress to succeed her predecessor, who had racked up more than 30 years on the job.

And although she had held the post less than four months, Meng said she was proud of what she had already achieved on the national level and hoped to continue the same type of work moving forward.

Leaders from every corner of the borough and beyond came together Sunday at Francis Lewis High School in Flushing to celebrate Meng’s first 100 days in office after she was sworn in Jan. 4. She succeeded former Rep. Gary Ackerman, who became a powerful northeast Queens official by the end of his 30 years in Congress.

“It’s hard to believe that 100 days have passed since I took the oath of office,” Meng told the auditorium full of elected officials, constituents and supporters. “But since Day 1, I’ve hit the ground running, constantly crisscrossing every part of this wonderful district and working tirelessly in our nation’s capital.”

Meng touted some of her key congressional achievements in the past four months, including her announcement of legislation to close loopholes in gun laws to reduce violence and passing her first bill to help rebuild houses of worship damaged by Superstorm Sandy.

On Feb. 13, just over one month after Meng’s swearing-in, the House of Representatives passed the Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act, giving houses of worship the same status as other nonprofits when seeking federal disaster assistance.

It was Meng’s first bill to be passed in the House.

And on just her second day in office, Meng also sent a letter to Vice President Joe Biden, pushing for various measures to be included in potential gun safety reforms in the wake of the shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

The northeast Queens 6th District representative said she also worked alongside Republicans in Congress to introduce a bill aiming to prevent future terrorist attacks on U.S. consulates and embassies.

“One of the themes during my campaign last year was building bridges and bringing bipartisanship back to Capitol Hill,” Meng said. “And that’s exactly what I have been doing.”

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) was on hand to express his faith in Meng as an elected leader, not only for Queens, but for the entire nation.

“Grace’s credibility is at the top of the list,” Schumer said. “I am already hearing about how she is solving problems on so many levels.”

Richard Hellenbrecht, president of the Queens Civic Congress, emceed the festivities in front of a crowd of leaders, including Schumer, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, city Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica) and more.

Each speaker remarked on Meng’s swift action in such a short period.

“You didn’t just send anybody to the U.S. House of Representatives,” Meeks said. “You sent the very best.”

Meng defeated Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) for the seat in Congress after a heated race in November. She previously served as a member of the state Assembly since 2009.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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