By Juan Soto
U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica) is seeking his ninth term in office. And the only person who can stop that from happening is his independent challenger, Allen Steinhardt.
They will face off in the Nov. 4 general election for the 5th Congressional District seat, which stretches from Jamaica, Far Rockaway and St. Albans into parts of Nassau County.
“The campaign is going well,” Meeks said. “As we meet with people, they are receiving us very well.”
Besides the never-ending fight for jobs, homes and improving quality of life, the Democratic congressman also wants to keep airplane noise down in a district that covers mostly southeast Queens but stretches into parts of western Nassau County.
“You can’t get rid of airports,” Meeks said, “but we can work towards quieter skies so no neighborhood is overly affected.”
Valley Stream and Elmont, which are partly in his district, are in the flight path to John F. Kennedy International Airport. So are many other neighborhoods in other districts of the borough, like Bayside. Flushing is directly in the flight path of LaGuardia Airport.
Steinhardt, a contractor and Rockaway resident, is making his first run for public office and is conducting “a grassroots campaign” with the intention of repealing Common Core, a set of academic standards, and getting more resources to build up the Rockaway in the post-Sandy era.
He is running in the Allen for Congress ticket.
“We need to get to the basics again,” said the candidate, whose house was severely damaged during Superstorm Sandy.
“People are suffering,” he said. “I went up and down the peninsula because I wanted to know what the complaints were, and everyone was concerned about schools, jobs, the economy.”
Meeks said he has fought hard to get “federal money in the Rockaways.” The congressman pointed out that he was working with the de Blasio administration “to put that money into the hands of the people that needed it.”
In addition, for this upcoming congressional session, Meeks said that among his priorities he will push to pass a bill to repair all major infrastructure in New York, including the bridges, the roads, the subways and buses.
Meeks also wants Washington to pass, once and for all, immigration reform.
“We can’t pass a bill,” he said. “We will continue to fix our borders but, for example, the Dreamers are American citizens, and they have the right to stay here,” added, referring to the young immigrants brought into the United States by their parents.
His opponent said “people want change, and I believe the people in our district.”
Steinhardt, if elected, promised to repeal Common Core, approved by about 40 states, adding “nobody has the right to tie Common Core with federal funding.”
Reach reporter Juan Soto by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.