By Naeisha Rose
U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica) held a quarterly meeting with his constituents bright and early Monday morning to discuss local, city, state, national and international issues, which could affect them.
On the local front Meeks introduced the new deputy inspector commanding the 103rd Precinct, Peter Fortune, and praised the use of neighborhood community policing to bridge the gap between officers and citizens.
“We know the best way to have a good relationship with the Police Department is to have a continuous dialogue and not waiting until there is a crisis,” Meeks said. “We want to bring folks together.”
During the meeting he brought up southeast Queens elected officials and Democratic nominees who were running for City Council, some of whom discussed the Nov. 7 election and the referendum for an overhaul of the New York State Constitution in a convention.
Although, considered shoo-ins for representing southeast Queens in City Council, Councilman I. Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans) and Community Board 12 Chairwoman Adrienne Adams encouraged the crowd to go out to vote during this historic election year when Republicans have stepped up to the plate to challenge several city candidates in the wake of Trump’s upset victory.
“Don’t take any election for granted,” Miller said, despite winning the most votes during the September primary citywide. “We are the community that turns out to vote…and everything we strive for [Republicans] want to undermine.”
“I feel the electricity in the air this election season,” Adams said. “We have Republican challengers and they are not going away.”
Historically, Republicans have been heavily outnumbered in this predominantly blue region of Queens, resulting in many Democratic nominees running unopposed during the general election. But this year Republican Rupert Green is trying to unseat Miller and Adams is running against Ivan Mossop, another Republican.
“We have factions in the GOP who are so splintered, you don’t know whether they are coming or going,” Adams said. “This is our southeast Queens and we do not share your values.”
If Adams or her second opponent, Working Families candidate Hettie Powell, win, one of them would be the first woman to represent the communities of Jamaica, Rochdale, and South Ozone Park. Adams also pointed out that only nine of the 51 Council members in the city are women.
Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Far Rockaway), who is running unopposed, was not at the meeting because he is being considered for the City Council speaker position and holding meetings with various groups.
State Sen. Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) continued his Vote No campaign against a new state treaty.
“Contact your friends and family and tell them to Vote No for a Constitutional Convention,” Comrie said. “It will cost us a lot of money and we will have to fight to stay in a unionized state.”
The convention is projected to cost upwards of $300 million and could have the potential to weaken unions, which protects worker’s rights, especially those who are people of color, according to Comrie.
Meeks did not hold back in his dislike for President Trump and his tax reform plan.
“This guy’s tenure of divisiveness is taking us back to a time that we do not want to go back to,” Meeks said.
He also explained to his constituents that he believes any tax reform from Trump will only support the 1 percent of Americans who are already wealthy.
The congressman said he is doing everything he can to protect his constituents from Trump.
As a committee member on the Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats Subcommittee, he is also trying to assuage the fears of leaders in those regions who are concerned about nuclear war with North Korea.
“This past week I have been in Europe talking to our European allies,” Meeks said. “They ask, ‘What is going on in America?”
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose