Queens representatives were sworn in Thursday afternoon as members of the 116th Congress with the most women, and ethnic and religious diversity in American history.
The borough’s delegation includes Congresswoman Grace Meng, whose Sixth District is the only one located entirely within the borough of Queens. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also took office as the new representative the 14th District covering northwest Queens and the Bronx; she stunned the political establishment last June by unseating former Congressman Joe Crowley in the Democratic primary.
The other delegation members who began another term on Jan. 3 include Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, whose Eighth District includes Ozone Park and Howard Beach and much of Brooklyn; Congressman Nydia Velazquez, whose Seveth District covers parts of Woodhaven, Glendale, Ridgewood, Manhattan and Brooklyn; Congressman Tom Suozzi, now in his second term as representative of the Third District covering Whitestone, Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston, Glen Oaks, North Shore Towers, and northern Nassau and northwest Suffolk counties; and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, whose 12th District includes parts of Astoria and Long Island City, along with Brooklyn and Manhattan.
Meng began her fourth term to continue serving her community in the Sixth District which includes Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth, Middle Village and Rego Park.
“In the 116th session of Congress, I am excited to build upon my work from the last Congress and champion issues that help Queens and our nation,” Meng said. “I will continue to work tirelessly for my constituents and be responsive to their needs. I will also continue to work with my colleagues across the aisle in areas where we agree, but I will stand firm against efforts that undermine labor rights for Americans, protections for immigrant communities and minorities, and environmental standards that keep the public and children safe from harmful chemicals and pollutants.”
While Meng is excited about the work ahead in the new Congress, she denounced the federal government shutdown imposed by President Trump and Congressional Republicans.
As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, which is responsible for drafting government spending bills that are sent to the president to be signed into law, Meng is determined to work with her colleagues to end the shutdown.
The congresswoman looks forward to introducing and supporting legislation that helps working families succeed, protecting voting rights, ensuring Americans have access to clean air and water, and supporting policies that mitigate climate change.
Bronx native, Ocasio-Cortez, 29, is said to be the youngest person ever elected to Congress. She took to Twitter to remark on the occasion.
“I wore all-white today to honor the women who paved the path before me, and for all the women yet to come,” Ocasio-Cortez said on Twitter. “From suffragettes to Shirley Chisholm, I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the mothers of the movement.”
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) January 3, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez has been addressing climate change and pushing for a Select Committee on a Green New Deal proposal to have the United States on 100 percent renewable energy by 2035.
Jeffries is now the chair of the House Democratic Caucus, making him the fifth-most powerful member of his party in the House.
The entire Queens delegation, all part of the new Democratic majority in the House, voted on Jan. 3 to re-elect Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the house.