Candidate Profile: Paul King for New York’s 5th Congressional district

paul king
Credit Paul King for Congress

Belle Harbor resident Paul King is looking to win the Republican primary this month for New York’s 5th District congressional seat.

The district includes the entire Rockaway Peninsula, the Queens neighborhoods of Broad Channel, Cambria Heights, Hollis, Howard Beach, Jamaica, Kew Gardens, Laurelton, Queens Village, Richmond Hill, Rosedale, South Jamaica, Saint Albans, Springfield Gardens, and South Ozone Park, and John F. Kennedy International Airport.

The 60-year-old previously ran unsuccessfully against current Democratic incumbent Gregory Meeks in 2022.

King, who moved to Belle Harbor when he was 8, is the son of a working-class Italian immigrant family that he said is striving towards the American Dream. 

“We came from modest means, and this was part of their American dream. Back then, much of the Rockaways was a lot more working class, lower middle class. It was an opportunity to continue building a better life, which is where I learned so many lessons. And what I want, as a representative, is to help make sure everyone has the opportunity to do so,” he said.

Throughout his time living in Belle Harbor, King has been active in the community. He’s the owner of a management company and has been a member of Community Board 14 and the head of the local civic association for many years. King also coaches a local little league team and says he enjoys spending time with his wife, daughters, and grandchildren. 

“I had always intended for my career to be about public service. My parents gave back a lot, so I wanted to do the same,” said King, emphasizing that he had always known he wanted to work as a public servant.

He recalled telling his business partners many years ago that he only had a few more years before he transitioned to a role in public service. “They thought I was nuts,” he said. 

King said life events shifted his priorities, and he was content to keep contributing at the civic level. However, he said his mind changed after President Joe Biden was elected. King is critical of Biden’s handling of the migrant crisis at the southern border, inflation, and racial divisions in the United States. 

King said he is passionate about restoring the American Dream and solving racial divisions. His focus on the American Dream is inspired by his upbringing, noting that all parents want a better life for their children. He wants to bolster primary and secondary school education and expand educational opportunities in Far Rockaway. 

“Some people might go to college, but some people just want to get jobs in a nice environment and have a kind of system where jobs are available. And that’s really hard,” he said.

He believes that entrepreneurs and business owners should have access to innovative forms of capital, such as public banks. In addition, King feels that homeownership should be more accessible to individuals with lower incomes. To reduce mortgage rates, he wants to institute a forgivable loan program and enable a 20% down payment. 

In addition to his American Dream plan, King said he wants to strengthen race relations with community conversations to address the preconceived notions people may have about each other. “I always say, one Rockaway, we’re all in this together. When mother nature comes, she doesn’t care what zip code you’re in, or what color skin you have, the house you live in, she’s taking us all. So that’s the way we should think. That’s the way we should work together, “he said.

King added that he wants to address the large-scale flooding that is affecting Southeast Queens. He said the flooding is a major issue and it results in rotting sewer lines that are creating infrastructure issues in the surrounding neighborhoods. 

King said people need to be able to protect themselves now from the effects of climate change and move towards a cleaner energy economy. He said if elected, he would expedite the process to protect local homeowners. I think we need a representative who’s vocal about this, not just someone who has a meeting once or twice a year,” he said.

In relation to crime prevention, he says he wants to eliminate cash bail and come up with funding to help cities rebuild their police forces. He added that there needs to be funding to support programs that prevent kids from turning to gangs or crime.

On immigration, King says the government must cut off the flow of undocumented immigrants. He supports legal immigration at the border and wants comprehensive immigration reform. He believes that building a working supply relationship with countries within the Americas can help stabilize those countries’ economies and lower the cost of production for the United States.

King says he’s looking to make a change in Congress and pass the torch to the next generation. “I’m 60 years old. I’m not looking to build a career in Congress; I’m looking to fix some things, then hand it off to the next generation,” he said. His goal is to get results for constituents and stay involved in his neighborhood.

“My whole career has been built on helping organizations, helping get results, figuring out where the real problems are, and making sure that we allocate our resources to solving problems. In this case, solving problems to help American citizens and help people build better lives for themselves and their families,” he said.

On June 15th, former congressman Lee Zeldin endorsed King for Congress in New York’s 5th Congressional District. Early voting runs from Saturday, June 15 through Sunday, June 23, and the Primary Election Day is June 25th.