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Congressman Gregory Meeks

Congressman Gregory Meeks wasn’t at Capitol Hill Thursday to vote in the speaker of the house election, as he was recovering from a mild heart attack.

The 62-year-old Democrat representing much of southern Queens and Rockaways said in a statement that he was “rushed to the hospital after experiencing chest pain.”

“In a short time, my doctors informed me that I had a blocked artery, which caused a mild heart attack,” Meeks said. “The doctors successfully placed a stent in my artery to clear it. I expect to return to work in a few days.”

Thursday’s House session began with members of Congress electing Republican Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as the new speaker, succeeding John Boehner, who announced last month he would step down after five years in the post. The vote was largely down the party line in the Republican-led House, with Democrats backing¬†former Speaker and current Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for re-election.

In his statement, Meeks acknowledged that he “missed a few votes recently” due to family obligations.

“My 90-year-old father is hospitalized and seriously ill, but my family is grateful for his strength and grace, and thanks all who have offered kind words and prayers.”

The Courier reached out to Meeks’ office for further information and is awaiting a response.

Now in his 10th term in Congress, Meeks represents New York’s Fifth Congressional District, which covers all or parts of Cambria Heights, Hollis, Jamaica, Laurelton, Rosedale, St. Albans, South Ozone Park, Springfield Gardens and the Rockaway Peninsula, as well as parts of southwestern Nassau County.

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