Grace Meng

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Grace Meng
Grace Meng Official Congressional Photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 6th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded byGary Ackerman (Redistricting)
Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee
In office
February 25, 2017 – January 21, 2021
LeaderTom Perez
Preceded byTulsi Gabbard
Succeeded byTammy Duckworth
Ken Martin
Filemon Vela, Jr.
Gretchen Whitmer
Member of the New York State Assembly
from the 22nd district
In office
January 1, 2009 – December 31, 2012
Preceded byEllen Young
Succeeded byMichaelle Solages
Personal details
Born (1975-10-01) October 1, 1975 (age 45)
Queens, New York City, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)
Wayne Kye
(m. 2005)
Children2
FatherJimmy Meng
EducationUniversity of Michigan (BA)
Yeshiva University (JD)
WebsiteCampaign website
House website
Chinese name
Chinese

Grace Meng (born October 1, 1975) is an American lawyer and politician serving as a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, representing New York's 6th congressional district in the New York City borough of Queens, which includes Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth, Middle Village, and Rego Park. Previously, she served as a member of the New York State Assembly, representing the 22nd assembly district in Flushing, Queens. She is the first Asian American to be elected to Congress from New York.

Early life[edit]

Grace Meng was born on October 1, 1975, in Queens, New York,[1] and was raised in the Bayside and Flushing sections of that borough.[2] She is of Taiwanese descent,[3] and is the daughter of Jimmy Meng, an Assemblyman, and Shiao-Mei Meng.[4] She attended Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School and Stuyvesant High School and intended to become a teacher, according to a classmate.[5] She received a B.A. degree from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctor from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University.[6] One of her early mentors was Susan Wu Rathbone, founder of the Queens Chinese Women's Association.[7]

New York Assembly[edit]

Meng's father, Jimmy Meng, was elected in 2004 to New York's 22nd assembly district, becoming the first Asian American to be elected to the legislature in New York State history.[8] He was subsequently arrested for wire fraud during an FBI sting investigation.[9] He served one term and decided against seeking reelection in 2006.[10]

Elections[edit]

Meng ran for Assembly to succeed her father, but was taken off the ballot when Democrat Ellen Young challenged her residency status.[11] Subsequently, her district residency issues were resolved.[12] Young succeeded Jimmy Meng, taking office in January 2007.[13] Jimmy Meng later pleaded guilty to wire fraud in connection with a bribery scheme.[14]

Grace Meng challenged Young again in 2008.[5] On September 9, she defeated Young in the Democratic primary, 59%-41%.[15][16] She went on to win the November election, defeating Young again, this time as an Independence Party nominee, 88%-12%.[17] In 2010, she was reelected unopposed.[18][19][20]

Tenure[edit]

Meng was the author of the Reverse Mortgage Act of 2009 that prohibited proceeds received from reverse mortgages from being considered as income, so senior citizens can get their partial property tax exemption. Seven other of her pieces of legislation were signed into law.[21][better source needed]

In 2009, Meng was named one of City & State's "New York City Rising Stars: 40 Under 40".[22]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

2012 election[edit]

In June 2012, Meng faced fellow Assembly member Rory Lancman and New York City Council member Elizabeth Crowley in a primary election for New York's 6th congressional district and won. She received the endorsement of the Queens County Democratic Party,[23] and a New York Times reporter wrote that she was "poised to become the biggest political star from New York City's fastest-growing demographic group." Meng said her focus would be to create jobs, improve transportation, and grow tourism opportunities in her borough.[5] On November 6, 2012, she won the race for New York's 6th congressional district against Republican member of the New York City Council Dan Halloran, making her the first Asian American elected to Congress from New York.[24]

Congressional tenure[edit]

Meng speaking at a rally in March 2013

Inaugurated on January 3, 2013, Meng helped form the Bipartisan Freshman Caucus, asserting that "the American people are just sick and tired of blaming each other without getting anything done."[25]

Her district includes the Queens neighborhoods of Auburndale, Bayside, Briarwood, Elmhurst, Flushing, Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Kew Gardens Hills, Maspeth, Middle Village, and Rego Park.

On February 10, 2014, Meng introduced the bill To amend the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 to include the desecration of cemeteries among the many forms of violations of the right to religious freedom (H.R. 4028; 113th Congress) into the House.[26] The bill would amend the findings of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 by including the desecration of cemeteries among the various violations of the right to religious freedom.[26][27] Meng said that "this legislation would be a new and important tool in our fight against the desecration of cemeteries" because it would "combat religiously-motivated vandalism of cemeteries and also prevent developers from building over cemeteries, a new and emerging threat in places where there are no Jewish communities left to protect burial grounds."[28]

In 2015, Meng strongly opposed the Iran Nuclear Deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action supported by President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry.[29][why?] Two years later, she boycotted Donald Trump's inauguration.[30] In February 2017 she became Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in Atlanta.[31]

In July 2019, Meng reintroduced the Community College Student Success Act to improve graduation rates at under-resourced public community colleges to have the necessary funding to develop and implement support services for their low-income and minority students. It replicates nationwide the success of the CUNY Accelerated Study in Associate Programs which helps students earn associate degrees within 3 years by offering a range of financial, academic, and personal assistance. The program has been found to double the graduation rates of participants.[32]

On February 23, 2021, Meng introduced House Resolution 151, "Condemning all forms of anti-Asian sentiment as related to COVID-19," responding to the growth of hate crimes against Asian-Americans, in the wake of Trump's repeated characterization of COVID-19 as "Kung Flu" and the "Chinese virus". It urged education and reporting about harassment. It drew initial support from 140 co-sponsors, and by March 3, 46 more, all Democrats.[33] The New Yorker wrote, "For months, there have been posts on notoriously extremist-friendly platforms like Telegram, 4chan and Gab linking the coronavirus to racist and antisemitic slurs and memes",[34] commenting that the historic racial hatred in New York, from a xenophobic mob burning down a hospital on Staten Island in 1858 to a subway passenger's recent disinfectant-spraying of an Asian[34] had spread to the United Kingdom as well.[34] The Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism's vice president Oren Segal said racists "use every opportunity they can to create division".[34]

Committee assignments[edit]

Meng meets with constituent service members

Caucus memberships[edit]

Political Positions[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Meng married Wayne Kye, a dentist and assistant professor at NYU,[5] of Korean descent, in June 2005.[4] The couple resides in Queens with their two sons, Tyler and Brandon.[6] They attend a church in Whitestone, Queens.[5]

In November 2013, Meng was robbed and assaulted by a purse-snatcher in the Eastern Market area of Washington, D.C.[38] She suffered injuries to her head, left knee, hand, and face, and was treated at George Washington University hospital. The assailant stole her black Gucci tote bag.[38]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Current Asian and Pacific Islander American members: Grace Meng 1975–" (PDF). Congressional Record. 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 13, 2020. Retrieved May 13, 2020.
  2. ^ "U.S. Congresswoman Grace Meng: About". United States House of Representatives. Archived from the original on January 10, 2020. Retrieved May 13, 2020.
  3. ^ Hamilton, Colby (July 1, 2012). "Asian And All-American: A Political Star Rises In N.Y." Washington, D.C.: National Public Radio. Archived from the original on July 1, 2012. Retrieved May 13, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Grace Meng and Wayne Kye". The New York Times. June 12, 2005. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e Chen, David W. (June 28, 2012). "A Breakthrough Candidate and Potential Star". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 10, 2020.
  6. ^ a b "U.S. Congresswoman Grace Meng – Biography". United States House of Representatives. Retrieved June 11, 2020.
  7. ^ Grace Meng, "Honoring the Life of Susan Wu Rathbone". Congressional Record (May 9, 2018): E616.
  8. ^ "First Asian American in the NY State Assembly", ChinaDaily, 05-11-2004. Retrieved on 16-02-2007
  9. ^ "Grace Meng's father charged with wire fraud in FBI sting". QNS.com.
  10. ^ Hicks, Jonathan P. (December 13, 2006). "City Sends 2 Foreign-Born First-Timers to the Assembly". The New York Times.
  11. ^ Stirling, Stephen (July 25, 2008). "Young, Meng won't fight over primary signatures". Times Ledger. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
  12. ^ "New York, 6th House District: Grace Meng (D)". National Journal. November 6, 2012. Archived from the original on January 10, 2015. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
  13. ^ "DA: Jimmy Meng Aide Surrenders". January 9, 2007.
  14. ^ Nir, Sarah Maslin (March 13, 2013). "Ex-Queens Assemblyman Sentenced in Bribery Case". The New York Times.
  15. ^ Noah C. Zuss, "Meng Beats Young in Primary for Flushing Seat." "Southeast Queens Press," Sept. 12-18, 2008, p. 11
  16. ^ "Ourcampaigns.com". Ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
  17. ^ "Ourcampaigns.com". Ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
  18. ^ "Election Results 2008: New York State Legislature". The New York Times. 2008. Archived from the original on May 11, 2012. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  19. ^ "Election Results 2010: New York State Legislature". The New York Times. 2010. Archived from the original on June 15, 2012. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  20. ^ "Ourcampaigns.com". Ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
  21. ^ [1] Archived November 7, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ "Albany 40 Under 40 alumni". City & State NY. August 13, 2018.
  23. ^ "Queens Democratic Leaders Back Meng For Congress". NY1. March 19, 2012. Archived from the original on January 28, 2015. Retrieved April 2, 2012.
  24. ^ "Grace Meng, Michael Grimm Win Seats In Congress". Archived from the original on January 30, 2013. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
  25. ^ Schneier, David (February 28, 2013). "Meng talks nation's business at 112th - Queens Chronicle: Central/Mid Queens News". Qchron.com. Retrieved August 13, 2014.
  26. ^ a b "H.R. 4028 - Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved May 28, 2014.
  27. ^ Marcos, Cristina (May 23, 2014). "Next week: Appropriations, VA reform, intelligence authorization". The Hill. Retrieved May 29, 2014.
  28. ^ "House Passes Meng Legislation to Make Desecration of Cemeteries a Violation of Religious Freedom". Jewish Political News and Updates. May 29, 2014. Archived from the original on May 29, 2014. Retrieved May 29, 2014.
  29. ^ "Meng Opposes Nuclear Deal with Iran". Congresswoman Grace Meng. July 29, 2015.
  30. ^ "Grace Meng Is Latest Elected Official to Boycott Trump Inauguration". DNAinfo New York. Archived from the original on January 26, 2017.
  31. ^ "NYC Congresswoman and Assemblyman Score DNC Vice Chairmanships". Observer. February 26, 2017. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  32. ^ Carlotta Mohamed, "Meng Law to Improve Community College Graduation Rates," Times Ledger, August 2-8, 2019, p.23
  33. ^ Condemning all forms of anti-Asian sentiment as related to COVID-19, Congress.gov, February 23, 2021. Retrieved April 3, 2021.
  34. ^ a b c d The Rise of Coronavirus Hate Crimes, The New Yorker, Anna Russell, March 17, 2020.
  35. ^ "Committees and Caucuses". Congresswoman Grace Meng. December 13, 2012.
  36. ^ "Members". Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. Retrieved May 17, 2018.
  37. ^ "Caucus Membrs". US House of Representatives. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  38. ^ a b O'Keefe, Ed; Williams, Clarence (November 20, 2013). "Rep. Grace Meng attacked, robbed". Washington Post. Retrieved May 17, 2015.

External links[edit]

New York State Assembly
Preceded by
Ellen Young
Member of the New York Assembly
from the 22nd district

2009–2013
Succeeded by
Michaelle Solages
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Gregory Meeks
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New York's 6th congressional district

2013–present
Incumbent
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Sean Patrick Maloney
United States representatives by seniority
182nd
Succeeded by
Markwayne Mullin