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Queens Chronicle

Queens politics all the talk at the QJCC

Old friends, new faces welcomed at annual legislative breakfast

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Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 11:40 am, Thu Jan 24, 2013.

The Queens Jewish Community Council on Sunday welcomed former Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Queens) as a Congresswoman, and veteran Representative Steve Israel (D-Queens, LI) to the neighborhood.

The group hosted its annual legislative breakfast at Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, an event that has become a popular stop with those in Queens either holding or seeking public office.

Sunday’s event also brought City Council Speaker and probable mayoral candidate Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan), as well as Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who will be running for comptroller.

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall was in attendance, as were candidates seeking to take her place in the fall, including former Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik, former Councilwoman and Assemblywoman Melinda Katz, state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) and Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria).

Israel, who has represented the 3rd District since 2001, had a portion of Queens added to his new 2nd District with the redistricting resulting from the 2010 Census.

“My district now stretches from Fort Totten to Fort Salonga,” Israel said.

The congressman is a member of the House Democratic leadership, serving as assistant whip.

He said Queens residents will not likely find his views and his record alien to them.

“Like many of you, you’ll find I lean right on issues like Israel, the Middle East, foreign affairs, and national security,” he said. “Like many of you, on other issues, I lean left.”

Among his votes was support of funding assistance for the State of Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system that was employed with great success this past fall during a series of missile and rocket attacks.

Meng said her district operations still are running out of former Congressman Gary Ackerman’s office in Bayside, but that she is looking to find one or two office locations in places such as Forest Hills or Kew Gardens that are more centrally located.

And while her boxes are not yet completely unpacked in Washington, she already was planing on introducing her first piece of legislation — an amendment to the Hurricane Sandy relief act that would allow churches and synagogues damaged in the storm to receive grants from the Federal Emergency Management Administration. Currently, non-profits that are not on a preapproved government list are not eligible for such funds.

Also in attendance was Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica). QJCC officials said Meeks was unaware that he was invited in part to commend him for his efforts in the House of Representatives to honor Raoul Wallenberg.

Wallenberg was a Swedish diplomat who died or was murdered in Soviet custody after saving the lives of about 100,000 Jews in Nazi-occupied Hungary during World War II.

Meeks introduced legislation that last summer saw Wallenberg posthumously awarded a Congressional Gold Medal.

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