Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) is celebrating her first 100 days in office as the first Asian-American member of Congress from New York and the first female member of Congress from Queens since vice-presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro.
“It is difficult to put into words how honored I am to be your congresswoman, and how excited and proud I am to represent the great borough of Queens in the United States Congress,” she said in an address given Sunday. “It is an incredible privilege to be your voice in Washington, and I cannot thank you enough for the confidence you have in me to fight on your behalf.”
The event was held at Francis Lewis High School in Flushing and was hosted by Richard Hellenbrecht, the president of the Queens Civic Congress.
Meng, who was born in Corona and raised in Bayside, is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and its subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa. She also serves on the Small Business Committee.
Much of the congresswoman’s speech outlined the numerous initiatives that she has been involved in over the past three and a half months, including her effort to close the “fire sale” loophole in existing gun laws and her efforts at bipartisanship.
“She has secured seats on prime committees and has already begun working on important legislation and numerous local issues,” Hellenbrecht said. “Things like gun safety, Hurricane Sandy aid, funds for houses of worship damaged by the storm, reducing airplane noise over Queens, keeping Saturday mail delivery and much, much more. She even got a bill passed after just six weeks in Congress,” referring to the measure allowing storm aid to go to religious institutions.
In addition to Hellenbrecht, many elected officials and community leaders attended, including U.S. Sen Charles Schumer (D-NY), Congressman Greg Meeks (D-Jamaica), state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
The event included performances by the Francis Lewis High School choir, South Asian Youth Action Dance Group, Korean Traditional Music and Dance Institute of New York and guitarist David Galvez of the Latin American Cultural Center of Queens.
The Rev. Richard McEachern of the Macedonia African Methodist Episcopal Church in Flushing read an invocation and Rabbi Yossi Mendelson of the Congregation Machane Chodosh in Forest Hills read a benediction.
“What’s in store for the next 100 days?” Meng said. “Well, there are many challenges that our nation needs to confront, high on the list of which is comprehensive immigration reform.”
Other issues Meng hopes to address include resolving the sequester, ensuring that Queens and the rest of the city receive a fair share of federal money, and the threat of North Korea.
“And we must ensure that the future generation, my kids, your kids, everybody’s kids, live in an America that is full of opportunities; the same opportunities that were afforded to us, our parents and grandparents,” Meng said. “I cannot be more proud to serve the great, hardworking people of the place I’ve called home for all my life.”