Grace Meng ContactBack to top
Address: 1317 LHOB, DC 20515
Phone: (718) 445-7860
Address: 32-26 Union Street, Flushing NY 11354-3090
Phone: (718) 445-7861
Address: 118-35 Queens Boulevard, Forest Hills NY 11375-7251
Grace Meng StaffBack to top
Grace Meng CommitteesBack to top
Grace Meng BiographyBack to top
- Elected: 2012, 1st term.
- District: New York 6
- Born: Oct. 01, 1975, Queens
- Home: Queens
University of Michigan, B.A., 1997; Yeshiva University, J.D., 2002
- Professional Career:
Practicing atty., 2003-2013
- Political Career:
New York Assembly, 2009-2012
- Ethnicity: Asian/Pacific American
- Family: Married (Wayne Kye); 2 children
The daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, Grace Meng became the first Asian-American woman to represent New York City in Congress when she won election to the House in 2012. The New York Times described her as a potential political star. “It’s nice to be a woman, and it’s nice to be an Asian,” she told National Journal. “But what’s more important is what I can bring back to my district.”
Meng was born and raised in Queens. Her parents left Taiwan for the United States in the 1970s, and Meng says they instilled in her a strong desire to help others. After debating whether to become a teacher or a lawyer, she ultimately chose law, studying history at the University of Michigan and later attending Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of Law. She also worked as a volunteer on several New York political campaigns in 2006, including Hillary Clinton’s senatorial bid.
Her father, Jimmy Meng, served one term in the state Assembly in 2005 and 2006. She originally sought to take his place, but residency issues forced her out of the race. Two years later, however, she won a bid against Assemblywoman Ellen Young. During her years in Albany, Meng sponsored bills on a variety of issues, including a measure signed into law in 2009 to eliminate the word “Oriental”—a term critics say is outdated and offensive—from state documents referring to people of Asian descent. She also worked to protect senior citizens from increasing property taxes.
Meng jumped into the race to succeed retiring 14-term Democratic Rep. Gary Ackerman and won the liberal firebrand’s endorsement. Ackerman told The Times that her self-effacing style was a factor in his decision. “It’s not a matter of being the most flashy or the most self-promoting, but the ability to bring people together,” he said. “She’s a very likable person, and she’s a very quick study. She understands that it’s not about her, but the people who sent her there.”
Meng also received the backing of the Queens Democratic Party and several Asian-American advocacy groups as well as the powerful New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council. She easily won the Democratic primary in June against three other contenders with 53% of the vote. She had little trouble in the 2012 general election against Republican Daniel J. Halloran, a member of the New York City Council. Nevertheless, it was a raucous race in which Halloran accused her of running a campaign of “ethnocentrism” based on her roots, referred to her as a “Chinese national” and falsely accused her of having dual citizenship. Meng also persevered through an embarrassing episode in July, when her father was arrested and accused of soliciting $80,000 from a friend facing criminal charges, claiming he could bribe prosecutors. She won, 68% to 31%.
Meng’s priorities in Congress include bolstering Queens’ transportation infrastructure and expanding the borough’s potential for tourism. She also supports compelling the wealthy to pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes and hiring more police and firefighters to improve public safety.Show Less