U.S. Congresswoman Grace Meng is serving her second term in the United States House of Representatives. Grace represents the Sixth Congressional District of New York encompassing the New York City borough of Queens, including west, central and northeast Queens.
Grace is the first Asian-American Member of Congress from New York State, and the only Congressmember of Asian descent in the entire Northeast. She is also the first female Member of Congress from Queens since former Vice Presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro.
Grace is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and its Subcommittees on the Middle East and North Africa, and Asia and the Pacific. The Foreign Affairs Committee oversees United States foreign policy towards all nations around the world, and has jurisdiction over foreign aid, the State Department and key international organizations such as the United Nations.
Grace also serves on the House Small Business Committee where she is the Ranking Member of the Agriculture, Energy and Trade Subcommittee. The Small Business Committee, which was established to protect and assist small-business owners, has oversight of financial aid, regulatory matters and the Small Business Administration (SBA); issues critical to Queens and New York City since small businesses are the economic engine of the region.
Grace is also an Assistant Whip in the House and a founder and Co-Chair of the Kids’ Safety Caucus, the first bipartisan coalition in the House that promotes child-safety issues. She helped create and serves as Co-Chair of the Quiet Skies Caucus which works to mitigate excessive aircraft noise that adversely affects communities.
During her first term in the House, Grace scored several legislative victories, a significant accomplishment for a new Member of Congress. In fact, she was one of just 12 Democrats – out of all 207 – who passed three or more bills, placing her in the top six percent.
Grace’s bill to make the desecration of cemeteries a violation of religious freedom was signed into law by President Obama, as was her legislation to study the viability of making Queens historic sites part of the National Parks Service. The President also signed her bill to remove the offensive and outdated term “Oriental” from federal law as well as her legislation to protect public housing residents from insufficient heat. Also signed into law were her measures that aim to enhance the safety of school buses, improve the performance of child car seats and protect the privacy of motorists in driverless vehicles.
Grace’s first major legislative effort, to allow federal disaster funds to be used for rebuilding houses of worship damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, passed the House just six weeks after she was sworn in as a Member of Congress. She also secured House passage of several other important measures she authored, including a bill to reduce the massive backlog of veterans’ disability claims; legislation, in the wake of the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, that seeks to better protect American diplomats serving overseas; a measure that aims to create college financial-aid applications in languages spoken by Queens residents; a provision to increase funding for cancer research; legislation to hold accountable those countries that facilitate Hezbollah and legislation to crack down on con artists and devious telemarketers who use phone scams to rip off millions of Americans, particularly seniors and those from immigrant communities.
In addition, Grace helped obtain increased funding for Israel’s missile defense systems; acquired additional small-business resources for Queens; and persuaded the State Department to acknowledge and remedy the widespread denial of tourist visas to young Israelis. Further, she helped convince the Small Business Administration (SBA) to improve entrepreneurs’ access to capital and her efforts led to new school holidays in New York City for Lunar New Year and Eid. Grace was also instrumental in securing noise monitors and establishing a community roundtable to address increased airplane noise over Queens, and she convinced the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to add feminine hygiene products to the list of essential items that homeless assistance providers can purchase with federal grant funds. Other accomplishments include helping to improve mail delivery and postal resources in Queens and advocating for the new regulations that ban African Elephant Ivory and the slaughter of “downer” calves – disabled livestock too sick, injured or weak to walk or stand.
Born in Elmhurst, Queens, and raised in the Bayside section of the borough, Grace attended local schools, and graduated from Stuyvesant High School and the University of Michigan. She then earned a law degree from Yeshiva University’s Benjamin Cardozo School of Law.
Prior to serving in Congress, Grace was a member of the New York State Assembly. Before entering public service, she worked as a public-interest lawyer.
Grace resides in Queens with her husband, Wayne, two sons – Tyler and Brandon – and her dog, Bounce.