Grace Meng /ˈmɛŋ/ (Chinese: 孟昭文, born October 1, 1975) is an American lawyer and 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 neighborhoods like Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Rego Park, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, and Maspeth. 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 represent part of New York in Congress, and also current Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee.
Early life and education
Grace Meng was born on October 1, 1975 in Queens, where she was also raised. She is of Taiwanese descent (ethnically Chinese), and is the daughter of Jimmy Meng, an Assemblyman, and Shiao-Mei Meng. She attended Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School 74 and is a graduate of Stuyvesant High School. 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.
New York Assembly
Grace 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. Jimmy served only one term, having decided to not run for re-election in 2006 following a scandal regarding election irregularities in his first campaign. He subsequently pleaded guilty to bribery charges. He only served one month in jail for his crime. Grace Meng decided to run to succeed her father, but was taken off the ballot when Democrat Ellen Young, challenged her residency status. Subsequently her district residency issues were resolved. Ellen Young succeeded Jimmy Meng in 2006.
In 2008, Grace decided to challenge Young again. On September 9, 2008, Grace defeated the incumbent in the Democratic primary 59%-41%. She went on to win the 2008 November election, defeating Young again, this time as an Independence Party nominee, 88%-12%. In 2010, she won re-election to a second term unopposed.
In 2008, she was named one of City & State's "New York City Rising Stars: 40 Under 40" for being a young influential member in New York City politics.
She 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. In 2017, Meng boycotted Trump’s inauguration in protest to his inflammatory rhetoric.
- Libraries and Education Technology
- Real Property Taxation
- Small Business
U.S. House of Representatives
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. On November 6, 2012, Meng won the race for New York Congressional District 6 against Republican member of the New York City Council Dan Halloran, making her the first Asian American elected to Congress from New York.
She was inaugurated on January 3, 2013. Meng has co-formed the Bipartisan Freshman Caucus saying “The American people are just sick and tired of blaming each other without getting anything done.”
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. 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. 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."
Representative Meng became Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in February 2017. Members of the Democratic Party elected her as DNC Vice Chair in Atlanta.
- Committee on Foreign Affairs
- Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa
- Committee on Small Business
- Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce (Ranking Member)
- Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus
Meng married Wayne Kye, a dentist of Korean descent, in June 2005. The couple resides in Queens with their two sons, Tyler and Brandon.
In November 2013, Meng was robbed and assaulted by a purse-snatcher in the Eastern Market area of Washington, D.C. 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.
Meng's younger brother Andy is the former National Executive President for the Pi Delta Psi Fraternity. Andy Meng was charged in relation to a hazing incident that occurred at one of the fraternity's chapters at Baruch College.