2004-07-30 / Community

Meeks Speaks At Democratic Convention

By Howard Schwach

While a number of Democratic luminaries such as Attorney General Eliot Spitzer were not invited to speak at the Democratic Convention, Congressman Gregory Meeks, the Far Rockaway man who represents the eastern end of the peninsula in the House of Representatives, spoke twice – once in his capacity as the co-chairman of the Rules Committee and again as a proponent of urban renewal.

“This is just a little spotlight,” Meeks told reporters. “My goal is to elect Democratic candidates.”

Meeks has the inside track to the Demoratic candidate John Kerry because he was one of the few Queens Democrats to back him from the beginning. He has become one of Kerry’s trusted campaign advisors.

“We’ve eaten together, talked together, strategized together, so as a result of that the relationship (between us) has developed,” Meeks says. “I have an extremely good relationship with John Kerry and John Edwards, which I think speaks well for my district and the City of New York to have a person very close to the president.”

In his urban renewal speech on Wednesday, Meeks told the crowded auditorium in Boston, “So often we’ve heard about the two Americas – the haves and the have not’s – those who benefit from the current economic and political policies versus those who must pay the price. That is why I am thrilled to campaign for John Kerry and John Edwards. That team has a strong vision for a unified country with policies that will benefit all Americans.”

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is one of those who sees Meeks as “a man on the way up the political ladder.”

“He is a hard-working and astute politician with his ear to the ground,” Silver told reporters. “He is bright and articulate and in touch. He is a rising star in the (Democratic) Party, both locally and on a national level.”

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