U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica), the new chairman of the Queens County Democratic organization is ready to grow the party with a younger, more diverse and inclusive group so that it fully embodies the borough.
“Over 70 district leaders voted unanimously for me to be the chairman in the most diverse borough in all the United States of the most diverse group of the Democratic Party,” said Meeks. “I think we can work together and come together for the benefit of the people that we represent.”
Despite some backlash of the backdoor election of the congressman into the leadership role by some progressive groups, Meeks said he is looking forward to “welcoming new folks in” to the Democratic club and that the only way for the party to flourish is to have more people “participating and engaged in the democratic process.”
“We need more young people, we need to make sure its diverse all across the county, we need to make sure that people are participating and understand the new way of politics, including engaging people through social media and finding other new ways of getting your message out there,” said Meeks. “Crowley is a good friend, but he ran his office different from how I run my office.”
The previous leader of the Queens County Democratic club was U.S. Rep Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights), who was re-elected to the chairman role in September 2018 despite losing his congressional seat to incumbent U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Jackson Heights), but he later left his position for a lobbying gig five months later.
“Everybody has their different ways,” said Meeks. “The first thing I’m going to do – I’m not sure if this is different or not – I intend on moving around the borough and first talk to the elected members, whether it be district leaders, assembly members or state senators. I want to listen and hear what people think and get their advice and then I want to be able to come up with a comprehensive plan that would be good for all of us in the Queens Democratic organization. It’s important to me as the new chair to go listen first.”
Meeks intends on setting up a listening tour throughout the borough to grasp what the needs are for different areas throughout the borough, and when it comes to nominating judges and political candidates he plans on especially looking to district leaders for suggestions.
“I want to have something that is comfortable for just about everybody,” said Meeks. “This is why district leaders are important. They are elected representatives on a very local level. They come and they have ideas and suggestions of people from their community, and we want on the bench folks from different communities in Queens County. So I need to listen to them, because they know their communities and will best advise us of who they think should be nominated and we will make sure that person goes through the process and is qualified for their role.”