Assemblywoman Grace Meng – April 2011 Public Sector Spotlight

What motivated you to get into politics?

As an attorney, I always knew I wanted be involved in an area that served the public interest.  As a daughter of immigrants I understood what many newer Americans endure and wanted to help improve their lives.  I also had participated in various government internships at the State and Federal level and found it interesting to be a part of a process that could potentially have an impact on so many people.

From what you have experienced so far in Albany, if you could change one thing what would that be and why?

I try to increase the level of participation and understanding that the average constituent/New Yorker has towards what happens in their State Legislature.  So many important decisions are made at the state level but oftentimes it is hard to translate its importance to the average constituent.  I hope that we can continue to try to make the legislative process more transparent and accessible.

What are some of the challenges facing your district?

My district is one of the most diverse districts in New York State.  We are also a transportation and economic hub.  Aside from Times Square, we have the second highest amount of commuter traffic in New York City.  My district is over-utilized by people from all throughout Queens.  We need more investment in our infrastructure to be able to relieve the congestion.  This needs to be accomplished in order to be able to improve the quality of life for our residents and small businesses.  With the high amount of development occurring, more families are moving into the district which attributes to Flushing's vibrancy, but also leads to overcrowding in our schools and also our senior centers.

How are you working to address those issues?

I strongly believe in investing in our past, present and future.  Our senior citizens are the ones who brought us to this wonderful country.  They deserve a good quality of life.  Our small businesses are the reason for Flushing, Queens' vibrancy and we need to help small business owners realize their American dream.  Our youngsters are our future.  We must invest in them - our future leaders to ensure a bright future for our State.   We are constantly seeking private, federal, state and city funding to invest in our district.  This will help our small businesses, students and our senior citizens have a better quality of life.

What is the outlook on your five-year plan?

I hope to be able to ameliorate some of the concerns mentioned above.  Flushing is so important to the economy of Queens and New York City.  We are overburdened and we will continue to work hard to make sure the proper resources are brought into Flushing.