Cast your ballot for Mejias in 3rd C.D.
Nassau County Legislator Dave Mejias, a Democrat from North Massapequa who is seeking to unseat U.S. Rep. Peter King in the 3rd Congressional District, lashed out this week at King, charging that he was abusing his chairmanship of the House Homeland Security Committee.
Mejias noted that King's son, Sean, is vice president of Park Strategies, which has "lucrative contracts with many big businesses to lobby on defense and homeland security spending." Park Strategies' clients include Lockheed Martin and L-3 Communications, according to Mejias, who believes there is a clear conflict of interest here. King says his office does not deal with his son's company.
Mejias raises a fair and important question.
Sadly, the entrenched politicians who now rule Washington too often believe that they can take advantage of the system with no repercussions. It's high time for change. And that, in part, is why the Herald endorses Mejias in the 3rd District.
Mejias is the first credible Democratic challenger that King has faced in his 12 years in Congress. Mejias is smart, forthright and uncorrupted by the millions of lobbying dollars flowing through the nation's capital.
The son of Cuban immigrants who were persecuted under the Castro regime, Mejias understands what it is to live in poverty, and he wants to make sure that all Americans receive the government protections that they deserve. As one example, he opposes President Bush's reckless plan to privatize Social Security.
Not surprisingly, Mejias believes the Iraq war is being mismanaged, and favors a swift withdrawal from the ravaged nation. He wants U.S. troops redeployed to Afghanistan in 12 to 18 months to fight the Taliban, which is making something of a comeback.
With sectarian violence growing by the day in Iraq and American forces coming under increasingly heavy fire (October was the deadliest month for our troops there in a year), the U.S. has no easy way to extricate itself from this chaotic country, which might soon erupt in civil war. A year to a year and a half may be an unrealistic timetable for withdrawal, but at the very least, Mejias is thinking about leaving Iraq, rather than simply "staying the course" indefinitely, no matter the price, monetarily and, worse, in human lives.
King has shown himself to be a rubber stamp for Bush's failed policies. He actively lobbied for the Iraq invasion without asking the kinds of tough questions that our lawmakers should in order to check presidential power.
On the environment, King has among the worst voting records in Congress, according to the League of Conservation Voters. Mejias, on the other hand, has a proven track record of supporting environmental causes in the Nassau County Legislature.
On immigration, King supported a measure that would have made it a crime to house and feed illegal immigrants, even if they were homeless and starving. We found the bill repulsive and antithetical to America's spirit of giving. The measure also put King at odds with the Catholic Church, which he was all too willing to spar with.
King has made much of being named House Homeland Security Committee chairman. But when New York lost $80 million in homeland security funding, the congressman was powerless to get the money back. He is hardly the omnipotent political leader that he would have us believe he is.
The 3rd Congressional District needs a new voice and new thinking in Washington.
The Herald endorses Dave Mejias.