Elmont businessman Ali Mirza has filed paperwork, challenging incumbent Democratic Congressman Gregory Meeks for his fifth district seat. Mirza, along with New York State Senator James Sanders are running in the Democratic primary against Meeks who has been a congressman since 1998 and has been serving the fifth district, which includes Elmont, Valley Stream, and Inwood, since 2013. The committee listed in Mirza’s FEC filing is Mirza for Congress.
“The people of Elmont, Valley Stream, and Southeast Queens deserve a strong progressive voice in Congress who can deliver results and put an end to the culture of corruption that has tarnished the reputations of our local elected officials,” Mirza said in a statement.
The corruption that Mirza references comes from various scandals that have been linked to Meeks regarding receiving favorable loan rates as well as Meeks’s failure to make financial disclosures. Despite these claims, Meeks has never been charged with a crime.
“The beauty of American democracy is that anyone can run for office,” Meeks said in a statement. “I wish him the best of luck.” Meeks offered a similar sentiment to Sen. Sanders when he filed paperwork in December.
Another major issue that has consumed residents of Elmont has been installing a VLT facility on the grounds of Belmont Park. Meeks has come out against the gaming parlor earlier this month citing concerns over not including residents in the decision making process.
Mirza is against VLTs at Belmont as well, citing a plan that we worked on in 2005 with the Elmont Coalition for Sustainable Development. That plan never came to fruition, though the majority of residents backed it, Mirza said.
“Unfortunately, as more often than not happens—the career politicians became the largest obstacle in implementing the only plan that the entire Elmont community had chosen for itself,” said Mirza.
Mirza has been a vocal leader of Muslim rights and religious tolerance. He organized a rally on New Years day calling for peace and harmony among people of all religious backgrounds.
The Democratic primary will be in June.