Peter T. King

Peter T. King

name = Peter King

date of birth = birth date and age|1944|04|05
place of birth = New York City, New York
residence= Seaford, New York
occupation= attorney
alma_mater= St. Francis College, Notre Dame University
state = New York
district = 3rd
term_start = January 3, 1993
preceded = Robert Mrazek
succeeded = Incumbent
party = Republican
spouse = Rosemary Weidl
religion = Roman Catholic
branch=United States Army National Guard
unit=69th Infantry Regiment(New York)

Peter T. King (born April 5, 1944) is a Republican politician from the U.S. state of New York, currently the U.S. Representative for the state's 3rd Congressional District.( [] ).


King was born in Manhattan and was raised in Sunnyside, Queens. His family has strong Irish roots that trace back to County Galway and County Limerick. His Irish upbringing played an instrumental role in King’s later involved with the Irish peace process when he became a Member of Congress. His father, Peter, was an officer with the New York Police Department, and that coupled with the strong union community around Queens helped King enormously in the similar demographic 3rd Congressional District.

King graduated from St. Francis College in Brooklyn in 1965 and went on to get his Juris Doctorate from the University of Notre Dame Law School in 1968. King served in the famed Fighting 69th Infantry Regiment for the New York National Guard from 1968 until he was honorably discharged in 1974. Upon graduating from law school, he worked for the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office until Democrat Denis Dillon came to office in 1974 (Dillon would later become a staunch conservative Republican and like King, a staunch supporter of the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland).

He resides in Seaford with his wife, Rosemary and they have two adult children and one grandson. King has two siblings, brother Kevin and sister Barbara. He is an author of three novels that are loosely based on his years in Congress, Terrible Beauty, Deliver Us From Evil, and Vale of Tears.

The 3rd congressional district is made up of middle-class and upper-middle-class communities in eastern Nassau County, such as Bellmore, Hicksville, Levittown, Massapequa, Massapequa Park, Farmingdale, Seaford, and Wantagh, as well as some South Shore Suffolk County towns like Amityville, Copiague, Lindenhurst, West Babylon, Babylon, and West Islip. The district also includes the cities of Long Beach and Glen Cove.

Political career

Peter King first ran for public office in 1977, when he ran for Hempstead Town Council in Hempstead, New York. He won the at-large seat with the backing of the then-powerful Nassau County Republican Machine run by Joseph Margiotta and then in 1981, he successfully ran for Nassau County Comptroller. He was successfully re-elected in 1985 and 1989. As Comptroller, he showed his zeal for independence, often criticizing the budget proposals of County Executives Francis Purcell and later County Executive Tom Gulotta, both Republicans. In 1986, he ran a long-shot campaign for New York State Attorney General against popular incumbent Robert Abrams. King lost by a 2-1 margin.

When Democrat Congressman Robert Mrazek announced his candidacy for Senate against incumbent Alphonse D'Amato in 1992, King ran for the now vacant 3rd Congressional District seat. Despite being outspent 5-1, King won 50%-47%. From 1993-2006, he faced only token opposition and in many of his races, he ran against those who could self-finance their campaigns, so while King would be outspent in those races, he would win by double-digit margins. In 2006, originally Nassau County Legislator Dave Denenberg was going to run against King but when he dropped out two days after his announcement, fellow legislator Dave Mejias ran instead. While many pundits and Long Island’s local newspaper Newsday believed this race would be close due to dissatisfaction with President Bush, Mejias was defeated 56-44%.

King had contemplated running for Senate in both 2000 and 2004 against Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer, but ultimately decided against it. King was satisfied at not running for Senate, telling constituents that he would continue to serve them in Congress. In late 2003, King was mentioned as a potential challenger to Senator Chuck Schumer and after creating an exploratory committee and traveling around New York State, he decided against it.

Northern Ireland Peace Process

Even before he was sworn-in as Congressman in 1992, King flew to Belfast to meet with Gerry Adams, the President of [Sinn Fein] , a political organisation advocating Northern Ireland joining the Republic that was formerly associated with the Provisional IRA. King has long been a supporter of a united Ireland, as his uncle had been a member of the original Irish Republican Army during the Irish War of Independence which ultimately lead to the independence of the Republic of Ireland from British rule in 1922.

King had advocated his strong sense of Irish unity both in Ireland and in the United States and was controversially selected to be the first Irish republican to be the grand marshal of New York’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in 1985 due to his support of NORAID, which the British, Irish and American governments accused of being a fundraiser for the Provisional IRA. King made headlines later in the 1980s when he blasted New York City Mayor Ed Koch for claiming that the British forces in Northern Ireland weren't "occupying forces". King called for Koch to be boycotted from the St. Patrick's Day Parade and while he was able to attend, many lining the parade route wore buttons reading "Irish Against Koch". While King was a Councilman in 1980, he traveled with then-Senator-elect Al D’Amato to go see firsthand the situation in Belfast.

During the 1992 Presidential campaign, King took part in a candidate forum sponsored by a number of prominent Irish Americans in New York City and the main topic of discussion for both Democratic candidates Bill Clinton and Jerry Brown was whether they would grant Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams a visa to enter the United States. Clinton said he would and when both Clinton and King were elected in 1992, King made sure Clinton remembered to keep his promise. Within two days of getting elected to Congress, King flew to Belfast to meet with Gerry Adams to talk about how to address the Troubles in Congress. In what would become a strained relationship with the Congressman, "Newsday", which had endorsed King's opponent, claiming the Democrat was "more rational" than he, blasted King's trip with the headline "LI, Not the IRA, Should Be Rep. King's Priority".

Once in Congress, the issue of granting Adams a visa came to fruition. After much lobbying from numerous Members of Congress, King included, President Clinton did grant Adams a visa and in February of 1994, King met Adams as he landed in New York. King’s office worked hand-in-hand with Sinn Féin to allow them to fundraise in the U.S. as well as working tirelessly to set up Friends of Sinn Féin offices in the states. Some view Clinton’s support for the Irish peace process and some of King’s stances on various issues to be “quid pro quo”. For instance, King supported the 1994 Brady Crime Bill and Assault Weapons Ban however, the motives for these stances could have been the fact that a majority of King’s constituents supported the bills as well as well as a large lobbying effort by Carolyn McCarthy, a recent widower whose husband was killed during the Long Island Rail Road Massacre in 1993. King would later serve with McCarthy in Congress, who was elected to the neighboring 4th Congressional District in 1996.

In the late 1990s, King was a major player in helping to have all parties in the Irish peace process sign what would later be called the Good Friday Agreement. King was an intermediary between Sinn Féin and the Irish and British governments during the negotiations, often passing messages from Sinn Féin to the governments. King traveled to Northern Ireland with President Clinton after the Good Friday Agreement was agreed to by both the citizens in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in May 1998.

It is widely perceived that it is because of this close relationship between King and Clinton that King did not vote to impeach President Clinton, one of the only Republicans to do so, instead, supporting censure.

Later years in Congress

In 2000, King supported John McCain as the Republican nominee for President over Texas Gov. George W. Bush despite Bush’s carrying of King’s home state of NY in the primaries. As a result, King and the new administration were on the outs until September 11, 2001. NY’s Third Congressional District lost over 150 residents on 9/11, many of whom King knew personally. King worked extensively with the Bush Administration to strengthening America’s anti-terrorism efforts and supported the administration’s war with Iraq.

When the then-House Select Committee on Homeland Security became a standing committee, King lobbied successfully to be placed on the committee and when Congressman Chris Cox, the Chairman of the Committee resigned to become head of SEC in 2005, King began lobbying for the Chairmanship. The GOP Steering Committee selected Pete King in September of 2005, despite a rigorous push by Rep. Don Young of Alaska to make himself Chairman.

King used his Chairmanship to fight for NY’s anti-terrorism funding and when the Bush administration slashed funding in 2006, King was the first elected official to take action, publicly declaring that the Department of Homeland Security had “declared war on New York.” In an op-ed that ran in the New York Post the day after the cuts were announced, King wrote: “When DHS announced yesterday that they had slashed New York City’s homeland security funding by more than 40%, or some $83 million, they displayed an incredible and indefensible lack of understanding of the terror threat that New York City faces. It is absolutely unacceptable, and I am going to fight this decision tooth and nail.”

In the time since, King has worked tirelessly both publicly and behind-the-scenes to ensure New York City receives the funding it deserves. This includes repeated meetings with the White House as well as the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and holding Congressional hearings on the matter with witnesses such as Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Police Chief Ray Kelly. Funding for New York has increased across-the-board in all major homeland security grant programs over the last two years, including a new program dedicated to protecting the New York metropolitan area from radiological devices. In 2007, King was almost solely responsible for restoring $20M to the Securing the Cities program.

After House Appropriators attempted to cut the program in half, King introduced an amendment on the House floor restoring the program to its full $40M funding level. Transit security funding went up $97M since FY ’06 to $151M for the current fiscal year, along with port security being increased $17M from ’06 to ’08. Other programs and grants have seen multi-million dollar increases due to the efforts of Congressman King. In total, homeland security funding for New York has increased over $176 million since the funding cuts of 2006.

In February 2006, King was the first Republican to come out against the proposed Dubai Ports World deal that would’ve handed over American ports to DPW, a company owned by the United Arab Emirates. With the support of New York Senators Clinton and Schumer as well as New Jersey Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, the deal was suspended despite strong lobbying by former Long Island Congressmen Ray McGrath and Tom Downey to support the proposed deal. After DPW withdrew its name from the plan, King drafted the Security and Accountability For Every Port Act (SAFE Port). The bill was introduced and received overwhelming bipartisan support except from Congressmen Edward Markey (D-MA) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ). Markey went so far as to claim that the Republican legislation was weak and did not help to prevent any future terrorist attack which caused a yelling match between King and Markey to ensue during the floor debate of the bill.


King has been involved in some controversies during his tenure in congress. During the beginning years of his tenure in Congress, he came under fire constantly for his support of Sinn Féin and his past support of the Provisional IRA, although he called for the PIRA ceasefire in 1994 which lasted two years as well as in 1997. In 2001, he called for the PIRA to finally disarm, which they did shortly thereafter.

In 2005, he came under attack from Claudia Borecky, a constituent of Mr. King's when she received what was perceived as a nasty response to an inquiry she had regarding the Bush Administration's Social Security plan. She claimed that because of his response, she feared for her safety to which King commented, “I don’t think Congressmen go around their district assassinating constituents”.( [,0,591113.story Newsday 6/30/2005] ) The Newsday article failed to mention the fact that Ms. Borecky was an employee of Nassau County Legislator David Denenberg, who was contemplating running against King in 2006.

Criticism of policies

King has been criticized for his staunch support to allow the government to eavesdrop on American citizens without court-authorized wiretaps, for his support for the Iraq war, and his claims that "Iraq is 95% safe." In February 2006, King said that things were blooming in Baghdad and that being in Baghdad was like "being in Manhattan." []

In late August 2006, King endorsed racial profiling as a law enforcement tool. He proposed that people of "Middle Eastern and South Asian" descent go through additional security checks due to their ethnicity and religion, saying that all Muslims aren't terrorists but that all recent terrorists are Muslim ( [,0,6911475,print.story?coll=ny-top-headlines Newsday 8/17/2006] ).

Comments regarding Islam in the United States

In 2006, he came under attack by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) because he advocated profiling at U.S. airports. Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch (D) came to King’s defense in a campaign ad aired during the 2006 elections.

In September 2007, "The Politico" quoted King in an interview as saying there are "too many mosques in this country", and that " [t] here are too many people sympathetic to radical Islam. We should be looking at them more carefully and finding out how we can infiltrate them." When asked to clarify his statement, King did not revise his answer, saying "I think there has been a lack of full cooperation from too many people in the Muslim community."

King later said, “The quote was taken entirely out of context by Politico. My position in this interview, as it has been for many years, is that too many mosques in this country do not cooperate with law enforcement. Unfortunately, Politico was incapable of making this distinction.” In response, "The Politico" posted a [ video] of the interview, saying it was "so readers can decide." Dan W. Reilly, Politico News, [ Rep. Peter King: There are "too many mosques in this country”] , September 19, 2007.]

Counting of Votes in Election 2004

Prior to the 2004 election, at a White House BBQ in the Summer of 2003, King stated in reference to the election: "It's all over but the counting, and we'll take care of the counting." [ Video clip here.] The comment was seen in the 2004 documentary film [ "Diary of a Political Tourist"] by Alexandra Pelosi.

2008 election

King is again seeking re-election to Congress and while the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has said they plan on targeting King in ’08, they let the Nassau Democrats find a candidate and have effectively removed NY-03 from their watchlist. The Nassau Democrats fielded Graham Long in a long-shot bid to defeat King.( [] ). Long works for Nassau County as a member of the Long Island Regional Planning Board, and his family owns a catering business in Glen Cove.

Former NYC Mayor/former King foe, Ed Koch, has founded "Democrats for Pete King".

King has also been contemplating running for Governor of New York in 2010. ( [ New York Times 04/01/08] ).

Electoral history

Third party candidates omitted, so percentages may not add up to 100%.

Committee Assignments

*Financial Services Committee
**Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises
**Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit
**Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity
*Homeland Security Committee (Ranking Member)
**Subcommittee on Border, Maritime and Global Counterterrorism (Ex Officio)
**Subcommittee on Emergency Communications, Preparedness, and Response (Ex Officio)
**Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, and Science and Technology (Ex Officio)
**Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing and Terrorism Risk Assessment (Ex Officio)
**Subcommittee on Management, Investigations, and Oversight (Ex Officio)
**Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection (Ex Officio)

ee also

*9/11 Commission
*United States Department of Homeland Security

External links

*Official House site - [ U.S. Congressman Pete King]
*Official Campaign Site - [ Re-Elect Pete King]

* [ Project Vote Smart — Representative Peter T. King (NY)]
* [ SourceWatch Congresspedia — Pete King]

* [ On the Issues — Peter King]
* [ Washington Post — Congress Votes Database: Pete King]

Campaign Finance:
* [ Federal Election Commission — Peter King]
* [ — Pete King]

* [ Nasty Letters]
* [ Peter King Watch]


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