About Peter King
In November of 2012, the voters of the Second Congressional District on Long Island re-elected Congressman Pete King to his eleventh term in the United States House of Representatives. Pete serves on the Homeland Security Committee, where he chairs the Sub-Committee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. He also serves on the Intelligence Committee, as well as the Financial Services Committee.
During his years in Congress, Pete King has earned a reputation for courage and integrity. He is an independent voice who is never afraid to speak out for what he believes in and to fight for the values and beliefs of his constituents. Most recently he led the fight in Congress to obtain $60 billion in emergency funding for the victims of Superstorm Sandy in New York, on Long Island and New Jersey.
The Daily News has said “straight talk is King’s strength,” while even the liberal tabloid Newsday acknowledged Pete is a “stand up guy who isn’t shy about tangling with the powerful, even some in his own party. King has become a national figure who delivers…”
A lifelong New Yorker, Pete King was born in Manhattan and raised in Queens. He is a graduate of St. Francis College, Brooklyn (B.A. ’65) and the University of Notre Dame Law School (J.D. ’68). Pete paid his way through St. Francis College by maintaining a full-time job at the Railway Express Terminal on Manhattan’s West Side where he was a member of the Brotherhood of Railway and Steamship Clerks, Freighthandlers and Station Employees Union. Pete served in New York’s 69th Infantry Regiment, receiving his honorable discharge in 1974.
Congressman King and his wife Rosemary were married in 1967 and moved to Nassau County in 1968. They have resided in their current Seaford home since 1971. Rosemary and Pete have two adult children and two grandchildren. He is the author of three published novels, Terrible Beauty, Deliver Us From Evil and Vale of Tears, which are based upon his political experiences.
After practicing law in the private and public sectors and being active in community affairs, Pete King was elected Councilman in the Town of Hempstead in 1977. Pete was elected Comptroller of Nassau County in 1981 and was re-elected in 1985 and 1989. Pete was the Republican nominee for New York State Attorney General in 1986, running a tough but unsuccessful campaign in the general election.
Pete King was the Republican-Conservative candidate for Congress in 1992. Though he was outspent by a margin of more than 4-1, Pete was elected in a tight race (50%-47%). Upon arriving in Washington, D.C., Pete King soon emerged as a leader, being chosen by the other newly-elected Republicans to serve as their Vice President. During the years of the Clinton administration, Congressman King served on the International Relations and Financial Services Committees.
In the foreign policy arena, Pete was a strong supporter of our nation’s military and worked across party lines with President Clinton on such issues as Bosnia and the Irish Peace Process. Rep. King accompanied President Clinton on various overseas missions, including the state funeral for Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in Jerusalem and meetings with Russian President Boris Yeltsin in Moscow and British Prime Minister Tony Blair in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Here at home, Congressman King was a strong supporter of tax cuts for middle income families and led the effort to make English our official language. Pete fought hard to increase funding for breast cancer and prostate cancer research and to expand insurance coverage for women facing breast cancer surgery and recovery
Like so many of us, Pete King saw his world change forever on September 11, 2001. Not only were more than 150 of his friends, neighbors and constituents murdered that day, Pete realized that we would be at war with Islamic terrorism for many years into the future. It was an enemy which threatened us overseas and, of course, right here in the United States. It was an enemy which was dedicated to destroying our civilization.
Congressman King was with President Bush when he traveled to Ground Zero on September 14, 2001 and worked closely with the President in the following weeks and months to ensure that New York received the federal assistance it needed to recover from the attack.
Pete and his office staff also did all they could during those terrible times to assist family members of 9/11 victims.Pete King knew that Americans had to do more than just rebuild and recover. We had to aggressively pursue Islamic terrorists overseas and to dramatically improve our homeland security. Working closely with our allies such as Great Britain, Australia, Israel, Jordan and Singapore, we had to hunt down Al Qaeda and kill or imprison its members before they returned to our shores. At home, we had to break down artificial walls between the CIA and the FBI and insist on complete cooperation between federal authorities and our state and local police. We also had to allocate anti-terror funding to the areas that faced the greatest risk – such as New York City and Long Island – and not spread it randomly throughout the country.
Pete was a strong supporter of the PATRIOT Act, creating the Homeland Security Department, profiling for terrorists at airports and allowing the National Security Agency to wiretap foreign terrorists making telephone calls into our country.
Because of his unflinching commitment to fighting Islamic terrorism, Pete was appointed to the newly formed House Homeland Security Committee and became recognized as a national leader in the war on terror. As the Daily News stated “Pete King is as knowledgeable as they come about terror threats” (Sept. 14, 2005).
This dedication and expertise resulted in Pete King being elected Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee in September 2005. During the next fifteen months, Chairman King’s strong, focused leadership led to the passage and enactment of historic legislation on port security, chemical plant security and revamping our emergency response system. Pete also held major hearings into the failure of the Department of Homeland Security to effectively allocate funding based on risk. As a result of Pete’s efforts the New York-Long Island region received dramatic increases in anti-terror funding
Chairman King’s bold and effective leadership was hailed by anti-terror experts and other national leaders:
“Congressman Peter King has been a leader from the start in the war against international terrorism. As Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, Pete King has fought hard and effectively for port security and a fair funding formula.”
-Gov. Tom Kean, Chairman of the 9/11 Commission
“Chairman King is a national leader in the war against terrorism. No one fights harder for New York and Long Island and no one gets better results than Pete King.”
-Mayor Rudy Giuliani
“Pete King is our champion in protecting us from being attacked by Islamic terrorists.”
-Mayor Ed Koch
“Congressman Pete King accomplished more in one year as Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee than most members of Congress achieve in a lifetime.”
-Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) Chair, Senate Homeland Security Committee
“Chairman Pete King has been our fiercest defender.”
-NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly
Even the New York Times was forced to admit that, “As Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee Mr. King, has been a vocal defender of New York’s interests in anti-terrorism funding” (October 22, 2006).
During his tenure as Committee Chairman, Rep. King also took on the issue of illegal immigration, which led to the House of Representatives passing the most significant border security legislation in two decades. Pete King made it clear he opposed giving amnesty to illegal immigrants.
Even though he was attacked by Newsday and the New York Times and had many hundreds of demonstrators outside his office waving foreign flags, Pete refused to back down. Pete also sponsored the legislation calling for the building of a 700 mile fence along the border which was signed into law by President Bush.
When Democrats regained the majority in 2006, Rep. King remained on the Homeland Security Committee as its Ranking Member. In that position he kept up his fight for fairer funding and the New York-Long Island region has received hundreds of millions of dollars in anti-terror funding.
Congressman King withstood strong political and media pressure and continually voted to support the successful “surge” policy of General Petreaus in Iraq. Pete King continually demonstrated his support for our troops and visited them in Iraq on several occasions as well as in Afghanistan. Pete was also a leader in the effort to support our troops and to bring their benefits into the 21st century by sponsoring The Returning Soldiers Bill of Rights Act.
Congressman King served as Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Committee during the first two years of the Obama administration and was inducted Chairman in January 2011 after Republicans regained their majority in the House. Pete is also the second longest serving Republican on the Financial Services Committee where he is working to restore our nation’s economy and has been re-appointed to the Intelligence Committee.
Pete King was critical of President Obama’s decision to close Guantanamo and restrict interrogations of terrorists. Pete, however, commended the President for deploying additional troops to Afghanistan and carrying out strikes against Taliban and al Qaeda troops.
Congressman King voted against President Obama’s “stimulus” legislation (H.R. 1) because he believed it was unfocused and did not include enough infrastructure projects or provide sufficient tax incentives to small business and middle income families. He also opposed the President’s health care legislation (H.R. 3590) and cap and trade legislation (H.R. 2454).
Pete has consistently voted to reduce federal spending to preserve and protect Social Security and Medicare and oppose tax increases on hard-working families. His prime goal is to restore America’s economy by creating new jobs.
It is Pete King’s efforts in the war against Islamic terrorism which have caused the most controversy. When the Republicans regained control of the House of Representatives in 2010, Pete was once again elected Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and immediately announced that he would hold a series of hearings on radicalization of the Muslim American community. Despite rabid and hysterical opposition from special interests and their allies in the liberal media, Pete went ahead with the hearings which received nationwide attention and the support of the American people. The hearing topics included Islamist radicalization in the community, in prisons and in the military, as well as recruitment of Somali Americans to Al Shabaab the al Qaeda affiliate in Somalia.
Congressman King also led the fight against President Obama’s attempts to hold 9/11 trials in New York and close the detainee prison at Guantanamo which Pete has visited. Pete has forged a close working relationship with the British Home Affairs Committee and traveled to
London to testify in the British House of Commons regarding Islamic radicalization.
Pete commended President Obama for the successful operations which led to the killing of Osama bin Laden and Anwar al Awlaki. These were major achievements in the war against terrorism.
Pete also supported President Obama in 2009 when he announced that he would be increasing our troop strength in Afghanistan but opposed the President’s later decision to begin withdrawing the troops before the job is completed. We cannot allow Afghanistan to become an al Qaeda sanctuary like it was prior to 9/11.
Pete also opposed the President’s decision to completely withdraw all our troops from Iraq. This move by the President increased instability within Iraq and allowed Iran to extend its influence in Iraq.
Congressman King has been particularly active regarding Iran – strongly supporting increased economic sanctions against the Tehran regime and calling on the State Department to expel all Iranian officials from the United States.
After his Congressional District was devastated by Superstorm Sandy, Peter King overcame fierce opposition in the House of Representatives where he led the successful fight to obtain $60.4 billion in emergency funding for the victims of the storm.