Peter King: Republican, incumbent
Earlier this year marked Congressman Peter King’s (R-Seaford) 25th year in office. Up until 2013, he served New York’s 3rd Congressional District before the district lines were redrawn. When asked about his reasons for running again, King said, “Because I’m good at it,” adding that it’s also his belief he’s done more for Long Island than any other congressman.
King says that since Sept. 11, 2001, he has made sure Long Island and New York City receive the necessary funding for security. The congressman has also called for radical Islamic groups like ISIS to be “crushed” overseas.
He was recently part of a bipartisan coalition that condemned a proposal by the Trump administration to restructure an agency that provides health care assistance to survivors and first responders of the terrorist attacks on New York.
King, unlike his political rival, doesn’t support government-run universal health care. He believes we should maintain a private system for health care. He cited a recent study that found in 2016, nearly 64,000 people left Canada, which has a more socialized form of health care than the United States, to seek out health care abroad, primarily in the United States. The Fraser Institute, a Vancouver-based think tank that many consider to be conservative leaning, conducted that study.
Despite voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act on multiple occasions, King said Congress should “leave the parts of Obamacare that work,” mainly protections for preexisting conditions. He still criticized the ACA for raising premiums.
King supports DACA, which allows some individuals who were brought to the United States illegally as children to receive periodic protections from deportation and become eligible for a work permit. But, he said that should be done only after the U.S.-Mexico border is relatively secured.
The congressman supports a border wall, along with an increase in border patrol agents. He added that a path to citizenship shouldn’t begin before the border is secured because that would further encourage illegal immigration. He also supports temporary protected status for individuals fleeing their countries from natural disasters.
Earlier this year, shortly after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Florida, this publication spoke to King about gun control. He said one really has to get out of the New York metropolitan area to understand the culture surrounding guns in this country, adding that many gun owners view even the slightest regulations as a step towards confiscation. He also expressed his belief that pro-gun constituents would remain powerful even if the National Rifle Association didn’t exist because they are more passionate about the issue than those who casually support reasonable gun control.
King said he has nothing against people owning guns, unless they have a criminal record or are on the terrorist watch list. “If you can’t fly on a plane, you shouldn’t be able to buy a gun,” he said, adding that he voted for the federal assault weapons ban in 1994. “I don’t see a reason for owning an AR-15,” he said. “You can’t hunt with it because it destroys the animal.”
In the past, King has also been critical of the $10,000 tax cap on state and local tax deductions, which is part of the GOP tax plan that went into effect earlier this year.
He still praised the economy, calling it the best Long Island has seen in years.
The congressman says he was vital in making the fight against MS-13 a federal priority, adding that we can’t allow that “brutal organization” to have the foothold it currently has in some local communities. King said the public must “support the police” and not “give into political correctness.”
King said his district, along with the rest of the country, has become much more partisan since he took office. He notes this is largely a result of cable news and social media, which allows constituents on both sides of the political aisle to “create their own realities.” He also credits the re-drawing of districts throughout the country for further dividing citizens and voters.
The congressman asserts that throughout his political career, he has always acted in a bipartisan manner, adding that Gov. Cuomo said on television last year, “God bless Peter King” for the work he is doing on behalf of his constituents.
He also pointed to a report from Georgetown University that found him to be one of the two most bipartisan members of congress, along with Christopher Gibson, another Republican from the Hudson Valley and Catskills regions.
“I can do it,” he said, regarding the continuation of his political career. “And I can work across the aisle.”
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