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Albany got the job done, Meng says

State Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) called on the MTA to provide better transit options during her annual State of the District address last week in Flushing.

Her speech was a chance for her to highlight her work over the past year, and it ran the gamut of topics from the accomplishments she and her fellow lawmakers made in the state Legislature while also addressing work to be done in coming years and at home in her district.

Meng touted state government’s accomplishments, from the bill legalizing gay marriage, to ethics legislation, to a law that extended rent-regulation laws and strengthened rent protections, to the passage of a historic state budget that protected many key programs.

But she said there is still work to be done and that she regrets some of the effects of the Legislature’s actions, including increased tuition at SUNY and CUNY schools.

“Working with other legislators and our new governor, Andrew Cuomo, we have made some long-needed and important reforms in our state government,” Meng said. “I believe that this 2011 session will go down as one of the most productive sessions in Albany’s history.”

She also spoke about the impact she has had on important issues on the ground in her Assembly district.

Over the past year, Meng has taken the lead on the uber-contentious issue of English signage in downtown Flushing, starting a taskforce to address the issue, working with government agencies and exploring ways to increase the amount of English used on signs in shopping corridors.

“I get complaints often that there’s not enough English signage, or there’s no English signage, on stores in downtown Flushing,” she told the crowd during the June 30 address at Queens Library, at 41-17 Kissena Blvd. “I’ve been working with Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky and Councilmen Peter Koo and Dan Halloran to address this issue.”

In addressing another hot-button issue in Flushing, Meng took the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to task for ignoring the pressing transit needs of her district, calling on the agency to make needed improvements or increase transportation options.

“We’re working on making the MTA Transit Rider’s Bill of Rights in Albany,” she said. “And we’re working with the MTA to try to get the MTA to do something about transportation in Flushing.”

Meng expressed a host of views about the issues facing Flushing residents every day, and she expressed the urgency to address them, but she emphasized in her closing that her role is to serve the residents of her district and that she always remembers that responsibility.

“At the end of the day, I can talk about all this wonderful work I’ve done in Albany, but at the end of the day I’m a public servant,” she said. “I’m here to help you.”

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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