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Grace Meng Shows Political Promise Early In Congressional Career

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Grace Meng is one of New York City's two freshman members of Congress, she's the first Asian American to represent New York in the House and she's looking to become a force in Washington. NY1's Michael Scotto filed the following report.

State Assemblywoman turned Congresswoman Grace Meng can appear unassuming and polite, she even says she doesn't like politics.

"I'm not crazy about politics and, you know, the financial aspect of running for office," Meng said.

But in her first month-and-a-half in office, she's already passed a controversial bill through the House -- one that would allow Sandy-damaged religious institutions to receive federal aid.

"It's very exciting," Meng said. "We're not done yet. We still need to pass it in the Senate."

The big win came as she was still learning her way around the labyrinth of buildings that make up the Capitol.

"I always joke that I need a razor or roller skates," Meng said.

The bill passed not long before she had to put aside the euphoria and return to New York to deal with her father's legal troubles. Earlier this month, Jimmy Meng, a former state Assemblyman, was sentenced to a month in jail for bribery.

"He accepted full responsibility for what he did and will now pay the consequence," Grace Meng said. "It's a fair system. It's a just system. If anything it keeps me humble."

Though just a freshman, she is the top Democrat on a House subcommittee and sits among the offspring of political royalty.

It's a sign of the growing political might of Asian Americans. She's one of 11 in Congress and the first elected from New York.

History could be made in New York again this year, but Meng says she's not committed to supporting Comptroller John Liu's bid to become New York's first Asian American mayor.

"I think that every candidate brings their own historic nature to the race," Meng said. "I don't feel any pressure to go with any certain candidate."

For now she's just trying to deal with the new job.

"There are meetings back and forth, and you're literally running, sweating all day," Meng said.

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