NEW YORK—Congressman Peter King (R-N.Y.) reflected upon his nearly three decades of public service on Nov. 18 at St. Francis College in Brooklyn.
King announced his retirement a week ago so he can spend more time with his family. He advised potential future lawmakers to learn to compromise in public service.
“Practically, you’re never gonna get 100 percent,” he said. “So, decide what’s your cutoff point. If you get 70 percent, is that enough? 65 Percent?”
When lawmakers don’t compromise, King explained that the nation suffers. He used immigration as an example, which led to the last government shutdown.
“Neither side wants to give in on that because Democrats don’t want to pay a penny for the wall, Republicans don’t want anyone who came in illegally to be allowed to stay,” King said. “Which is crazy. You’re not going to deport 12 million people, and you do need better security at the border”
King has strongly supported the fight against international terrorism and has hosted hearings on Islamic radicalization—hearings some Democrats criticized as stigmatizing the religion.
Despite the criticism, he has stood in solidarity with Democrats on tighter gun control measures, policies Republicans are generally against.
Bridging the Divide
We spoke with three students after King’s speech. All three plan to join the public sector upon graduation.
“His points were spot on, in consideration to the divisions that we have in our country nowadays, reaching across the aisle even on complex issues,” said Isa Khan.
“It’s always better to come to a common ground, and find a solution that is better for the people,” Naima Bertilian commented. “So I was really appreciative of that.”
Patricia Lorenzo is from Venezuela. While she does not agree with the socialism some Democrats are proposing; she does, however, think it is possible to work things out.
“We should take the advantages of both parties and just mix them together to get a better understanding of what’s happening and how to solve all the problems we have.”
King’s term ends in 2021. Democratic Senator Schumer of New York said on Twitter:”Peter King stood head & shoulders above everyone else … I will miss him in Congress & value his friendship”
King gave credit to Schumer for praising his character after he announced that he would not run for reelection.