At a Glance
- Career History: Comptroller, Nassau County (1981-1993); Hempstead Town Council (1978-1981); general counsel, Nassau Off-Track Betting Corporation (1977); Nassau County Executive Assistant (1974-1976); Deputy Nassau County Attorney (1972-1974)
- Birthday: April 5, 1944
- Hometown: Seaford, N.Y.
- Alma Mater: St. Francis College, B.A., history, 1965; Notre Dame, J.D., 1968
- Spouse: Rosemary
- Religion: Catholic
- Committees: Chairman, Committee on Homeland Security (since January 2011); Committee on Financial Sevices ; Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
- DC Office: 339 Cannon House Office Building(202) 225-7896
Path to Power
King was born in Sunnyside, Queens, to Democratic Irish-American parents, including an NYPD detective. He graduated from St. Francis College and Notre Dame Law School.
King spent his first several years after graduation practicing law for the Nassau County government, becoming part of the Republican tradition there. After serving on the Hempstead Town Council for four years, he became the Nassau County Comptroller in 1981, serving three terms. He ran in 1986 for New York attorney general, but lost by a considerable margin to incumbent Robert Abrams (D).
King is among the more independent-minded members in the House, voting with his party 88.8 percent of the time during the 110th Congress. Still, in recent years, he's established himself as foreign policy hawk, agreeing with George W. Bush on the Iraq war and opposing President Obama's decision to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center. Economically, King takes a nuanced approach, pushing for tax cuts while also advocating targeted spending.
The Northern Ireland peace process loomed large during the 1990s in King's district, and the congressman , who is from Irish stock and whose constituents are 17.7 percent Irish-American , was among the most vocal supporters of the IRA and a united Ireland. Three days after his election, the Long Island Republican flew to Belfast to meet with Gerry Adams, the head of IRA political arm Sinn Fein. The Irish peace process even formed the backdrop of Terrible Beauty and Deliver Us From Evil, two of the three novels penned by King.
For King, the most important political ties are local. King was among Rudy Giuliani's (R) more high-profile backers in the former mayor's 2008 presidential bid. He is also close to former Sen. Alfonse D'Amato (R-N.Y.), who is a product of the same Nassau County Republican machine and employs King's son, Sean, at his consulting firm.