U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) said there is “no controversy” over his residency Monday after it was revealed that he owns a home in Virginia and sends his children to school in that state despite representing Queens and parts of the Bronx in Congress.
“No controversy. I live in Woodside, Queens. My home and my residence is Woodside, Queens,” Crowley said after a news conference Monday outside Queens Borough Hall, where he put on his Queens Democratic Party chairman hat to drum up support for two Democratic state Assembly candidates. “I pay state and city taxes like any other New Yorker, but I am also a father. I like to wake up with my kids when I can.”
The New York Post first reported Crowley owns a home in Virginia and noted that bumper stickers are affixed to his cars that indicate his children go to schools there instead of in New York.
According to the U.S. Constitution, members of Congress are required to live in the state they choose to represent “when elected.”
The law is murkier about whether the members have to reside in the state year-round.
At a breakfast with the Queens Chamber of Commerce earlier Monday, the congressman defended his decision to own a home in Virginia, which he said was for the benefit of his three young children: 11-year-old Cullen, 10-year-old Kenzie and 5-year-old Liam.
“I think they have a more fulfilling life that I’m able to be around them more,” he told the crowd.
But when Congress is not in session, Crowley said, he lives in Woodside and noted that he woke up in his Woodside house Monday morning.
“It gives me the ability when I’m home to do what I need to do for my constituency,” the congressman said to applause from the chamber.
When asked whether he spent more time at his Woodside home or his Virginia residence, Crowley said it was impossible to tell and that it depends on whether or not Congress is in session.
“The reality is I have to be in Washington, D.C., for my job,” he said.
At the Borough Hall news conference, Crowley also said he bought the Virginia home to be close to his kids.
“If being a good father is not a good requisite to be a member of Congress, so be it,” he said.
Crowley told the TimesLedger he and his wife, Kasey, had tried keeping their children mostly in Woodside, but it had created tensions in the past.
He conceded that his family’s current arrangement shuttling between Queens and Virginia may not work in the future.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz
©2011 Community News Group
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