Kirsten Gillibrand has always run on a platform of transparency and accountability. With Senator Gillibrand, there are no surprises. In her very first campaign against 4=term incumbent Republican House Member John Sweeney in the 2006, her accountability was major factor. Sweeney, like many Republicans had plenty of surprises.
With two years under her belt, Gillibrand comfortably withstood a challenge from one-time Republican New York State Chairman, Sandy Treadwell in 2008. In a televised debate against Treadwell, Gillibrand made a lasting impression with her sharp responses and thorough knowledge of problems and offered viable solutions to her constituency.
Gillibrand, 45, is a mother of two young children. She attended Emma Willard School in Troy, New York, Dartmouth College where she was Magna Cum Laude and from the UCLA law school. Kirsten has deep roots in Albany politics. She has proven to be an outstanding fund-raiser and has more than $7 million in her reelection war chest.
If NY Republicans have their way, she will need all of that and more to hold her seat in the Senate. In 2008, Gillibrand was selected by Governor Patterson to fill the vacated seat of Hillary Clinton, who accepted President Obama’s offer to serve as Secretary of State. Prior to her election to serve in the House, Kirsten worked for Andrew Cuomo. Governor Cuomo and Senior member of the Senate, Chuck Schumer, will not be on the over-card in this election. Gillibrand may gain coat-tail support from President Obama’s run but Republicans are clearly posturing for a serious run.
Gillibrand moved to the Senate from the House in 2008. She served for 2 years before a special election, which she won with 63 percent of the majority. Gillibrand does not have the name recognition of Schumer or Cuomo but she has been and active Senator. Her most recent action was a high-profile presentation of legislation
As of this date, Gillibrand has co-authored a bill known as The Stock Act. Despite enough support from both sides of the aisle in the House that would have passed the bill, Republican majority leader in the House, Eric Cantor, refused to put the bill to a vote, Surprise, surprise! Why would the Republicans oppose a bill that had “teeth” and would prohibit members of Congress from participating in “Insider Trading?” Again Gillibrand’s public call for Congressional accountability was rejected by Cantor.
Now, why would anyone expect Eric Cantor to table a transparent bill calling for accountability that increases the integrity of Congress? Just one more example of the self-interest that has gridlocked the Hill and embarrassed taxpayers and traditional Republicans.
The Stock Act is typical of the Gillibrand platform. The Senator stands firmly for her constituents. She is straightforward, honest and votes for programs that benefit New Yorkers. There are no backroom deals in Senator Gillibrand’s record.
Senator Gillibrand is the first Senator to post her daily schedule on her blog. She also identifies participants in all her meetings.
Kirsten has vigorously fought for proper health care for 9/11 first responders. The Senator also helped overturn the 17-year ban against gays serving in the military. At first, Senator Gillibrand was viewed as a Senate fill-in and outsider, but the Senator’s ability to articulate her convictions on a variety of issues soon established Kirsten as the real deal. The Senator also supported the Dream Act, which is legislation that her constituents approve as a positive solution to the immigration issue.
Senator Gillibrand sits on the following committees which reflect areas of concern in New York State.
Environment and Public Works Committee
Senator Gillibrand’s seat of the Armed Services Committee is important. The Senator is becoming a firm voice in the arena of Defense. Her committee experiences may make it difficult for a Republican candidate to debate with Kirsten.
Senator Gillibrand should receive high praise and public endorsements from the state’s two biggest political names; Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senator Chuck Schumer. Gillibrand’s top priority is to create jobs and defend the middle class.
Republicans see Gillibrand as a beatable target in the 2012 election. With 21 Democratic Senate seats at stake in the 2012 Senate races, this is one seat Democrats can ill afford to lose. Not only is Gillibrand a tenacious voice, she is also everything American politics should be. It is no accident that her closest friend in Congress is Arizona’s inspirational Gabby Giffords.
Republican State Party Chairman, Ed Cox, posted a letter in the Syracuse Post Standard. The headline was State GOP seeks strong challenger for Gillibrand. Thus far, the only announced candidate is George Maragos, the Nassau County Comptroller. However, it appears the GOP would prefer unannounced Harry Wilson, a self-made millionaire and hedge fund manager.
Wilson was extremely critical of the Super Committee’s inability to arrive at meaningful spending cuts. In his first run at the Office of State Comptroller, Wilson was narrowly defeated by incumbent Democrat, Tom DiNapoli. As of this date, Wilson has on;ly said he was “seriously considering” a run at Gillibrand. To fund his campaign, Wilson used his own funds.
Gillibrand can expect both Wilson and Maragos to present a platform pushing for serious deficit reductions. It is unclear if the Tea Party will back either candidate. It may help Senator Gillibrand if either of the Republican candidates adopts the Tea Party platform or if the agree to sign the Norquist pledge if elected. The two most divisive obstacles for effective governance are the Tea Party and the Norquist Pledge.
If New Yorkers are tired of gridlock and sympathetic to the plight of the impoverished and the middle class, voters must support Gillibrand and all Democratic members of the House. Republicans have taken every opportunity to continue the unemployment malaise. A vote for Democrats is a vote against Norquist and a vote for untangling the necessary gridlock. All the while, Kirsten Gillibrand has always been a voice of reason. We can count on Gillibrand to improve accountability in the U.S. Senate.