Friday, January 23, 2009

Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand is the new Senator-designate from New York

I have to say this story never interested me. I really did not care if Caroline Kennedy was the next Senator of New York, or if it was someone else. The only reason I would have cared about Kennedy is that she is a true liberal progressive, and the Senate can really use more liberal progressives. However it was not to be.

Now Governor Patterson has named Representative Kirsten Gillibrand to be the new Senator-designate from New York to fill the seat vacated this week by Hillary Rodham Clinton.

I don't know much about Kirsten Gillibrand other than that she is a two-term Democratic congresswoman who is described as a relentless politician with a centrist brand of politics. This concerns me a little as I think we have too many centrists in the Democratic party.

Now the good thing is she is a Democrat who won in a very conservative district. She is also a Democrat from New York who is not from New York City. Her district extends from the flatlands of the Hudson Valley to the mountainous North Country.

Her politics are across the board. One red flag for me is she earned a high rating from the National Rifle Association, because that organization has become a cesspool for loons and she opposed efforts to extend state drivers’ licenses to illegal immigrants, though I have to admit I never understood what people were trying to do with that bill. At the same time, Ms. Gillibrand favors abortion rights, voted to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq and to extend middle-class tax cuts, and she has opposed privatizing Social Security.

Her history is that she raises large sums of money from Wall Street, but voted against the first bailout bill last fall; that vote angered some Democratic leaders in Congress. Her ability to raise money, and get votes in upstate New York are the reasons she was chosen in my opinion.

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