Chris Gibson

Gibson: Trump’s Comments ‘Distasteful’

Republican U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson on Monday called comments made by Donald Trump deriding Arizona Sen. John McCain’s time in captivity “distasteful” and “way out of bounds.”

“As a veteran myself and someone who commanded men and women in combat, I find his comments very distasteful,” Gibson said. “A day doesn’t go by I don’t think about those young Americans, those paratroopers, who I lost.”

Trump, who launched his presidential bid earlier this summer, blasted McCain over the weekend, calling him not a war hero.

“He is a war hero because he was captured,” Trump said a GOP forum. “I like people that weren’t captured, OK? I hate to tell you.”

Trump was reacting to McCain’s suggestion that the real-estate mogul and reality TV star had been “stirring up the crazies” through his anti-immigration rhetoric.

“John McCain — you say whatever you want about his politics — that’s someone who spent 5-1/2 years in a prison camp, was offered to come home early,” Gibson said. His comments were way out of bounds and that is just totally distasteful.”

Asked if Trump should apologize — something he has yet to do — Gibson said the candidate should dial back the rhetoric when it comes to veterans.

“I would say that going forward I would hope that he would show the proper respect for all veterans,” he said.

Gibson Says He Backs ‘Equal Protection’

Republican Rep. Chris Gibson’s office on Friday released a carefully worded statement on his same-sex marriage position following his backing an amicus brief in support of striking down bans in several states.

In the statement, Gibson separated “the rights of religious groups” to recognize marriages versus equal protection.

He does not specifically say whether he supports full marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples, a matter that the U.S. Supreme Court is considering the constitutionality of in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

“Equal protection under the law and religious freedom are two of the most fundamental and critical principles enshrined in our founding documents,” said Congressman Gibson. “I have consistently advocated for equal protection under the law for those who seek to certify their unions in the face of the law. Furthermore, it is a matter of religious liberty that the rights of religious groups to perform and recognize these unions not be hampered by civil law. I believe that, in the end, the courts will settle this matter on the side of our Constitution’s religious freedoms and equal protection clauses.”

Gibson, along with several other hundred Republican office holders, former elected officials and operatives backed a friend-of-the-court brief that urged the Supreme Court to strike down the bans.

Gibson in 2014 said he supported civil unions for gay couples.

“I have said, always, that we should have civil unions for all,” he said during a public television debate. “Marriage should be left to religious institutions.”

He is due to retire at the end of the current term, in 2016, as he considers a statewide run for office.

Gibson is considered one of the more moderate to liberal Republicans in the GOP-controlled House of Representatives.

Gibson Signs On To Brief Backing Same-Sex Marriage (Updated)

As the U.S. Supreme Court weighs a case that could strike down same-sex marriage bans nationally, Republican Chris Gibson signed on this week to a friend-of-the-court brief that makes a conservative case for legalization.

Gibson backed the brief, signed by 300 other Republican office holders and operatives — including fellow upstate GOP Rep. Richard Hanna — as he considers a statewide run for office after his planned departure from Congress in 2016.

The three-term incumbent from the Hudson Valley successfully won his re-election bid last year defeating Democrat Sean Eldridge.

Eldridge, who is married to Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, was one of the prominent supporters of the marriage law that passed in New York in 2011.

During the campaign, Gibson said he was supportive of civil unions, but not full marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples.

Still, Gibson in 2013 appeared to be pivoting to the left on issues like gay rights.

That year, Gibson backed a measure that would have banned workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The brief Gibson signed on to this week makes a conservative, limited-government case for same-sex marriage rights as the Supreme Court considers the legality of bans in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

In a debate with Eldridge on Time Warner Cable News last year, Gibson told his challenger he respected the work he did on pushing for New York’s same-sex marriage law.

“Let me just say, I do respect your work on that,” Gibson said, “and I’m surprised you don’t talk more about it, because that’s the little experience that you have.”

In a separate debate on public television, Gibson said he backed civil unions for same-sex couples.

“I have said, always, that we should have civil unions for all,” he said at the time. “Marriage should be left to religious institutions.”

Updated: Gibson in a statement says he supports “equal protection” rights.

“Equal protection under the law and religious freedom are two of the most fundamental and critical principles enshrined in our founding documents,” said Congressman Gibson. “I have consistently advocated for equal protection under the law for those who seek to certify their unions in the face of the law. Furthermore, it is a matter of religious liberty that the rights of religious groups to perform and recognize these unions not be hampered by civil law. I believe that, in the end, the courts will settle this matter on the side of our Constitution’s religious freedoms and equal protection clauses.”

Gibson ‘Digusted’ By Silver Scandal, Touts Term Limits, Dings Cuomo

Republican Rep. Chris Gibson, who recently announced he won’t seek re-election to Congress in 2016 to focus on a possible run for statewide office, weighed in on Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s corruption scandal, using it as yet another opportunity to advocate for term limits for officials at both the state and federal level.

Gibson, speaking to our TWC News D.C. Bureau, said he was “digusted” but not surprised by Silver’s arrest last week. He called Albany a “cesspool of corruption” in desperate need of reform, and said Silver should be “fired” ASAP.

“Since I’ve returned from the Army in 2010, it seems like every several months there’s just another case of a legislator being indicted, sexual harassment, abuse of power, corruption,” the congressman said. “…We need serious reform. We need term limits.”

“You see with the case with Sliver; here’s somebody who accumulated all this power over time such that when these revelations first came to light, the Democratic conference in the Assembly strongly supported him. Same comments coming from the mayor of New York City and also the governor. And this is really because one individual has been able to amass too much power.”

The congressman also took a swipe at Gov. Andrew Cuomo, saying the Democrat who was just elected to his second four-year term ran in 2010 on a reform platform, promising to clean up the state Capitol, and failed to deliver.

“The governor said he was going to clean this up; that was one of the things he ran on in 2010,” Gibson said. “By any reasonable standard, he has failed. Prematurely shutting down the Moreland Commission, the US Attorney is looking into that…That was the point of the commission is that there was a series of abuses over a period of time that there was a need for very a thorough investigation and action that comes out of that investigation. And then to prematurely shut it down, well we’re going to get to the bottom of that too.”

Gibson also made the case for campaign finance reform – including a cap on spending, which likely wouldn’t pass constitutional muster – noting that while he withstood a challenge last fall from a very wealthy opponent who spent millions of his own money (Democrat Sean Eldridge), most “hard-working Americans” are increasingly being priced out of running for office.

In addition, Gibson said, lawmakers who found guilty wrongdoing should not be entitled to their public pensions. “Why should the taxpayer continue to pay benefits to somebody who’s been convicted,” he asked.

The Republican congressman, who likes to portray himself as a moderate and a pragmatist, was first elected in 2010, defeating Democratic incumbent Scott Murphy with 55 percent of the vote.

He was re-elected in 2012 and 2014. Gibson initially said he would self-impose term limits on his congressional career and serve no more than four terms, but he has decided to cut that tenure short, leaving the door open for a potential statewide run – a bid for the governor’s office is widely speculated – in 2018.

Gibson Breaks With GOP Colleagues, Sides With Cuomo on Fracking

From the Morning Memo:

Many Republicans have been criticizing Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to move ahead with a fracking ban in New York, but Rep. Chris Gibson is not one of them.

“I do support the studies that have come forward here,” said Gibson, whose successful campaign for re-election in NY-19 included a battle over fracking (and contributions from those who support it) with his Democratic challenger, Sean Eldridge.

“…I’ve looked at the science here, and I have intuition, and I’m not surprised by the results of this study,” the congressman said.

“I think we should have reason for caution when it comes to fracking. I guess that would mean that I disagree with comments that this is political, because I believe the science, this is what it points to.”

The congressman, a 24-year veteran of the US Army, compared fracking and its potential public health risk to the use by the military of Agent Orange during Vietnam, and also the once-legal dumping of PCBs into the Hudson River.

“No one thought we were poisoning our own service men and women and the Vietnamese people…turns out we were,” Gibson said. “…I always wanted us to proceed with caution here. We have science now that points into not doing this. I think we need to listen.”

That said, the congressman noted, there were landowners who were expecting to profit from a potential fracking boom, and the state needs to look into compensating them.

Gibson’s GOP colleague, Rep. Tom Reed, who represents the Southern Tier, has made a similar call. Reed also has suggested the federal government could overturn New York’s fracking ban, which is further than Gibson is willing to go.

“I disagree with my friend, Tom Reed, because, as you know, I’m a believer of home rule,” Gibson said. “I believe in empowering states and localities, families and individuals.”

“…I think that we haven’t even exhausted here in the state working with the governor’s team. I would hope he would be open (to compensating local landowners.”

Gibson stressed that the state needs to come up with a viable economic development plan for the Southern Tier, which the governor has pledged to do.

Gibson Releases 5th Ad of NY-19 Race, ‘Clear Choice’ (Updated)

Rep. Chris Gibson released his fifth TV ad of his re-election battle in NY-19 with his opponent, Sean Eldridge – a spot that seeks to highlight the main differences between the incumbent Republican congressman and the Democratic newcomer.

The ad, “Clear Choice,” is a sort of amalgamation of arguments Gibson has made throughout the campaign. It touts the congressman’s record in public office and paints him as a dedicated local family man, while also swiping at Eldridge, depicting him as an inexperienced carpbetbagger who has run a negative campaign fueled largely by the wealth of his husband, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes.

“Voters want a representative in Washington who they can trust. Chris’s lifetime of honorable service to his country and constituents in New York is a record we can be proud of,” said Gubson’s campaign manager Kevin Crumb. “Unfortunately, Sean Eldridge has shown that he’ll do anything to be elected to Congress – including district-shopping and spending millions of his personal fortune to misrepresent Chris’s record.”

Gibson has used this line of attack many times – including in the NY-19 debate that TWC News hosted yesterday and aired last night. (In case you missed it, you can find it here).

UPDATE: Eldridge’s campaign released a point-by-point rebuttal of Gibson’s ad, which spokeswoman Sophie Friedman, said proves the congressman is willing to “lie to his friends and neighbors” and continues his practice of “false, personal attacks against Sean.”

Team Eldridge notes that Gibson is a member of the “least productive Congress in history,” and therefore cannot honestly claim to be working hard on behalf of his constituents. It also points out that the congressman supports fracking and has received a 33 percent lifetime rating from the League of Conservation Voters.

What’s more, according to Eldridge’s campaign, Gibson has “refused to lead by example and speak out against the more than $5 million that has been spent by outside groups on his three bids for Congress.”

Here’s the script for Gibson’s new ad:

Female Narrator: “The story of Chris Gibson’s life of service starts here.

Male Narrator: But Sean Eldridge just moved here, filing to run for office before registering to vote.

Female Narrator: While Chris worked hard for us…

Male Narrator: Eldridge was deceiving you about Chris’ position on fracking, distorting Chris’s record of protecting our environment.

Female Narrator: Chris proposed to limit spending in this election.

Male Narrator: But billionaire Eldridge said no, supporting tax dollars paying for politicians’ negative ads.

Female Narrator: This election comes down to trust. The clear choice? Chris Gibson.

Chris Gibson: I’m Chris Gibson and I approve this message.

Eldridge Campaign Launches Two New Ads

Two new ads from the Sean Eldridge campaign will hit airwaves Wednesday, the campaign said in a statement Tuesday evening.

Both ads focus on the issue of hydraulic fracturing, a gas-drilling process better known as fracking. They both claim that incumbent Republican Congressman Chris Gibson took donations from the oil and gas industries and has since “voted to continue billions in tax subsidies for his oil and gas donors.”

Here’s part of the script from that ad highlighting the process:

Think you know Chris Gibson? You might be surprised to learn that since he’s gone to Washington, he’s been siding with his campaign donors instead of us. He’s taken thousands from gas drillers and now supports fracking, which could pollute our drinking water. He even voted to continue billions in tax subsidies for his oil and gas donors.

While Gibson does support fracking, he has said in the past that the process should be well-researched before its given the green light. The process is currently under a moratorium in New York, pending an environmental review with no end date in sight.

Meanwhile, during a debate in Lake Katrine Monday, Gibson criticized Eldridge for having investments in the oil and gas industry. Eldridge says his family’s investments are handled by a third party and are not directly controlled by himself or his husband. Eldridge is against fracking.

Gibson has said that fracking could provide much-needed jobs to parts of his district, mostly near the Southern Tier where natural gas is found in large reserves, underground in the Marcellus Shale. Eldridge believes that jobs can be created without fracking by investing in renewable resources, such as solar and wind energy.

Eldridge is also pro-choice, an issue he’s highlighted in past ads and repeats in this new set. One of the new ads again calls out Congressman Gibson for claiming to be pro-choice, while he’s voted against abortion rights during his tenure.

That is partly true. Congressman Gibson voted to support a measure banning abortions nationwide after 20 weeks of pregnancy regardless of the circumstances, and has voted against funding for Planned Parenthood in the past. However, late last year he voted against a measure that would have given any company the right to deny women preventative-health coverage for almost any reason for a one-year period.

As of early September, Gibson held a 24-point lead over Eldridge. The two will appear in a debate on Time Warner Cable News Oct. 22 at 7 p.m.

Eldridge Launches Anti-Gibson, Pro-Choice Ad

A new ad from Democratic NY-19 candidate Sean Eldridge hit airwaves this weekend. The ad points out incumbent Republican Chris Gibson’s voting record on Planned Parenthood – he’s previously voted to cut funding for the organization.

Eldridge then repeats his support for a woman’s right to choose and equal pay for women.

Here’s the full script (video embedded at the bottom of this post):

I respect Chris Gibson, so I was surprised to learn that even though he says he’s pro-choice he’s consistently voted against a woman’s right to choose. He even voted to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood.

I won’t play politics with women’s health, and you’ll always know where I stand.
I served on the board of Planned Parenthood in the Hudson Valley and fought to protect a woman’s right to choose and access to birth control.

In Congress, I’ll continue to fight for women, including equal pay for equal work.

This is the first negative ad from Eldridge since launching his campaign last year. His other ads, found here and here,  talk about his  background in the Hudson Valley and his position on certain issues, including women’s rights.

This new ad comes after an exclusive TWC News/Siena Poll released Thursday put Eldridge 24 points behind Congressman Gibson. The numbers show a serious name recognition problem for Eldridge, with 57 percent of voters saying they don’t know enough about him to have an opinion.

Ironically, Gibson enjoys a 57 percent favorability rating, despite support from voters on progressive issues like a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, higher taxes for millionaires, and a minimum wage hike.

Read the full results of that poll here.


Gibson Pushes House to Act on Unemployment Benefits

Rep. Chris Gibson is pushing his Republican colleagues in the House to take up legislation that would extend unemployment benefits for five months.

The Senate is expected to pass the bill Monday; House leaders have so far refused to bring the measure to the floor.

As a result of the inaction, Gibson has signed on to a letter, spearheaded by New Jersey Republican Frank LoBiondo, calling on House Speaker John Boehner to put the measure up for a vote.

Late last year, beefed-up unemployment benefits ran out after Democrats and Republicans were unable to reach an agreement on how to extend them, leaving the unemployed with 26 weeks of assistance.

House Republican leaders had initially objected to the extension because it was not paid for. That concern has been addressed in the new Senate bill. Now, leaders say it will be difficult to apply the benefits retroactively.

“If there are issues with backdating this, then let’s take the same Senate bill, with the same pay-fors that I believe will pass the Senate and let’s go forward with it,” Gibson said, referring to his call to apply the benefits in the future.

Meanwhile, Gibson is also breaking with leadership on the Ryan Budget, which is expected to come up for a vote next week.

For the third time in three years, Gibson, who is facing a tough re-election against Democrat Sean Eldridge, says he will vote “no” on a budget he calls a “political document.”

“I’m going to vote no. The thing of it that I find particularly concerning is there’s no need for action on this budget,” Gibson said. “We have a budget. We actually passed it in December. It’s a two-year agreement, a two-year budget framework. What we should be focusing on are the appropriations bills that go with the budget agreement that we passed.”

The plan would slash $5 trillion from government spending over the next decade and overhaul Medicare for future retirees. Democrats are trying to use the plan to paint the Republican party as extreme


MoveOn Pressures Gibson, Grimm With Minimum Wage Poll

MoveOn today released a series of PPP polls of 13 “vulnerable” GOP House districts – including two in New York – that show a majority of voters in each support the idea of raising the federal minimum wage, which has been a top priority of the Obama administration and congressional Democrats.

The NY-19 poll, which appears below, shows 60 percent of Rep. Chris Gibson’s constituents support raising the hourly wage at the federal level from $7.25 to $10.10, while 36 percent are opposed and 4 don’t have a position.

Fourty-four percent said they would be less likely to vote for Gibson if he voted against raising the wage, while 27 percent said they’d be more likely to vote for him and 26 percent said it wouldn’t make a difference.

Gibson is facing a challenge from Democrat Sean Eldridge this fall. MoveOn members plan to demonstrate outside Gibson’s Cooperstown offices at noon tomorrow to demand he support an increase in the minimum wage also to deliver petition signatures from constituents.

Similar actions are scheduled outside the offices of every House member whose district was polled, including Gibson’s Republican colleague, Rep. Michael Grimm, in NY-11. Grimm is facing a challenge this fall from former Democratic Brooklyn Councilman Domenic Recchia.

NY 19 Minimum Wage Polling Results by MoveOn_org