Jan 27th - 2:46 pm
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.
Dec 23rd - 9:28 am
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.
Oct 23rd - 2:19 pm
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.
Oct 7th - 11:41 pm
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.
Sep 14th - 12:40 pm
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.
Apr 4th - 4:22 pm
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
Mar 31st - 12:30 pm
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.
Feb 25th - 11:30 pm
The “Kids Before Cons Act.” It’s the name of a new piece of legislation introduced by three New York Congressmen on Tuesday.
The bill, sponsored by Republicans Chris Collins, Tom Reed, and Chris Gibson, would prohibit the use of federal taxpayer dollars to provide a college education to convicted criminals. The measure is a response to Governor Cuomo’s proposal to provide free College Education to inmates at 10 state prisons.
“The Governor’s latest plan to fund college educations for convicted criminals using taxpayer dollars is an insult to law abiding citizens all across our state,” Collins said.
All three GOP sponsors said the Governor’s plan sends the wrong message.
“College students in New York leave school with an average of nearly $26,000 in student loans, a huge undertaking for any family,” said Reed.
“We can do better than spend federal taxpayer dollars on the education of convicted criminals when our hardworking New Yorkers need the assistance themselves,” Gibson said.
Collins plans to take action during the House Appropriations process to ensure no funds in any particular bill are used to fund college courses for convicted criminals. Collins says the “Kids Before Cons Act” does not ban states from using federal dollars to support GED or work training programs in prisons and correctional facilities.
“We must put our college kids before cons,” Collins added.
The Governor’s office provided no immediate response the congressional proposal.
Jan 28th - 6:42 pm
Rep. Chris Gibson is sitting with a Democrat during Tuesday’s State of the Union address and he wants his donors to know about it.
In a fundraising email titled “Across the Aisle”, Gibson says, “Tonight I’ll demonstrate my commitment to bipartisanship by sitting with my colleague Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA) during the President’s speech.”
The email includes a link for supporters to give money to his campaign.
Gibson says he has been friends with Ruiz since 2010, when they met in Haiti during an humanitarian mission aimed at helping victims of the devastating earthquake. The congressman says that while in Congress they have worked on legislation to help veterans.
The fundraising plea comes as Gibson’s opponent, Sean Eldridge, tries to seize on Gibson’s support for a bill that would further restrict the use of federal money for abortions as proof that Gibson is lockstep with the party.
“When our country faces so many important challenges, Congressman Gibson and John Boehner are focused on restricting women’s healthcare and reproductive freedom instead of working to move our country forward by rebuilding our infrastructure, investing in job training, or raising the minimum wage,” said Eldridge.
Gibson has long been considered one of the most liberal Republicans in the House.
Oct 17th - 4:02 pm
Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is scheduled to make two stops tomorrow in her old congressional district with the Republican who now represents it, Rep. Chris Gibson.
Gillibrand and Gibson will appear together in Columbia and Greene counties. At noon, they will by at the Agroforestry Resource Center in Acra to discuss legislation to combat the growing epidemic of Lyme disease in the Hudson Valley, across New York, and around the country.
A press release from Gillibrand’s office notes that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found New York had 19,543 confirmed cases of Lyme disease between 2007 and 2011. Greene County accounted for 785 of those cases and Columbia County accounted for 1,305.
Lyme disease has been a growing concern for New York elected officials lately. The Senate recently created a tick task force to research the problem and propose a coordinated statewide approach to combatting it.
At 2 p.m. Gillibrand and Gibson will join regional economic development officials to visit with Flanders Precisionaire employees and learn about the air-filter manufacturing process. Flanders currently employs nearly 230 employees who manufacture HVAC air filters for Lowe’s, Home Depot, Costco, True Value and other retailers with distribution throughout the Northeast.
Gillibrand was elected in 2006 to represent what was then NY-20, defeating incumbent Republican John Sweeney in an unusually contentious race. (The district has been reconfigured and is now NY-19). That was a long-shot victory for Gillibrand in a GOP-dominated district, and her star has been on the rise ever since, thanks to former Gov. David Paterson’s selection of her to replace Hillary Clinton in the US Senate in 2008.
Gillibrand’s old House seat was won in a special election by Glens Fall businessman Scott Murphy, a Democrat who defeated Republican Assemblyman Jim Tedisco in a tight race. But Murphy was ousted in 2010 by Gibson, who managed to hold onto his seat last year, defeating former Ulster County Democratic Chairman Julian Schreibman.
Gibson is now facing a challenge from Democratic activist Sean Eldridge, who reported receiving $5,000 from Gillibrand’s PAC in his third quarter fundraising report.
This isn’t the first time Gillibrand has spent time upstate with a GOP House member. Last summer, she made joint appearances with Rep. Richard Hanna, who was running for re-election at the time, as was the junior senator herself. Both were successful in their respective campaigns.