Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Register Star Endorses Kirsten

From the Register Star, 11/4/06

Residents of Columbia and Dutchess counties have had a front seat for the battle royale between Congressman John Sweeney and his challenger, Kirsten Gillibrand. Whoever emerges from this slugfest will represent the 20th Congressional district

The incumbent, Republican John Sweeney, has been recently plagued by allegations of domestic violence and ethical lapses. Yet he seems to have a strong pocket of support.

Maybe it’s his love of the region that engenders such goodwill. He certainly has brought home funding for any number of projects, including Columbia Memorial Hospital and other causes close to his heart. The four-term congressman waxes poetic over local history sites, and claims to have returned something to the tune of three-quarters of a billion dollars back to the state since his initial victory.

Or maybe it’s his tough-guy stance. Sweeney, in lockstep with the Bush Administration, believes in a connection between Sept. 11 and the war in Iraq. He’s bullish on Homeland Security and the defense industry, touting the latter as a potential economic boon for the area.

Gillibrand, too, is a staunch defender of the U.S. She also believes that terrorists have their eyes on our nation, and that we must be resolute in deterring any advance on their part. However, she thinks it’s time to get out of Iraq. She advocates returning power to the Iraqis, and bringing all sides to the table to negotiate a viable government.

Closer to home, Gillibrand is looking to reform what she sees as needless waste in spending. A self-defined fiscal conservative, Gillibrand proposes holding politicians accountable when they belly up to the trough. She believes that the enormous debt generated by the current administration can be dealt with, if someone else takes control of the checkbook.

She’s also in favor of giving a break to the middle class, even going so far as to propose at $10,000 rebate for those who have children in college. An advocate of education, she believes the region could retain bright young people if it invested in conservation technology.

There’s a lot more to Gillibrand and her platform, far too much to fit into the space of this editorial. Which is why the Register-Star is endorsing Gillibrand for Congress.

It’s not that Sweeney isn’t a passionate politician. He is. But he still moves too much in tandem with the current administration, and rather than offering insight or thoughtful response to broadly perceive problems, merely parrots Republican talking points.

In contrast, Gillibrand is bright, charismatic and willing to discuss any issue under the sun—or research it and get back to you. We believe that she will bring light into those musty halls and keep her word to work for reform.

We do have one recommendation for Gillibrand, and that is to keep to the sidelines when it comes to local issues. Residents of the twin counties elect their local representatives to deal with “home rule” issues.

On Tuesday, November 7, cast your vote for Kirsten Gillibrand.

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