Sunday, November 05, 2006

Times Union Endorses Gillibrand

Gillibrand for Congress The Democratic challenger has emerged as a better candidate than the Republican incumbent

First published: Sunday, November 5, 2006

It's time for a change in the 20th Congressional District in New York and across much of the country. The elections of 2006, potentially historic in their scope, ought to be when the Democrats regain control of Congress. Rarely has such an overall change been needed more, especially to restore the checks and balances that the Constitution provides.

In each of his last two re-election campaigns, we endorsed U.S. Rep. John Sweeney. We cannot do so this time. Instead, our endorsement goes to his challenger, Kirsten Gillibrand.

To be sure, Mr. Sweeney has worked hard on behalf of his district and New York state. But for the past six years, he also has been a prominent and unapologetic advocate of deleterious Bush administration policies, from the Iraq war to tax laws that favor the rich over the poor. At a crucial moment when his voice might have been raised on behalf of openness and accountability in Congress, Mr. Sweeney remained a supporter of the ethically challenged House GOP leadership.

Ms. Gillibrand is a first-time candidate with unusual poise and command of the issues. By contrast to Mr. Sweeney, she offers a promising agenda for change.

She has been against the war in Iraq from its ill-conceived beginning and offers a sensible course that recognizes the failure of President Bush's mission and envisions a negotiated political solution that would allow a deadline to be imposed for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. Mr. Sweeney, meanwhile, talks about the failure of the "stay-the-course" strategy, but isn't even dissuaded from what's now the undisputed truth about Saddam Hussein not possessing so-called weapons of mass destruction. Adhering to that line of judgment is inexcusable in someone we trust to make tough judgments for us.

Ms. Gillibrand supports tax cuts, but more for the benefit of the middle class, while Mr. Sweeney has been a reliable vote for tax cuts that do nothing to stimulate the economy. He rejects the consensus of most economists that cutting taxes to the point of reducing revenue hurts the economy, not helps it. Ms. Gillibrand also advocates a sensible energy policy designed with the needs of ordinary people, not huge oil companies, in mind. She's more committed than Mr. Sweeney to policies that would reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil. She's also more determined to find a way to make health care less costly and more easily available.

On issues close to home, certainly, Mr. Sweeney has been an able congressman. He has been outspoken in his insistence that New York not be denied the money needed to prevent terrorism. He has boosted efforts to bring high-tech jobs into his district and the Capital Region. Denying him re-election means taking a chance on someone who would go to Congress for the first time.

Yet Ms. Gillibrand has emerged as unquestionably qualified for Congress by virtue of her vision and intelligence. She would be an articulate advocate for the people who would become her constituents. She\'s especially passionate about saving the small farms in the Hudson Valley, and she sees the dredging of the Hudson River as the economic opportunity that it truly is.

This election is about more than who's best for the interests of the 20th Congressional District. It's about who's best for the interests of the country. Ms. Gillibrand is clearly the better choice.

Ms. Gillibrand supports tax cuts, but more for the benefit of the middle class, while Mr. Sweeney has been a reliable vote for tax cuts that do nothing to stimulate the economy. He rejects the consensus of most economists that cutting taxes to the point of reducing revenue hurts the economy, not helps it.

Ms. Gillibrand also advocates a sensible energy policy designed with the needs of ordinary people, not huge oil companies, in mind. She's more committed than Mr. Sweeney to policies that would reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil. She's also more determined to find a way to make health care less costly and more easily available.

On issues close to home, certainly, Mr. Sweeney has been an able congressman. He has been outspoken in his insistence that New York not be denied the money needed to prevent terrorism. He has boosted efforts to bring high-tech jobs into his district and the Capital Region. Denying him re-election means taking a chance on someone who would go to Congress for the first time.

Yet Ms. Gillibrand has emerged as unquestionably qualified for Congress by virtue of her vision and intelligence. She would be an articulate advocate for the people who would become her constituents. She's especially passionate about saving the small farms in the Hudson Valley, and she sees the dredging of the Hudson River as the economic opportunity that it truly is.

This election is about more than who's best for the interests of the 20th Congressional District. It's about who's best for the interests of the country. Ms. Gillibrand is clearly the better choice. (link)

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