New York's New Senator

Friday, January 23, 2009

Later on today, Governor Paterson is expected to appoint Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand to fill Hillary Clinton's senate seat. Wayne Barrett, a senior editor at the Village Voice, and Irene Jay Liu, a political writer at the Times Union and a blogger for Capitol Confidential, discuss Gillibrand's politics and record--and talk about what kind of senator she's likely to be. Congressman Anthony Weiner weighs in as well.


Wayne Barrett and Irene Jay Liu

Comments [71]

mc from Brooklyn

RCT #72,
She answered a question in the press conference about that bill. Her knowledge of the subject was virtuosic. Very impressive.

dan #74,
You speak my mind.

Jennifer #75,
I heard that he favored Kennedy. Where did you see him promoting Gillibrand?

Thank you. I feel the same way about your posts.

Jan. 23 2009 05:29 PM
hjs from 11211

i enjoy reading ur posts also (when they are not censored)

Jan. 23 2009 03:33 PM
jennifer from manhattan

I'm coming late to the party, but I have to question what's up with Chuck Schumer? He relentlessly promoted Gillibrand and she is considered his protoge. Schumer is the consummate NYC liberal politician and yet his protoge is getting blasted as too conservative? And what is he doing with a protoge with a 100 percent approval rating from the NRA? Frankly, I don't get it.

Jan. 23 2009 02:49 PM
dan from brooklyn

I really don't see how Paterson can be blamed for dragging out this process. He said at the outset that he would not appoint Clinton's replacement until she was confirmed -- and that's exactly what he did. The media and those pushing for Caroline Kennedy's selection chose not to respect that, opting instead to create a media circus and ultimately placing Ms. Kennedy in an unfavorable light. Paterson is intelligent and politically astute. I think his selection of Kirsten Gillibrand will, in time, be seen as a good decision.

Jan. 23 2009 02:13 PM
seth from Long Island

mc, hjs

Many good points made by both of you. You two often make more relevant and insightful comments than Brian or his guests.

Hopefully, Gillibrand is ready for primetime.

Jan. 23 2009 02:10 PM
RCT from NYC

Check out Darius's comment (#9). Kirsten is not a right-wing conservative. She supports gay rights and civil liberties and was a protegee of Hillary and Bill Clinton. She ran for Congress with the support (and on the ticket of) the Working Families Party. She's a Democrat; she's fine.

Her constituents hunt deer and rabbits and oppose gun control; she represents their views. It's not Manhattan up there, people, but they aren't packing Uzis, either. They eat what they shoot.

I worked with Kirsten Gillibrand, nee Rudnick, many years ago, when we were both associates at the same large, NYC law firm. Therefore, I know first-hand that most of these posts are off-base. Gillibrand is bright, hard-working, sophisticated and reasonable. (She was right to oppose the bail-out; it was a terrible bill, as time has proved.)

Jan. 23 2009 02:08 PM
hjs from 11211

HRC only resigned this week.
no one is to 'blame' but if she supports a GOP filibuster egg will be on all our faces...

not a fan of the blue dogs (especially in the Northeast) but they do take the wind out of the GOP sails.

Jan. 23 2009 01:29 PM
mc from Brooklyn

Yes. I guess tht means it's poll driven. That is representation.

I agree to a point. I think that it would not have seemed so dragged out if the Kennedy people and Bloomburg people had not turned this into and unseemly campaign. He really could not appoint anyone until Hillary resigned. We will see how Kirsten does representing the whole state. It's a heavy lift.

Jan. 23 2009 01:04 PM
seth from Long Island

Sure, Caroline deserves some of the blame. At the end of the day, this was Patterson's decision to make and he dragged it out for far too long.

If Gillibrand turns out to be a genius and a remarkable legislator, I will forgive Patterson for his Hamlet routine.

Jan. 23 2009 12:42 PM
hjs from 11211

are you saying her voting is poll driven?
i'm OK with that.

Jan. 23 2009 12:12 PM
mc from Brooklyn

You are right about representing the majority. I will be watching. That said, it is still instructive to see where someone comes from as an explanation of his/her views.

Laura #63,
I read a NY Times article about her during her first year. She basically allowed the news media into her office every day to record how she did business, going for maximum transparency.

Jan. 23 2009 12:04 PM
hjs from 11211

please stay on topic or they will shut us down!!

Jan. 23 2009 11:59 AM
hjs from 11211

the jr senator is to represent the majority of the state

Jan. 23 2009 11:58 AM
mc from Brooklyn

I agree with Lance #61 about who is responsible for the media circus, although I hold Kennedy's satellites more responsible than her. The media also jumped all over it--I never heard anyone with any real authority call her a frontrunner.

Jan. 23 2009 11:56 AM
Laura from Manhattan

Too much speculation about Gillibrand's heart, mind, and positions. Too much 'ad hominem'.

I wonder how much independence she will have.
Won't she follow the lead of our Senior Senator, Chuck Schumer? Don't all new seantors do that?

Meanwhile, I found this very helpful in understand who Gillibrand is and how her constituents feel:

It seems she was extremely responsive and responsible about replying to criticism and needs.

Jan. 23 2009 11:55 AM
Lance from Manhattan

In the short term, Paterson's major problem is the state's budget and the economy. No matter what he does or does not do, the odds are stacked against him based on those issues.


Let's wait a few hours and see what Schumer, Clintons, Obama, Shelly Silver, et al say about Gillibrand's nomination.

Jan. 23 2009 11:54 AM
Lance from Manhattan

I can't agree with Seth (as usual?).

It was Kennedy and her supporters who put Paterson in a tough position. She clearly was not ready to take up one of the most influential political seats in the US (and that's just based on her interviews).

IF Gillibrand turns out to be a star in the Senate, and is able to help Democrats raise lots of money, and Paterson can get re-elected, he'll look like a genius in a couple of years.

Jan. 23 2009 11:53 AM
mc from Brooklyn

Lance #57,
That is really interesting. It is understandable if she was not really out. Did she actually come out on the show? I haven't looked at the video yet, my buffer is not working. It is possible, of course, to be on the show and not be a lesbian.

Jan. 23 2009 11:51 AM
seth from Long Island

Between Rod Bribeovich and David Patterson, I can't decide which one is the bigger village idiot.

Regardless of whether Gillibrand is too conservative or not, Patterson showed horrible leadership skills by dragging this process out to the last possible second and turning it into a soap opera.

By dragging it out for so long, he allowed Caroline Kenndy's reputation to be dragged thru the mud and gave Gillibrand no time to get acclimated to her new position.

Jan. 23 2009 11:48 AM
Lance from Manhattan

I didn't know Weingarten is a lesbian either, until I saw her on the pro-LGBT tv show "In The Life" on pbs about a week ago.

I think it's fair to say that as NYC Teachers' Union leader, she hasn't been exactly out loud and proud. (Which is not necessarily to say that she's been totally closeted either.)

Jan. 23 2009 11:46 AM
mc from Brooklyn

I can understand wacky Friday. In the age of the internet it is really easy to dig up a politician's record no matter where he/she comes from. Sometimes seeing the place where they come from sheds light on their views. So... how about an upstate travelogue? (kidding!)

Lance #46,
OMG! I did not know that Weingarten is a lesbian. How did I miss that. Learn something every day.

Jan. 23 2009 11:38 AM
mc from Brooklyn

John #48,
Sorry, but I actually heard Brian say that he invited Cuomo, Kennedy and Gillibrand. think what you like about Brian and whatever his views might be, but I did hear that.

Jan. 23 2009 11:35 AM
hjs from 11211

i heard Brian say he asked Gillibrand to the show. am i crazy?

Jan. 23 2009 11:33 AM
John Gilbrani from West Village

mc #22,

Actually Brian indicated that he requested Cuomo and Caroline to be on his show, but he never mentioned Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand, So lets be a little more accurate and honest about what we post on here OK! Some people may take what you say as fact!

Brian has a pattern of promoting Zionist and their sympathizers, we must watch those in the media who abuse the peoples airwaves to the detriment of people who own them.

Jan. 23 2009 11:30 AM
Lance from Manhattan

Jan. 23 2009 11:29 AM
Lance from Manhattan


That bit from the queerty article that laments Paterson's failure to nominate Randi Weingarten, who would have been the first lesbian US Senator is a pretty harsh condemnation of Gillibrand's record on LGBT issues.

HAS Gillibrand has a 3am epiphany on LGBT issues, as Wayne Barrett suggested on Brian's show today? Is she shifting to the center to get the Senate seat? Where is the disconnect coming from?

I really hope our journalists will do a good job and pin her down on where she stands on LGBT issues today and in the next few days. On civil unions and same-sex marriage, but also on the other issues.

Jan. 23 2009 11:28 AM
hjs from 11211

all i need to know is in the 4 boroughs ;)

(of course i've been upstate)

Jan. 23 2009 11:26 AM
hjs from 11211

i'm just a little wacky cause it's friday.
i also vote working families line but the machine is elected and shapes everything we get. they are us.

also i might support an upstater if they were from buffalo or rochester, maybe even syracuse.

Jan. 23 2009 11:18 AM
mc from Brooklyn

hjs #41,
Wow! That's kind of harsh, don't you think? Have you ever spent any time in other counties in NY? "Upstate" really doesn't cover it. You have the super-north near the St Laurence, you have Lake Ontario, you have Niagra and Buffalo, Finger Lakes, the Catskill region, the Hudson Valley, Native tribes. It is quite diverse and quite distressed economically in many places. Pete Seeger comes from Beacon.

Jan. 23 2009 11:16 AM
mc from Brooklyn

hjs #33,
You know I'm your biggest fan. I reject the Dem machine. I vote for the candidates I like best, If I can, I vote for them on the Working Families line.

Ceolaf #28. Thanks. I will also be interested to see how the Repubs respond to the choice.

Jan. 23 2009 11:11 AM
hjs from 11211

the upstate is good for nothing bar holding prisoners, the adirondacks, and dairy farms!

don't get me wrong. i'm happy to send them welfare checks and other subsidizes, but a senate seat has not been earned

Jan. 23 2009 11:07 AM
B.G. from ny

People should remember that Kirsten Gillibrand's win two years ago was THE 20th SEAT THAT GAVE THE DEMOCRATS CONTROL OF THE HOUSE. Be thankful people that she represents the 20th, which had gone Republican ever since it was like a part of Vermont!!

Jan. 23 2009 11:05 AM
LeeNYC from Manhattan

Given her voting record, Gillibrand does not appear to be the conservative ideologue some suggest.

Notably, she was one of a handful to listen to citizens' protest of the Bailout and voted against an ill-conceived bill that was rushed through Congress.

She also brings balance to a NYC-heavy slate.

Jan. 23 2009 11:02 AM
Jay F. from manhattan

Senator Gillibrand's Website.

Jan. 23 2009 11:02 AM
B.G. from ny

People should remember that Kirsten Gillibrand's win two years ago was the 20th Seat that gave the Democrats controll of the House after many long years! Be thankful people!

Jan. 23 2009 11:02 AM
Lance from Manhattan


Very useful website you referenced!

Note that when you actually look at her "lifetime progressive scores" at that website on various issues, Gillibrand is rated 88% or better on almost all the issues.

Jan. 23 2009 11:02 AM
Leo from Queens

Thank you Ceolaf (#28) for the ProgressivePunch Link

Jan. 23 2009 11:02 AM
mc from Brooklyn

You are right about the tax revenue and the population. But is there any upstater that you could have supported? (I'm not saying I'm a supporter, I'm waiting to see what she does).

Jan. 23 2009 10:56 AM
hjs from 11211

girl you better NOT be refering to me :)

that's my 'NY Dem machine' that i voted for

"TARP was a terribly disasterous bill. It should have been done more slowly and thoughtfully."
like the terror bill?

Jan. 23 2009 10:56 AM
NC from NYC

Well, it was a savvy political maneuver on Paterson's part who will need to win the vote of ALL of NYS, including upstate, when he officially runs for governor. People "up there" will appreciate that he chose an upstate representative.

Well, it sounds like KG is not as liberal as us NYCers may like, but I appreciate that she thinks for herself and doesn't just vote the party line. NYC is not all of the state after all.

Also, I am surprised that Scott Stringer is running for Senate. That's a huge jump from Manh. borough prez to US Senate?? He needs to try to make smaller moves first -- maybe Mayor?

Jan. 23 2009 10:55 AM
hjs from 11211

steve 16
don't forget about 90% of tax revenue comes from downstate and 65% of the population live here

but yes the left wing is always weak.

Jan. 23 2009 10:52 AM
mc from Brooklyn

Suzanne #25,
Is that really fair? Caroline Kennedy's satellites and the media turned the whole thing into a media circus. Yes, Paterson probably could have handled it better but is it really his fault?

Jan. 23 2009 10:50 AM
mc from Brooklyn

There is a Greenport on the extreme eastern end of the North Fork of LI. Obviously the Wiki is talking about Columbia County.

Jan. 23 2009 10:49 AM
ceolaf from brooklyn is a great way to look at candidates' record.

Gillibrand's record can be seen here:

They break down voting records into 17 categories and over 150 subcategories, which can then be broken down to the individual vote level. Look for yourself.

By their rigorous system, she ranks as the 167th most progressive member of the House. That's on the progressive end of the middle third.

Highlights include more progressive rankings on: corporate subsidies; the environment; and housing. Quite a bit more moderate (i.e. non-progressive for a Democrat) on Education, Humanities and the Arts; Fair Taxation; and Justice for All (Civil and Criminal).


All of that is based on actual votes, not on public speeches or campaign rhetoric.

Jan. 23 2009 10:47 AM
Lance from Manhattan

Also, the Daily News is reporting that Gillibrand worked for Clinton's 2000 Senate run, and Bill & Hillary campaigned for Gillibrand's re-election in 2006.

Jan. 23 2009 10:47 AM
mc from Brooklyn

I am not referring to you or any other regular voter when I said Dem mafia, but the NY Dem machine. If she sticks her finger in their eye I will applaud her for it even if I end up disagreeing with her enough to vote against her.

Jan. 23 2009 10:45 AM
SuzanneNYC from Upper West Side

The whole process was disastrous and reflects unfavorably on Gov Paterson. Not corrupt like Illinois but still embarrassing. He needs to get his act together and increase both his seriousness of purpose and policy making expertise if he expects to be reelected next year. New York State politics is generally a mess anyway.

Jan. 23 2009 10:42 AM
Susan from Kingston, New York

I think that Kristen Gillibrand is a good choice! While I may not agree with all of her votes, I think that she is smart and thoughtful. She voted against the TARP exactly because of the reasons that it has not been successful. Most importantly, she represents the people that she serves. By the way, Greenport is in Columbia County, not at the end of LI.

Jan. 23 2009 10:42 AM
hjs from 11211

so the point seems no one can agree on what see stands for. does that help patterson?

she a lieberman should form a 3rd party, please...

mc, "Democratic mafia" i'm just a voter. do i have a right to an opinion?

Jan. 23 2009 10:42 AM
mc from Brooklyn

John #17,
He did ask her. She declined as did Caroline Kennedy and Andrew Cuomo.

Jan. 23 2009 10:40 AM
Lance from Manhattan

Rep. Weiner admitting he might have been wrong in voting for the Wall Street financial bailout? I'm speechless.

Jan. 23 2009 10:39 AM
mc from Brooklyn

Maybe she got the TARP vote right.

Jan. 23 2009 10:39 AM

TARP was a terribly disasterous bill. It should have been done more slowly and thoughtfully, and KG was correct to advocate against the way the bill was written.

Jan. 23 2009 10:38 AM
Robert from NYC

Well now that we're all confused...

Jan. 23 2009 10:38 AM
John Gilbrani from West Village

I was wondering did Brian give Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrandan, an apportunity at being a guest on his show?

He tends to be very selective as to who he allows and promotes for elective office!!

Jan. 23 2009 10:37 AM
Steve Mark from NYC

How pitiful the left wing of the Democrats are. First they have a fit when Obama picks in centrist cainet, then Harry Reid says he won't allow Roland Burris to be seated and now they're whining about Gillebrand.She's an upstater and the problem is most City/NYC politicians still view that New Yorker cover depictingNYC occupying 90% of the map.

Jan. 23 2009 10:37 AM
hjs from 11211

thanks for the info
maybe i should stop getting my news from WNYC
i'll wait and see.

Jan. 23 2009 10:36 AM
JRB from Jersey

Wondering if this gives Cuomo the opportunity to head his own slate in 2010...

Jan. 23 2009 10:35 AM
Richard from Brooklyn

"Now that Paterson's selected Kirsten Gillibrand for the Senate seat, gays and lesbians should vocally protest the decision. She is a poor friend to the gay community. She has the lowest HRC LGBT rights score of any New York State Democratic legislator: when she was asked to support a repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, she refused; when she was asked to support extending employer health care coverage to domestic partners, she refused; when she was asked to extend naturalization benefits to domestic partners, she refused; when she was asked to extend Medicaid to cover low-income HIV-positive Americans, she refused.This would be a deplorable record any time, but Paterson's now sent the single-worst Democrat in New York on gay and lesbian rights to the Senate in place of Hillary Clinton."

Jan. 23 2009 10:35 AM
mc from Brooklyn

Here we go: the Democratic mafia is already lining up. Let's see what she does for God's sake. She picked off a very strong Republican incumbant by beating him around the head on the war and the economy. Then he imploded. She was targeted by the Repubs as a freshman up for re-election and won by a landslide. I think she deserves a close look.

Jan. 23 2009 10:34 AM
mc from Brooklyn

I looked at the voting record link provided above. It will take more study. She supports DC sovereignty, voted for the hate crimes prevention bill, voted for the Lily Ledbetter act, voted for all bills authorizing and funding state children's health insurance, voted in favor of a bill outlawing discrimination against people for sexual orientation. On the downside, it looks like she supported some oil exploration in Alaska voted for some statement saying that Christmas and Christianity are "important." Whatever. I hope people look carefully at her record and ignore the instant labels which are already falling.

Jan. 23 2009 10:31 AM
Lance from Manhattan

@dean & hjs,

I am beginning to think some of the early reports about how conservative Rep Gillibrand is may be erroneous. Yes, she opposes gun control, she has supported extending the Bush tax breaks for the wealthy, she reportedly has not been strong enough in ending the war in Iraq, and she takes a conservative position on immigration issues.

However, she has been rated:
100% from NOW
100% American Association of University Women
100% League of Women Voters
100% NARAL Pro-Choice America
0% National Right to Life

100% ACLU
80% Human Rights Campaign
10% Christian Coalition
5% Family Research Council
0% Traditional Values Coalition
18% John Birch Society

100% UAW
A from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

Jan. 23 2009 10:27 AM
Darius from Prospect Heights

She also has the following:
*NARAL 100%
*ACLU 100%
*Americans for Tax Reform gave a grade of 5
*NAACP 96%
*League of Conservation Voters 85%
*Children's Defense Fund 100%
*Americans for Democratic Action 95%
*IAVA gave her an A

I don't know, she seems okay...

Jan. 23 2009 10:25 AM
MICHAEL from Rockville Centre

Why do New York City types think that they should control and fill all State political positions.Governor Paterson wanted to eliminate
the political in-breeding that goes on with some City dynasties.

Jan. 23 2009 10:13 AM
hjs from 11211

sorry to all BUT for selecting a conservative upstate nobody patterson is my nominee for doofus of the year (but the year is young yet)

Jan. 23 2009 10:12 AM
anthony from Brooklyn

Let me supplement the above comment's mention of her immigration stance with this statement from Congresswoman Gillibrand's website:

"Our immigration system is broken and hard-working Americans often bear the brunt of the federal government's failure to secure our borders and provide adequate protections for the American worker and the shrinking American Middle Class. I believe the first step to fixing our immigration system is to stop the flow of illegal immigration. This can be accomplished by securing the Southern border, enforcing the employment laws on the books and ensuring that our farmers and businesses have the adequate number of legal workers after they have exhausted their search for American workers. I am firmly against providing amnesty to illegal immigrants. In my first year in Congress, I passed legislation on the floor of the House of Representatives that would bar employers, who knowingly hire illegal immigrants, from receiving federal contracts.

In addition, I am a sponsor of the SAVE Act, which will hire 8,000 new Customs and Border Patrol agents, while utilizing new technology and fencing along the border. I have also sponsored the Legal Employee Verification Act, which would require all employers to verify, through the Social Security Administration, that their employees are legal. In addition, I support reforming and streamlining the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) so that the extraordinary casework backlog will be addressed within two years. This is especially important for the thousands of farmers in our district who need legal workers. I am confident that Congress can enact reform without providing amnesty to illegal immigrants. This is a national and economic security issue for our country and I am committed to fighting for the American worker."

Jan. 23 2009 10:10 AM
Steve from Milford, Ct

Wikipedia says Ms Gillibrand 'splits her time between Washington and Greenport'. Doesn't she have a residence in her district?

Jan. 23 2009 10:09 AM
Paul from Brooklyn

I would give anything -- ANYTHING -- for media people to stop using the term "pushing back," which has quickly become the most annoying buzz term of the season.

Jan. 23 2009 10:09 AM
Norman from NYC

Here's Wikipedia:

Gillibrand is a member of the Blue Dog Coalition.[3] She opposes gun control.[4] She supports extending the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for middle class families; stem cell research; and the Children's Health and Medicare Protection Act.[5] Gillibrand opposes attempts to partially privatize Social Security.[6] She strongly supported passage of the 2008 Farm Bill.[7] Gillibrand broke with former Governor Eliot Spitzer on the issue of illegal immigration, opposing his plan to issue New York State drivers licenses to illegal immigrants.[8] She supports same-sex marriage.[9]

Jan. 23 2009 10:03 AM
jor from East Village

Yay!!!! About time upstate gets represented in the U.S. Senate. NYC does not represent the whole NY state; nor does NY, nor the world, revolves around NYC.

Jan. 23 2009 10:01 AM
Dean Bell from park slope

Here's the email I just sent off to the Gov and all my friends:

Dear Governor Paterson,

I cannot express enough my disappointment in your choice to replace Hilary Clinton in the Senate. How dare you select someone who is in direct opposition to Ms. Clinton's political philosophy? The People of the State of New York made their voices clear on the issues when they elected Ms. Clinton (and fellow liberal Charles Schumer.) You have taken away the very voice of the people of New York. You may be trying to appeal to the Upstate voter (who voted for Ms. Clinton as well, I remind you) but you have lost the Downstate vote and don't think because you are from Harlem that the City is going to automatically line up behind you.


Jan. 23 2009 09:01 AM

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