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The Junior Senator from NY is listening

Kirsten Gillibrand was sworn in on Capitol Hill as New York’s junior senator on Tuesday, January 27, only four days after her appointment by Governor David Paterson to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. But before it became official, Gillibrand kicked off her state-wide listening tour in Harlem and southeast Queens, visiting the JFK Corporate Square Marketing Center, at 93-43 Sutphin Boulevard in Jamaica.
Parts of the meeting on Saturday, January 24, attended by Councilmember James Gennaro, Congressmember Gregory Meeks, Senator Toby Stavisky and Senate Democratic Leader Malcolm Smith, among others, were behind closed doors.
“It was an informative meeting,” said Meeks. “We talked in substance, dealing with the stimulus package, foreclosures, small businesses, hospitals.”
“When you meet with elected officials,” said Gillibrand, “they tell you exactly what is going on. It’s an extension of what I’ve done that I know works.”
Gillibrand, 42, an upstate Congressmember, served as Special Counsel to the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Andrew Cuomo, during Clinton’s administration.
She was sworn into Congress in 2007, and, according to her biography, “She has been an advocate for decreased federal spending, and introduced legislation that would require the federal government to balance their budget every year. She has authored legislation that would double the tax credit for child care expenses and make up to $10,000 in college tuition tax deductible.”
In meeting the community and the press, Gillibrand addressed the fact that she has come under fire by gun control and immigration reform activists.
“We should right-size immigration,” she said, proposing that immigrants spend 10 years in the United States before applying for citizenship, calling it “good for workers and the economy.”
Having grown up in a hunting family, she said, she also wants to protect hunters’ rights, although she is a proponent of gun control education and after-school programs “to keep guns out of the hands of children.”
Gillibrand received a Bachelors Degree in Asian Studies from Dartmouth and a Juris Doctorate from UCLA. She is married to Jonathan Gillibrand and they have two children, four-year-old Theo and infant Henry.
“I want to hear directly from the people I now represent. I will understand your issues and I will fight for them,” she vowed. “Nothing will keep me from being a strong advocate.”

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