Approximately 200 residents and public officials packed the VFW on Excelsior Avenue Jan. 29, to hear newly elected Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand, D-Hudson, outline her first 100 hours in Congress, as well as what is upcoming for the region.
It's been an incredible first month in Washington, said Gillibrand, who defeated four-term Republican incumbent John Sweeney at the polls in November.
For the past month, Gillibrand said she has been focused on ethics reform, increasing security at airports, increasing minimum wage and working to improve education by cutting interest on student loans in half.
"I will be your voice. I will advocate for your issues," Gillibrand told the assemblage in her first public visit to Saratoga Springs since election night. The meeting is designed to be the first in a series of monthly, town-hall style dialogues.
In her first month in Congress, Gillibrand was named to both the House Agricultural and the Armed Services committees. She said the war in Iraq and a comprehensive homeland security package are her top issues for the 20th District
"We need to be independent from Middle East oil in the next 10 years to be secure as a nation," she said, citing America's consumption of $800 million of foreign oil a day from the Middle East and other oil producing countries.
"There is grave concern that the president's strategy of adding 20,000 troops is not in the best strategy," Gillibrand said.
"There was no new direction at all, and my concern is the president is not focused on the right solutions. Many of us believe the solutions reside in the political and economic arena. We need a new direction in Iraq to be effective and Congressman (John) Murtha (D-Pa.) is working on something for us to vote on," said Gillibrand, noting that the difficulty in putting such a plan together is not hurting the troops in the process.