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Gillibrand reaches out in first week

Gillibrand was one of about 50 "Blue Dog" Democrats in the House " Dems who lean conservative on a number of key issues like gun control, fiscal policy and immigration reform. Her centrist stances on issues like these are often attributed as playing a significant role in securing her 2006 victory in the 20th, where Republicans outnumber Democrats by 70,000.

Now that she's responsible for representing the whole state, Gillibrand is finding her demographics reversed, along with her reception.

That's especially true when it comes to firearm legislation, with many saying Gillibrand's pro-hunter history goes against the will of the majority of the state. Members of her own party point to her NRA "A" rating with disgust.

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-Long Island, was quick to criticize her appointment, and has threatened a 2010 primary run.

Gillibrand has been careful on the issue and is painting herself as an advocate for hunters' rights, not as a second amendment fundamentalist.

"The comments she's made over the years on hunting rights don't concern us at all," said Peter Hamm, communications director at The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, of Gillibrand, on Tuesday, Feb. 3. "We don't have any issues with hunting and don't take positions on hunting issues."

Just after Paterson selected Gillibrand, Brady Campaign President Peter Helmke released this opinion: "We have been disappointed by Representative Kirsten Gillibrand's record on preventing gun violence during her one term in Congress."

A week later, after Gillibrand has pledged to meet with McCarthy and other gun control advocates, the tone is different.

"We definitely have some concerns about her prior record, but the reason that the statement was written the way that it is that we're hoping that she'll be more amenable to things," said Hamm. "We've decided not to argue with her until there's a position for us to argue about."

A date for a meeting with McCarthy is not yet set.

"There are some urban issues that are concerning to Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg and the New York delegation, and it will be an open discussion," said McEneny. "We're going to continue to travel the state and meet all the different constituents that she represents.""

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