Governor David Paterson picked Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand, D-Hudson, to replace outgoing Senator Hillary Clinton at a noontime conference today. The announcement brought to an end weeks of rollercoaster speculation on who would replace the new Secretary of State.
I didn't ask for this responsibility, but it is my privilege and honor to execute our state statute this afternoon, said Paterson. "I believe I have found the best candidate to become the United State Senator from New York."
Gillibrand acknowledged that she has not been in the forefront of discussion about Clinton's replacement.
"I realize that for many New Yorkers, this is the first time you've heard my name and you don't know much about me," said Gillibrand. "Over the next two years you will get to know me, and more importantly, I will get to know you."
Paterson said the documents to confirm Gillibrand have been signed are being sent to Washington, and that the Congresswoman will be a Senator by Sunday.
Gillibrand briefly outlined her plans for her time in the Senate, of which she will have at least two years until a special election in 2010. The federal government's stimulus package was on the top of the list.
"We are all painfully aware that New York has been hit by this recession," she said. "I intend to listen to all my constituents, and all my colleagues in government, to be a part of this solution."
She wants to make infrastructure improvements, most notably the construction of a high speed rail across the state.
"It is the best investment that we can make in the next decade," she said. "Those infrastructure investments can make a difference."
Gillibrand also called for middle class tax cuts, education tax credits, a greater share of Medicaid payment from the federal government and investment in energy solutions.