Though the former New York City lawyer has not made Downstate issues part of her political life"and has drawn some fire from members of her party for it"on Friday she pledged to work for the whole state, not just her former district.
"I will look for ways to find common ground between Upstate and Downstate," she said, specifically mentioning working to reduce gun violence while persevering hunters' rights.
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-Brooklyn, who backed Gillibrand for the post, applauded the fact that Paterson chose an Upstate representative.
"The problems of Upstate are critical to our whole state," he said. "Having someone who is actually from Upstate is a huge plus."
"She has a reputation as a go-to person," he continued. "If you have an issue in her district, go to Kirsten Gillibrand and she'll get things done."
Other Downstate Democrats have decried Gillibrand's selection, however, pointing to her NRA "A" rating and gun rights advocacy. Long Island Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy " an outspoken gun control advocate " is reportedly already putting together a run against Gillibrand in 2010.
McEneny said that with time, Gillibrand will prove herself to those who aren't familiar with her politics or accomplishments.
"We will be reaching out to many of those people," she said. "I think that what many people in the 20th Congressional liked about their representative was her accessibility and her ability to look at the whole district."
Early on, many speculated that Caroline Kennedy would be sent to the Senate in the one-vote election. Though early polls showed that New Yorkers favored her, several unflattering interviews and an otherwise botched campaign rollout soured the public on her. She withdrew from consideration early on Thursday, citing an unnamed "personal reason."
Partly due to the magnitude of the media coverage surrounding Kennedy's bid, Gillibrand's name was rarely uttered in talks of who would replace Clinton, who was sworn in as Secretary of State on Wednesday. Paterson made a policy of rebuffing any talk of the choice, often admonishing those who engaged in speculation.