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Two Congressmen Reach Across The Aisle In The Hudson Valley

WAMC/Allison Dunne

Two New York Congressmen from the Hudson Valley engaged in a discussion of regional issues, just the two of them, earlier today in Poughkeepsie. It was the first such joint event for them outside Washington, D.C. 

Republican Congressman Chris Gibson and Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney have discussed regional and other issues many times together… in the House of Representatives. Yet Monday’s “Across the Aisle” event at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel, in Maloney’s district but near the portion of Dutchess represented by Gibson, was the first time they sat side by side in the Hudson Valley, and demonstrated their reaching across the aisle on a number of issues. Here’s Maloney:

Gibson, whose 19th congressional district stretches across eleven counties, says solutions, whether imperfect or subject to criticism, are the goals.

Newburgh-based non-profit policy and planning organization Pattern for Progress hosted the event. Pattern President and CEO Jonathan Drapkin introduced the speakers.

Quite the contrary. There were no accusations, no criticisms of the other, just a focus on agreed-upon initiatives and plans for the Hudson Valley.

They spoke about agriculture, and the Farm Bill now before the House for which both have expressed differing views from many in their respective parties when it comes to the food-stamp portion of the bill. The Hudson Valley economy came up in the form of the IBM cuts announced last week across the country, including some 700 combined in Poughkeepsie and East Fishkill, with more in Westchester. Here’s Gibson.

Later in his remarks about making New York more business friendly, he reiterated that one should not count on multinationals for job creation, that the focus should be elsewhere.

And Maloney, whose 18th district includes all of Orange and Putnam Counties as well as parts of Dutchess and Westchester, said his office was working to help those laid off by IBM. He also talked about economic development.

An audience member asked Gibson what he considers good leadership qualities and, of these, which is the most important. Replied Gibson:

Gibson is co-chair of “No Labels,” a bipartisan group of 80 congressional members, evenly split among Republicans and Democrats. Maloney is also a member.

Could there be another meeting like this in the Hudson Valley? Both Congressmen agreed on that, too: yes.

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