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Congressman Chris Gibson Begins Final Term In Office

Dave Lucas

New York’s 19th District U.S. Representative Chris Gibson will not seek a fourth term in 2016 - the Congressman may be considering a future bid for statewide office.

Congressman Chris Gibson released an official statement Tuesday morning. He has decided to retire, raising hopes for Democrats seeking to re-capture the coveted 19th congressional district which covers  Sullivan, Ulster, Delaware, Otsego, Schoharie, Greene and Columbia counties and parts of Montgomery, Rensselaer and Dutchess counties. Some are suggesting Gibson has an eye on a statewide office...

Gibson has long been a vocal advocate for Congressional term limits. The Kinderhook Republican coasted to re-election in November, handily defeating venture capitalist Sean Eldridge in what observers thought would be a close race.  When Eldridge conceded, Gibson affirmed his own decision to cap his time in Congress to eight years.   “I’ve said the most I’d serve was eight, and I’m a man of my word," Gibson said. "I believe in this, I think it’s important that we have a healthy rotation in office.”

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro  says he has "nothing but the greatest admiration" for Gibson, now serving his third term in office as a congressman—and his second representing the newly-redrawn 19th district.    "I've been working with him over these last few years and continue serving our mutual constituents together. I wish him nothing but the greatest success during his term and whatever he chooses to do next. And whatever it is he chooses to do next, Chris Gibson will do it well."

Political observers suggest Gibson's decision not to run opens the door for Molinaro to consider a run for the seat: the County exec says he's dedicated to local issues... for now...     "I'm in the final year of my first term as County Executive and in New York State, county governments are facing great challenges. I'm focused over these next few months on helping to improve our economic condition, working with the private sector to grow private sector jobs in Dutchess County, and really continuing to make county government smaller, smarter and more effective.  All with the goal of pressuring and continuing to work with Albany, to drive down unnecessary costs, to reign in spending, and to shrink the size, scale and scope of government. That's my focus and I'm sure I'll be making some announcement as to my political future in the near future."   Molinaro adds that until he announces, his goal and focus remains serving the people of Dutchess County

Political observers are also anticipating that the state Republican party will move to recruit Gibson to run for Governor in 2018.

Former Ulster County Democratic Vice-Chair Michelle Tuckman was in Kinderhook this past November for Gibson's election day speech. Her comment at the time supports the notion that the Congressman has a broader, brighter political future:    “I think anybody that actually listened to Chris Gibson, or met Chris Gibson or has looked at any of his votes or any of his values, if they are willing to put away labels, I think they would be very impressed with the man as an individual and what he can do to unite people.”

To that end, Gibson has been wont to break party lines in the interests of the people, which some interpret as a sign he's ready to ascend the political ladder. 

Credit Chris Gibson
Katie, Maggie, Mary Jo, Chris and Connor Gibson.

Gibson released a statement outlining his priorities for the 114th Congress and his future plans:

"With humility and excitement, I take the oath of office today to serve as the Representative for the 19th District of NY in the United States House for the 114th Congress.

"I deeply appreciate the overwhelming support I received in the November election.  There was a strong mandate from across the ideological spectrum and partisan divide, something that is rare in the current political environment.

"Going forward our legislative agenda seeks reform across American life, with a focus on jobs and raising the standard of living for all.  Specifically, in the 114th Congress, we will be advocating for policies that include:

  • Pro-growth tax reform that lowers rates for small business owners and hard working families, and business tax reform that facilitates investment in infrastructure;
  • Legislative action that would secure our borders and fix our broken immigration system;
  • Responsible regulatory reform;
  • Education policy that empowers local school districts, teachers, administrators, parents, and students by rolling back Common Core and makes necessary investments;
  • Common sense provisions, grounded in science, that balance the priorities of lowering our energy costs while protecting our environment;
  • Protection of our cherished way of life from threats from abroad while standing strong on our Bill of Rights here at home;
  • Legislation that honors the service of our nation's military and their families, while serving and afterwards; and,
  • A strong local focus that includes federal policies that will help find cures and solutions for chronic Lyme sufferers, expanded access and deployment of rural broadband, support for farmers, and assistance to localities with storm relief and mitigation along with individual casework assistance for constituents.

"Clearly, there is much to be done, and I have great optimism about the future.  I have been blessed with the opportunity to serve - and lead - in these areas.
"As I stated shortly after retiring from the US Army and first pursuing a seat in Congress in 2010, I planned to self-impose term limits. Accordingly, after much reflection and consultation with my family, this will be my third and final time taking the oath of office as a Representative in the US House. I thank the voters of Upstate NY for this privilege to serve and pledge to continue to work tirelessly on their behalf in this final term. 

“Moving forward, I will be committed to building a stronger team so that the GOP can compete and win statewide in 2018, including the possibility of being a candidate in that cycle."

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