Saturday, June 09, 2007

Rep. Gillibrand Replies - Sort of

A couple weeks ago I was complaining about Rep. Gillibrand's vote on Iraq War funding. Of course I sent her an email about my concern of her voting in favor of funding the war. Here is her email reply.


It has been five exciting months since I have taken the oath of office and I wanted to take a moment to update you on my work in the House of Representatives.

Before I was sworn into Congress I organized my office to center around the principles of accountability, transparency and accessibility. I was proud to be the first Member of Congress to disclose my public schedule online. I also have committed to holding at least one, public Town Hall forum each month; additionally I regularly schedule Congress At Your Corner events, where I go to a popular area in the community- like a grocery store- in order to talk directly with local residents to listen to their priorities for Congress.

After last November, I immediately hit the ground running. Speaker Pelosi appointed me to the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, a platform that allows me to influence the policies of the Democratic Caucus. In the first 100 hours of the 110th Congress, I was honored to be a lead sponsors for H.R. 1, a bill to implement the 9/11 Commission recommendations.

My first full House committee appointment was to the prestigious House Armed Services Committee, where I have focused on improving the quality of life for our soldiers and their families, and finding a successful exit strategy for the war in Iraq . The war is one of the most pressing issues our country faces, and I have helped mold legislation in committee that will place additional pressure on the Iraqi government, while also funding essential investments in training, equipment and benefits for our troops.

Furthermore, I was fortunate to be selected to the House Committee on Agriculture- one of only three Northeast Members on the committee. We are currently writing the five-year Farm Bill, and I have dedicated myself to helping New York 's dairy farmers. The first bill that I introduced was H.R. 1583, the American Dairy Farmer Protection Act, which expands the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program for small dairy farmers. I am also focused on creating and expanding our nation's conservation and renewable energy programs, a policy that will reinvigorate Upstate New York's economy and standard of living.

In April, I introduced and passed an amendment to H.R. 363, the Sowing the Seeds Through Science And Engineering Research Act. The amendment creates a scholarship program for undergraduate students in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. I am focused on fostering my district's emerging high tech industry, and keeping Upstate New York's best and brightest students in the region.

Most recently, I have been working on lowering taxes for New York families. New York has the second highest tax burden in the country, therefore, bringing tax relief to Upstate New York families is one of my highest priorities in Congress. My second bill, the Family Care Act [H.R. 1871], doubles the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (DCTC) for families that earn up to $100,000. In addition, I am concerned about the effect unfunded federal mandates have on our property taxes, such as the inadequately funded No Child Left Behind Act. I believe we must sufficiently invest in our national priorities, like health care, education, homeland security and our veterans.

I want to thank you for all your support and warm wishes. I would not be in this position without your encouragement and your dedication to changing the direction of our country. Please do not hesitate to contact me at


Kirsten Gillibrand
Member of Congress

First, I'm happy I got a reply. No politician typically replies to an email message. I'm not happy that the email didn't address my concern about Iraq War funding. On the other hand, had I written a letter, I'm pretty sure I would have obtained the same type of reply. "Look at what I've done since I've been elected". Well, that's very nice, keep it up. But what about my question concerning your vote in favor of continued funding for the Iraq War? Receiving this type of form email has done nothing to increase my future confidence in Rep. Gillibrand.

Here's a piece of advice. Just state your reason why you felt you had to vote for continued funding of the war. I may not agree with your reason, but I will appreciate that you are being honest and upfront.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Post-Marathon Relay Party in Underhill, VT

"Open For Suggestion" A talented group of VT high school sophmores that provided some great entertainment.

Be sure and watch the herd of belted galloway cattle run up to hear the music! (at 2:27)

Twist and Shout (with Heron). And, yes I did the rope swing.

Be sure and watch the horse "rockin" at 1:50. This farm has the coolest animals!

Sunday, June 03, 2007