Clinton’s replacement supporter of sportsmen

Albany (AP) – Instantly opening a rift among New York Democrats,
Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand – a little-known, pro-gun Democrat from a
rural Republican district – won appointment last month to the
Senate seat left vacant by Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Gov. David Paterson announced his choice a day after presumed
front-runner Caroline Kennedy – a woman with considerably more star
power but less experience – mysteriously dropped out of contention
in an embarrassing turn of events that touched off sniping between
the governor and the Kennedy camp.

Gillibrand, at 42, will be the youngest member of the Senate and
one of 17 women in the chamber. The second-term congresswoman
assumes the seat once held by Kennedy’s uncle Robert F.
Kennedy.

“For many in New York state, 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.”

Before the governor even took the podium to introduce
Gillibrand, anti-gun crusader Rep. Carolyn McCarthy said she would
challenge Gillibrand in the Democratic primary next year, or find
someone who would. Gillibrand has a 100 percent voting record with
the National Rifle Association.

McCarthy, a Long Island Democrat who ran for Congress after her
husband was shot to death and her son wounded in 1993, said someone
with such a record should not be the next senator from New
York.

“The majority of New Yorkers believe in trying to reduce gun
violence,” she said.

Her complaint was echoed by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a
Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent who has been one of
the nation’s most vocal gun control advocates. In a statement, the
mayor noted his “strong disagreement with one area of her record as
a member of Congress: illegal guns.”

Bloomberg and McCarthy said Gillibrand co-sponsored legislation
to deny information cities and police need to track illegal gun
use. The legislation passed in the House but was never considered
by the Senate.

At the news conference, Gillibrand commended McCarthy for her
“outstanding leadership in fighting against gun violence and
keeping our children safe,” and added: “I pledge to work with her
on her signature bill for updating background checks to keep guns
out of the hands of criminals.” Gillibrand said she would support
gun control “but also protect our hunters’ rights.”

In picking Gillibrand, the governor passed over a number of
better-known and more accomplished politicians, including New York
City Rep. Carolyn Maloney and New York Attorney General Andrew
Cuomo.

Gillibrand, a married mother of two sons, modeled her own
political career after Clinton’s.

Gillibrand beat Republican Rep. John Sweeney in 2006 in a nasty
campaign and won again last fall against a former state Republican
chairman in the GOP district.

Gillibrand’s departure from Congress will almost assuredly set
off a chain reaction of political races in the state Assembly and
Senate, as well as for her vacant seat on Congress.

Already, N.Y. Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco and state
Sen. Elizabeth Little have indicated they would seek Gillibrand’s
congressional seat. Both have long track records of supporting
sportsmen, but Tedisco has already received the endorsement of the
New York State Rifle and Pistol Association as Gillibrand’s
replacement.

“The choice for her replacement is clear: Assembly Republican
Leader Jim Tedisco is the only candidate with a proven record of
protecting Second Amendment Constitutional freedoms. Jim Tedisco
has been a true friend to hunters and gun owners, as he understands
the crucial importance of safeguarding the right to bear arms. His
voting record and vocal, public support for the Second Amendment
have been clear, consistent and genuinely appreciated by gun owners
and our association,”_NYSRPA_President Tom King said.

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