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The race for Congressional District 19;healthcare and Medicare are issues

By Fritz Mayer
April 3, 2012

CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 19, NY — With the new congressional districts drawn and in place, the race for District 19, which includes Sullivan County, has begun in earnest. On the Republican side is Congressman Chris Gibson, who was swept into office in the Republican wave in 2010, which occurred, at least in part, in reaction to President Barack Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare.

On his website, Gibson notes that he voted to repeal Obamacare because it increased government spending by $1.2 trillion, and among other things, “placed an unconstitutional mandate on Americans, requiring them to purchase expensive health insurance.”

Gibson’s challenger, Democrat Julian Schreibman, does not specifically address Obamacare on his website, and the other challenger, Democrat Joel Tyner, says only that “59% of Americans support expanding Medicare to cover us all—to save $400 billion a year.”

Gibson won in the 20th district, and because of redistricting he now lives in the 19th, which is considered by some to be less conservative than the existing 19th. Therefore, Schreibman is attacking Gibson for supporting a budget last year that would have likely cut the budget for Medicare.

In a press release, Schreibman said Gibson voted “just a few months ago for a Republican budget that would end Medicare as we know it, and cost seniors $6,400 more out-of-pocket. But having been moved into a congressional district in which his 2011 position was wildly unpopular, Congressman Gibson is now trying to fool New Yorkers by voting against the nearly identical 2012 budget that he knew Republicans would pass anyway.”

Gibson

, on the other hand, says that he would vote against any cuts to Medicare, and he said he was one of only 10 Republicans out of 238 to vote against his own party’s proposed budget on March 29, a $200 billion spending increase over the next decade. His campaign said in a press release, “The former Army colonel has said repeatedly that the U.S. spends too much money on its military and that spending hasn’t necessarily made the nation safe.”

Tyner did not issue a press release on the matter of the Gibson vote, but information on his website suggests that the future of Medicare, as in much of the rest of the country, will play a role in this congressional race this year. His website claims, “78% of Americans support protecting Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid from any cuts.”


About the candidates

From Gibson’s website: “Over the course of his 24-year Army career Chris rose to the rank of Colonel and deployed seven times; including four combat tours to Iraq, and separate deployments to Kosovo, the Southwestern U.S. for a counter-drug operation, and most recently (just prior to his retirement) to Haiti where he commanded the 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team during the opening month of that humanitarian relief operation. In Congress, Chris served on the House Armed Services Committee, the House Agriculture Committee, and the House Policy Committee.”

From Schreibman’s website: “At the CIA, I helped bring terrorists to justice and I’m proud to have received the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award for assisting in the prosecution and conviction of four al Qaeda members for bombing U.S. embassies. Then, as a federal prosecutor, I worked hard to dismantle narcotics trafficking rings and to punish white collar crooks used to getting away with a slap on the wrist. In 2005, I moved home to Ulster County and served as Senior Assistant District Attorney, helping to protect our communities. I will bring the toughness and independence of a prosecutor to Washington.”

From Tyner’s website: “Joel is now finishing up his fourth term in the Dutchess County Legislature, running unopposed for a fifth term to represent the people of Rhinebeck and Clinton, previously considered a rock-ribbed conservative GOP district for decades. For the last 15 years, Joel has organized the Martin Luther King marches, Labor Day rallies, and the Holiday Interfaith Candlelight Vigils for Economic Justice in Dutchess County and, in October 2007, Joel was the first elected official honored to be a Local Luminary by the Chronogram.”