“The main issue for families and communities in the state is the economy,” said Gillibrand. “People are afraid of losing their jobs.”
Gillibrand- who was appointed to the senate by Governor David Paterson on January 23, 2009, after Hillary Clinton left the seat to join the Obama Administration- has thrown her support behind a bill that would approve low-interest loans to community banks. She said it could free up capital for small businesses, and help lead to new jobs.
Since taking office Gillibrand has led an effort to repeal the military's “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which prohibits gays and lesbians from serving openly in the armed forces.
Recalling the story of First Lieutenant Dan Choi, who was discharged from the New York National Guard last year after openly discussing his homosexuality on television, Gillibrand said she was “overwhelmed with anger that this was our U.S. policy.”
She convinced the Senate Armed Services Committee to hold a hearing on the policy that began in February.
“Many countries have already repealed ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ with no adverse affect to unit cohesion,” said Gillibrand. “I think by the end of this year, we will have repealed it.”
Gillibrand also discussed her plans for seniors, including a new bill that would provide equal access for home-care to all seniors and increased wages and better training for home-health workers.
“They don’t get paid enough and they don’t get enough training,” she said.