Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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January 22nd, 2010

Senator Gillibrand Visits Sullivan County

United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand completed her tour visiting all 62 counties since being selected to fill Hillary Clinton’s seat with a visit to Bethel Woods last Friday.

Gillibrand speaking before an impressive crowd filled with Sullivan County’s prestigious movers and shakers quickly wooed the audience with her sincerity, warmth, and strong knowledge of the issues.

The crowd of over a hundred, assembled through the efforts of Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, included political leaders both Democratic and Republican and business and civic leaders representing the backbone of Sullivan County.

The crowd listened intently as Gillibrand addressed many issues dear to our lives. She spoke about health care reform and our economy. But, it was her interaction on and off stage with the audience that touched those in attendance.

It was refreshing to hear Gillibrand tell legislature chairman Jonathan Rouis her office will assist in filing applications to obtain federal stimulus grants for Sullivan County. Her unyielding support for the dairy farmer was also noteworthy.

The Senator spoke with passion on how casino gaming can assist us in our desperate need for economic development. She compared Sullivan County with Rome, New York, where the Turning Stone Casino has proven to be the catalyst in surging the economy there.

Josh Sommers, Chairman of the Sullivan County Partnership and head of Focus Media, thanked Gillibrand for her letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar rebutting Senators Harry Reid, Diane Feinstein, and Barbara Boxer’s anti land into trust stance.

Gillibrand said she had no new news to report on the gaming front, but said she would be requesting an update shortly from the Department of Interior.

Although I did not have the opportunity to ask her my question during the open forum, Gillibrand inquired what my question was when she stepped down from the podium. It too involved gaming.

I suggested that although we know there is opposition coming from several powerful senators, if she would reach out to them and propose they make an exception for Sullivan County because of our economic plight. She looked me in the eye and said “that was a good idea” and she would do just that.

Democratic Committeewoman Eileen Slater expressed concern there was no cost of living increases this year for those who receive social security.

Andrew Boyar, Supervisor of Highland, and Bruce Ferguson of concerned citizens against gas drilling, expressed their concerns relating to gas drilling. Gillibrand told the crowd she does not believe it should move forward unless it can be done safely. She cited the example of the PCBs in the Hudson which created incredible issues for communities upstate.

Boyar told me, “I was so pleased to hear Senator Gillibrand speak out so clearly and unequivocally on the need to protect the very lifeblood of our Country, clean water. Our Senator went on to say that she would support and even sponsor legislation to reapply the vital protections of federal law to the energy industry. Haven’t we just learned what a recipe for disaster the combination of greed and deregulation is in the banking business? Both the Banking and the Energy Industries need serious adult supervision. Senator Gillibrand seems to understand this, thank Heaven!”

“I was delighted to welcome Senator Gillibrand to Sullivan County,” Gunther told me. “I was happy she was able to speak directly with constituents and heard first-hand about the issues. I look forward to a return visit when she can tour the county and meet with more people.”

Democratic County Chairman Steve Wilkinson added, “I think she proved to those in attendance that she has a firm grasp of the issues and knows Sullivan County.

Legislator Leni Binder one of the Republicans in the crowd that included State Senator John Bonacic saw things differently, she told me, “I was pleased to hear her advocating the Casino issue. I think she needed to assure us of her working with Albany to achieve results, as we already know our issues. That she did not do.”

Gillibrand clearly understands the needs of the Hudson Valley region, and as she faces election to the Senate, the opportunity is in the courtyard of our local officials to get her to deliver for Sullivan County.

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