The race for the new 19th Congressional District pits incumbent Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, against Democrat Julian Schreibman of Kingston. The candidates say they are focused on familiar issues, including tax reform and job creation, and both expressed the need to help the farmers in the district.
The new district will serve the western half of Montgomery County, most of Rensselaer County, and all of Columbia, Delaware, Dutchess, Greene, Ostego, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster counties.
Both Gibson and Schreibman are calling for fewer regulations on farmers, so upstate agriculture can flourish.
Gibson said his position on the House Agriculture Committee will help him serve many people in pastoral Montgomery County.
"I have met with the farmers up in Montgomery County," he said. "I understand what their needs are. I've been to every town in Montgomery County ... They were very concerned with the proposed new rule that would have limited their children's ability to work on farms. I worked very extensively on this, and we made sure this didn't happen."
The legislative change was withdrawn, and Gibson said the residents of the county had a lot to do with that.
Schreibman said he is running to ensure Congress will address the 19th District's economic needs, including the concerns of small-business owners and farmers.
He said he favors payroll tax breaks and fewer regulations for small businesses as well as a bigger push for job creation.
"One size fits all in Washington - that doesn't fit the little guy," Schreibman said. " ... What we need right now, the biggest thing to get the economy moving to fix the deficit, is to get more people back to work ... In the short term, that should be the driver of getting people into jobs, getting them paying into the system. The more payroll taxes are being paid, the stronger in the long-term local economies [are going to be]."
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Schreibman says he is opposed to the outsourcing of American jobs and has promised to bring more jobs back to the United States.
An attorney with degrees from Yale University, Schreibman has worked at the CIA and as a federal prosecutor, according to his campaign website.
"At the CIA, I helped bring terrorists to justice, and I'm proud to have received the Attorney General's Distinguished Service Award," he says in a statement on the website. " ... Then, as a federal prosecutor, I worked hard to dismantle narcotics trafficking rings and to punish white collar crooks ... "
Gibson, a retired Army colonel, said tax reform, regulatory relief, and driving down health care and energy costs will help small businesses and will put working families in a position to have more disposable income, which will help the economy.
He said one of his strengths is his commitment to bipartisan cooperation.
"I have an ability to listen, to be empathetic and to bring people together to get things done," he said.
Gibson, who is known for his mostly moderate voting record, supports women's reproductive rights but says taxpayer dollars shouldn't be used to pay for abortions.
According to Federal Election Commission records, Gibson has spent $1.5 million of almost $2 million in campaign contributions, and Schreibman has spent $1 million of the $1.2 million his campaign has received from donors.
The base salary for members of the House of Representatives is $174,000 per year.