By Diego Graglia, FI2W web editor
In the face of heated criticism from Hispanic advocates on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s voting record on immigration, New York Gov. David Patterson sat down Monday with the editorial board of the city’s biggest Spanish-language newspaper, El Diario/La Prensa, to defend his decision to appoint her to the Senate seat vacated by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“I knew that her voting record on immigration was poor,” Patterson said, when asked whether he knew that Gillibrand held hard-line views on the issue. “I knew that. I didn’t know the specifics of her voting record. I knew some of her Customs and Border Patrol remarks, but I didn’t know substantially her entire record on voting.”
- You can watch a video at the El Diario/La Prensa website, clicking on:
Since being appointed to the Senate, Gillibrand, a former U.S. Representative from upstate New York, has met with Hispanic and pro-immigrant leaders to improve her reputation among this crucial constituency in the state. She even promised to support a moratorium on raids until Congress approves comprehensive reforms and to try to ensure an eventual temporary worker program includes a path to citizenship.
Her mellowing on immigration and other issues quickly earned her the scorn of state conservatives. Republican Congressman Pete King called her “a flip-flopper” this week, saying she is “doing contortions” on immigration, gun rights and gay marriage. King is evaluating running against Gillibrand next year, if he can raise the money to do so.