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Brian Keeler

Brian Keeler

Posted January 23, 2009 | 03:19 PM (EST)

I Ran for Office with Kirsten Gillibrand


First of all, I want to point out a presently recommended diary by Casey Morris on Daily Kos, and say that I agree with much of what she has said about our future junior Senator from New York.

But let me come at this from a bit of a different perspective.

In 2006, I ran for the NYS Senate in the 41st District and that State Senate District overlapped 3 Congressional Districts: the 19th, where John Hall was running to unseat Sue Kelly, the 22nd District, where Maurice Hinchey was running for re-election, and the 20th CD where Kirsten was running for the first time against John Sweeney.

In that situation, almost every appearance you make as a candidate is a joint appearance with others on the ticket.

As a result, I spoke at meetings, county fairs, rallies, and dinners with all of these candidates...as well as, then candidate for re-election, Senator Clinton.

In the case of Kirsten's, I appeared with her the most, as our districts shared the largest amount of real estate, and, as a result, I got to know her quite well... not exclusively as a person, but as a candidate and potential office holder.

In those events, I'm here to report that she was the first one to arrive and the last to leave... answering every question and showing real interest in people's lives. I was very busy myself, but my admiration for her grew as I watched a confident, attentive, ambitious, candidate evolve into a quality Congresswoman who represented her District with passion and dedication.

I know many on this site are disappointed in this decision, but, when I heard about the opening, my first thought was of Congresswoman Gillibrand. In fact, when all is said and done, I can't think of any other appointment who:

- Has legislative experience
- Can raise the kind of money that will need to be raised over the next 4 years
- Has broad popularity upstate
- Has the support of the woman she is replacing

There will be plenty of time to debate upcoming votes and everyone will have a chance to contact the Senator and voice your opinion... and, I can guarantee that she will listen.

After she won in 2006, I attended the first of her many since town hall meetings in Rhinebeck where she began her listening tour of her district. I snapped the photo below and wrote a diary called "This is what Democracy Looks like" on The Albany Project.

Rhinebeckmeeting2

This is how she has connected with the people in her district, and this is how she will connect with all New Yorkers... progressive, moderate and conservative.

I applaud the Governor's choice, and in the best part that our democracy has to offer, those who don't, can organize and give New Yorkers a different choice in 2010... but I think as you get to know the Senator, you will come to admire and support her as I have.