Editor’s Note: Chris Gibson, former congressman for New York’s 19th District, which includes Otsego County, Friday, Feb. 14, was named president of Siena College. Here is an excerpt from his remarks to the college community.
By CHRIS GIBSON • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
I want to close my remarks by focusing on the students. You are why we are here. And we believe in you.
You know you turn on the news today and we’re all bombarded. We get the negativity, the divide, the vitriol, we don’t treat each other right in this country right now and we all wonder, “How are we going to get through this mean season?”
The answer’s in this room. We need more Saints. We need more Siena Saints. Because it is here, at Siena, imbued with the Franciscan Tradition, where our view of Liberal Arts is about “whole person” development.
Liberal Arts about intellectual development? Absolutely. But also physical development, moral/ethical development, religious development, and spiritual development.
I have seen the human condition in some of the most trying of circumstances, especially in combat. What I’ve noticed: It’s at those moments that “servant leaders” step forward. They find a way. They’re able to find the language and the actions to unite all people.
This is what we’re so proud of here at Siena College. This is what we do and this is why I believe and this is why this calling speaks to me.
I have had three professional lives to date.
First as a soldier coming out of Siena College, and that was very important to me. I believe in this exceptional way of life and was willing to put it all on the line for that.
And then I served in the U.S. House of Representatives, and that was also a great privilege. But of all the callings I’ve had this one is the strongest.
Because I believe at this time in our country, in our country’s history, we need Siena graduates now more than ever. And so, with a reverence for the past but with an eye on the future, we go forward today: Proud, very proud of our past, but also knowing that, here at Siena, our best days are still in front of us.
God bless you. Thank you very much. And: Go Saints!
Otsego County’s former congressman, Chris Gibson ’86 Ph.D., will be Siena College’s new president, effective July 1, the Capital District college announced yesterday. He will be formally inaugurated in the fall.
Dr. Gibson’s appointment – he is the first permanent lay leader at the Catholic institution – was approved unanimously by the College’s Board of Trustees in a special session.
“Siena played an instrumental role in shaping my values and ideals, and I am forever indebted to the faculty and staff, including the many friars who have been so influential in my life, said Gibson, who graduated from Siena in 1986 with a B.A. in history. “The connection I developed to the Franciscan tradition as an undergraduate inspired my personal calling to servant leadership. The Franciscan tradition sets Siena apart, and it will inform every decision as I work with the Siena community to advance the legacy of my predecessors and promote the mission of Siena College.”
Former Otsego County Congressman Chris Gibson has agreed to serve as the chairman of Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro’s campaign for governor.
“Chris Gibson embodies the high standards for integrity, commitment and service by which we will run this campaign and which we will ultimately restore to the State Capitol in Albany. I am honored that he has agreed to serve as Campaign Chairman,” said Molinaro.
Chris Gibson, who retired from his 19th District seat in 2015, had been mentioned as a leading Republican to run against Governor Cuomo, but declined all entreaties.
During remarks to the gathering, an attendee praised Gibson for promising to retire after three terms, and then doing so. As a military man (a retired colonel), he replied, “What we say is what we mean. When you are in combat, you have to keep your word.”
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CONCERT – 7-9 p.m. Tusk, one of the nations top tribute bands, perform Fleetwood Mac’s greatest hits. Cost, $20. Followed by the 70s Dance Party 9 p.m.-Midnight. The Foothills Performing Arts Center, Oneonta. Call 607-316-2870 or visit foothillspac.org
BENEFIT AUCTION – 5:30 p.m. Great items up for sale to benefit the Greater Oneonta Historical Society. Bring items to sell, or bid on interesting items for auction. Holiday Inn, 5206 NY-23, Oneonta. www.oneontahistory.org or call (607)432-0960.
ONEONTA – Former congressman Chris Gibson, R-19, will be autographing his new book, “Rally Point: Five Tasks to Unite the Country and Revitalize the American Dream,” 5-7 p.m. this Friday, Nov. 17, at Blacktree Books, Southside Mall.
Gibson, who lives in Kinderhook, represented Otsego County for two terms, also draws on his experience as an Army colonel.
Democratic county chairs from across the 19th District met in Ulster County Saturday and emerged with a consensus that Zephyr Teachout should run to succeed U.S. Rep. Chris Gilbson, the Republican who is retiring at the end of the year.
Teachout, who won the Otsego County nomination for governor against incumbent Andrew Cuomo in the 2014 Democratic primary, was in Cooperstown Wednesday, where she obtained the support of with County Chairman Richard Abbate and the party’s executive committee.
Abbate attended the gathering of the county chairs on Saturday.
Teachout, a Fordham University law professor and author of “Corruption in America: From Benjamin Franklin’s Snuff Box to Citizens United,” bought a house in Dover Plains, Putnam County, last year, qualifying her to run in the district.
Gibson’s Possibilities Explored
For Governor, And vs. Gillibrand
Under the headline, “Can This Republican Conquer NY For The GOP,” the National Journal has posted an article examining not only whether Otsego County’s Congressman Chris Gibson can run for governor, but whether he and run against and beat U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY.
The Journal points to his “moderate, bipartisan” record, and also on the 65-35 trouncing he gave well-watered Facebook spouse Sean Eldridge last November, when Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino captured only 40 percent of the statewide vote.
By JIM KEVLIN • The Freeman’s Journal/HOMETOWN ONEONTA
Editions of Thursday-Friday, Dec. 25-26, 2014
Today, Albany. Tomorrow, Kalangadoo, Australia.
While local fracking foes were elated by Governor Cuomo’s Wednesday, Dec. 16, announcement that he plans to ban the controversial practice in New York State, they were already looking beyond.
The widest-reaching is Lou Allstadt, the retired Mobil executive vice president, whose short-term plans include appearing on a Jan. 12 panel at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club. Fellow panelists will be Angus Gillespie, a Shell vice president from The Hague, and Mary Nichols, California Air Resources Board chair.
“I hope we don’t spend the whole time on (fracking),” said Allstadt, who for the past year also has been active in the Citizens Climate Lobby, which is asking Congress to enact a fee at the mine head and the drilling pad to encourage customers to move away from fossil fuels. “The whole big picture is renewables, and how do you transition to that.”
As fracking foes gathered at Cafe Ommegang within hours of the governor’s announcement to celebrate their victory, discussion – and subsequent interviews – turned to a number of outstanding issues:
• A ban on the spreading of sometimes radioactive brine from fracking operations in northeast Pennsylvania on Upstate roads to reduce dust. Dumping of other kinds of fracking waste in Upstate landfills is also a concern.
• Halting the “fracking infrastructure,” as Otsego 2000 President Nicole Dillingham put it, including the Constitution Pipeline through Delaware County and a new compressor station on the existing Dominion Pipeline at Minden, Montgomery County, 10 miles north of Cherry Valley.
• Quality-of-life initiatives to position Otsego County for an era where fossil fuels play less of a role. Dillingham mentioned promoting organic farming, the breweries and farmers’ markets. Bob Eklund, New Lisbon, said the Butternut Valley Alliance hopes to encourage solar energy, and promote its towns as artists’ communities.
In June, Allstadt was on Capitol Hill with 600 individuals affiliated with the Citizens Climate Lobby who in a few days were able to discuss the fee idea with 507 of the 535 senators and congressmen.
The fee would raise the price of fossil fuels, discouraging their use, and the revenues generated would be distributed to Americans to use as they wish, he said. At-border fees would prevent foreign companies from unfairly competing with U.S. concerns.
“Just doing away with fracking doesn’t help you unless you reduce total fossil-fuel use,” said Allstadt, who has received queries, in addition to Kalangadoo, from anti-frackers in Canada, the U.K., Ireland, Poland and Bulgaria, and provided them primarily with scientific studies that support the cause.
Allstadt declined to predict when legislation will be introduced, saying the Citizens don’t wish to see that happen until a clear bipartisan majority of support is achieved. “This is not a liberal or conservative issue,” he said. “We all have to deal with climate change.”
While it is supporting fight against the “fracking infrastructure,” already filing testimony in Schoharie-based Stop the Pipeline’s legal challenge, Otsego 2000 is also moving on, said Dillingham. It organized its second Glimmerglass Film Days in November, and is proceeding with its historic preservation awards and programs to help farmers.
The fracking ban, though, “removed a cloud that has been hanging over our region,” allowing people buy homes, move their families here and start businesses without worry, she said.
Since the fracking decision, U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, has visited the county, and told a Sustainable Otsego delegation meeting in Cooperstown that he will introduce a resolution recognizing climate change and the need to combat it, according to SO Moderator Adrian Kuzminski.
In some ways, it will be harder to combat multiple manifestations of “fracking infrastructure” than promoting the single focus of the ban, said Kuzminski, whose listserve was able to turn out hundreds of anti-frackers on short notice.
Still, “it reaffirms some kind of belief that the system is not totally broken, politically, that big money will carry the day,” said Kuzminski, a philosopher who has written such books as “Fixing the System,” a history of population. “Coming up against the largest industry on the planet, it turned out they couldn’t turn the trick because of grass-roots resistance.”