To the Editor,

With most New Yorkers’ attention focused on the presidential election, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s debate-ducking is flying under the radar. To date, Gillibrand’s opponent Wendy Long has accepted five separate debate requests while Kirsten Gillibrand has agreed to only one, which will only air in upstate New York and New York City, ignoring the people of Long Island and the Hudson Valley. Out of one side of her mouth, Kirsten Gillibrand calls herself “a trailblazer for more openness and transparency,” while out of the other, she says “no” to the chance to make her case for reelection directly to New Yorkers.

Perhaps Kirsten is hesitant to defend her abysmal record as a legislator: 117 of the 131 bills she has introduced have died in committee, and none of the 14 bills that passed had to do with jobs for New Yorkers. Perhaps Kirsten is hesitant to defend her flip-flops on gun control, illegal immigration and gay marriage. Perhaps Kirsten is hesitant to defend her abiding loyalty to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, whose role in using public money to hush up victims of serial sexual abuse has prompted ethics and criminal investigations of his actions, as well as calls for his resignation.

If Kirsten Gillibrand is serious about representing the people of New York State, she owes it to them to have a series of debates with Wendy Long all across New York. New Yorkers deserve an open debate on the issues affecting them and their families: I urge New Yorkers to join me in calling upon Senator Gillibrand to debate Wendy Long.

Ed Cox

Chairman, New York Republican State Committee