Chris Gibson says reducing "impediments to growth" in the economy is at the top of his list of goals in Congress.
"The number-one priority is to get the private-sector economy going," Gibson, a Kinderhook Republican who takes office today and will be sworn in Wednesday, said in an interview Friday.
Gibson, who represents New York's 20th Congressional District, is on the House Agricultural Committee and has also created an advisory panel of farmers in the district to educate him on agricultural issues. He said he "will be part of oversight hearings looking at issues of profitability for our farmers in 2011," with the aim being to reduce regulations that affect them.
Rep. Chris Gibson is interviewed at the Enterprise office in October.
(Enterprise file photo — Mike Lynch)
"We have to look at ways to ease the burden on farmers ... (and) eliminate duplicative and onerous regulations standing in the way of profitability for farmers," Gibson said.
Gibson also supports repealing the national health-care bill that passed last year. The House will have a Republican majority and will likely pass a repeal bill, but it is unlikely the Senate or President Barack Obama would support that. Gibson said the House could still work to repeal the bill by not approving its funding and by holding "oversight hearings to educate the American people (as to) why the replacement bill is better than the bill we're going to repeal."
The replacement bill will likely include some tort reform and insurance reform allowing people to buy insurance across state lines, Gibson said.
Gibson also said he plans to focus on energy issues in 2011. He said he supports an "all of the above" approach to energy, including expanding solar, natural gas and nuclear power. He also said he plans to create a nuclear power advisory committee to explore ways to bring nuclear power to his district.
Gibson said he wants to co-sponsor the REINS Act, which would require congressional approval any time a bureaucratic agency wants a new regulation with a $100 million or greater impact on the economy. He also said he would co-sponsor reciprocity legislation, which means legal gun owners would be able to carry their weapons across state lines. Rep. Bill Owens, D-Plattsburgh, whose North Country district borders Gibson's in Saranac Lake, also supports reciprocity.
Gibson said he hasn't met Owens yet but expects to this week. He said he expects to work with Owens, as well as Capitol Region Democrat Paul Tonko, on issues such as farming, energy and tourism that affect all their districts.
Gibson also said he is interested in working with state and local governments on tourism promotion, including putting together a competitive Olympic bid for Lake Placid.
Gibson said he will open a series of offices throughout the district. The North Country one will be in Glens Falls and headed by Mark Wescott, a Queensbury resident who will be his regional director for Essex, Washington and Warren counties.
Gibson said he visited all of the district's 137 towns during the campaign and plans to do the same in 2011. The district stretches from Saranac Lake and Lake Placid to the outskirts of Poughkeepsie and Cooperstown and includes the local towns of North Elba and Keene.
Gibson beat Democrat Scott Murphy in the November election.