Last Thursday, Marist College hosted a public forum for New York State Senate candidates Terry Gipson and Sue Serino to share information and answer questions about their campaigns for what Gipson, a Democrat, referred to as, “the most highly contested seat in New York.” The seat is currently held by Republican Sue Serino, the incumbent running for reelection, who declined to attend the event. According to Gipson, the contested seat in the 41st Senate district has the potential to flip New York into Democratic control, after a 60-year Republican majority.
The forum consisted of Gipson speaking to a small group of students about his proposed policy changes as well as past experience in the position he is currently running for. Gipson formerly held the same position as state legislator from 2012 until losing to Sue Serino in 2014 and is now campaigning again for his former seat.
Students had the opportunity to question Gipson about his plans if he wins on Election Day and why the college vote is so important to him. Aside from acknowledging that the demographic of his district consists largely of college students, Gipson said, “I believe this generation will lead the country out of this scary place that we’re in right now.” As a former professor at Marist and current professor at SUNY New Paltz, Gipson is familiar with the issues that college students are passionate about.
Gipson said that some of his priorities if he is elected are funding the public school system, getting big corporate money out of the political system, and advocating for reproductive rights.
Gipson self-identifies as a pro-choice candidate and has said that he would like to create state laws to protect the right to choose in the event that federal law changes or repeals Roe v. Wade. He said that if the federal government falls under a conservative majority, women in New York would have very little recourse under current New York state law regarding reproductive rights.
When asked about what he considers his proudest accomplishment as a politician, Gipson cited four pieces of legislation he proposed that offered four different plans for funding education. Gipson calls the current education system discriminatory, as it allows students from wealthier communities access to better education quality and prioritizes changing the way education is funded to give students a more equal opportunity for education.
Another priority for Gipson is getting big corporate money out of elections. He has said that he would like to lower campaign contribution limits in order to keep any one individual or company from having such a large sway in an election. New York law currently has a loophole that allows a company to contribute to a campaign the allowed limit, but the company can contribute the same amount as an LLC, allowing a single company to essentially contribute an unlimited amount of money as long as it is through various LLCs started by the same original company.
At the event, Gipson also spoke about his hopes for the city of Poughkeepsie. Currently, he says, it is a divided city. The design of the city as it is segregates minorities, a phenomenon that Gipson says weakens the community. “You can’t have a strong community or economy if everyone looks like you,” he said.
Gipson also said that he is a proponent of a progressive tax code that would require everyone to pay their “fair share.” Due to high property taxes, Gipson said he has seen many families “being taxed out of their homes.” He believes that there are many ways to reduce the cost of homeownership, with a “progressive” tax code and a “fairer” tax system. One proposal of his is to ensure that anyone who makes over $1 million pays their share of income tax.
Gipson concluded his speech by emphasizing his desire for providing an “attractive enough atmosphere” for people to live in. “I want equality across the board,” he said, “but still have a long way to go.”↑ Back to top