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Interview with Terry Gipson

by Stephen Kaye
Fri Jul 29th, 2016

Terry Gipson

The outcome of the contest for the 41st senatorial district seat may well decide which party controls the State Senate for the next two years, magnifying the attention each party is giving the race between Sue Serino, the Republican incumbent, and Terry Gipson, her Democratic rival.  Gipson was elected our senator in 2012, serving to 2014.  Serino won in 2014 and is running to keep her seat.

We met with Terry Gipson in two sessions on July 16 and 17.

Terry thinks the biggest issues are basically competence, systemic corruption and systems failure.  Terry claims Sue Serino doesn’t understand that the role of a senator is not only to listen ( Serino says she governs by listening) but to act in a meaningful way to address the needs of the people in the district.  Terry says he believes that elected officials have a responsibility to move legislative solutions forward and work with members of both parties to get laws passed. This requires an understanding of a wide variety of issues and competence in explaining your point of view, whereas Serino, he says, stumbles whenever asked to explain hers. 

To make his point Gipson cites his support of legislation requiring insurers to cover the cost of treating Lyme disease. Serino does not support this legislation and has voted to form a costly task force to study the issue while hundreds of Lyme disease victims continue to suffer due to lack of insurance coverage. Serino and the senate Republicans, says Gipson, take their instructions from the insurance lobby with the result that insurance companies can deny coverage. 

 Gipson points out that Serino scores a zero on environmental issues.  She fails to address the threats of fracking or the danger of transporting crude oil by rail down the Hudson River rail corridor where a spill could endanger the decades-long clean up of the Hudson River. She bows to the will of the Republican party that receives outsized contributions from the industry that pays to avoid regulation.

In reviewing Senator Serino’s accomplishments, Gipson notes she has done nothing to make changes in how our state addresses public education.  She’s done nothing to relieve the burden of property taxes that continues to be the main issue voters really care about.  She’s done nothing about the inequality that results from relying on property taxes to fund schools – richer communities with higher property values end up with much better schools than poorer communities.  

“In short, Serino is part of the problem of a stagnant state government that is unawares of the nature of what is happening in the economy.  She is simplistic in her thinking and incapable of handling the job.  She has failed at making a case for the Hudson Valley that badly needs to be made in the competition for state and federal funds for infrastructure, agriculture, education, health care and transportation.  She is chair of the Senate Committee on Aging, but has failed to address the high cost of living that continues to force seniors out of their homes and out of the state. She is adamantly against a woman’s right to choose, and would deny women coverage if they visited Planned Parenthood for health care.” 

Gipson admitted that Republicans are likely to back Serino with large amounts of NYC money so as to keep the State Senate in Republican control.  They cannot afford to loose the 41st District seat if they want to stay in the majority. Gipson points out that the district leans Democratic. There are about 10,500 more Democrats than Republicans in SD41, which covers both Dutchess and Putnam counties. Our strategy is to get Democrats out to vote and we expect the Donald Trump’s(whom Serino supports) radical views will help us get that done. Gipson does worry about not having the funds to combat a campaign of negative publicity.  The wealthy NYC corporate interests that are helping Serino do not fund my campaign, Gipson says.  Terry is proud that the vast majority of his contributions come from Hudson Valley residents that support his positive message of change.  He is optimistic that their support will lead him to victory this time around.