U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand stopped by Nyack's farmers' market this afternoon for some campaigning, handshaking and discussion with residents.
Gillibrand was appointed to the U.S. Senate by Gov. David Patterson in January of 2009. She is currently seeking election to her seat in the November 2010 elections.
Gillibrand arrived at the farmers market in downtown Nyack at 12:15 p.m. with a small contingent of aides. She made an effort to speak with each Nyack and Rockland resident that approached her, discussing topics that ranged from child psychology and autism to infrastructure and the election process.
A popular question—and not a surprising one, given the setting–was how she intends on helping local farmers. The question meshed with Gillibrand's political background: she served on the Senate Agriculture Committee, tackling issues like hunger, nutrition and family farms.
Gillibrand told farmers, booth-operators and residents that she supports legislation that connects school cafeterias with local farms in order to foster better nutrition.
Gillibrand also spoke about the tentative new Tappan Zee Bridge project, which may cost an estimated $16 billion.
"I'm going to fight hard for federal funding," she said, noting the bridge is in poor shape and a replacement is necessary.
She also stressed the importance of integrating public transit—a sentiment shared by Nyack's mayor Richard Kavesh and South Nyack mayor Patricia DuBow—in the bridge project.
"Light rail [on the new bridge] would be an amazing addition," she said.
Diana Hess of New City-based Jawonio said she used Gillibrand's visit as an opportunity to talk to the senator about the work of the non-profit agency and about possible future funding opporunities.
Gillibrand's next stop is Goshen Pawelski Farms in Goshen.
As she was headed to her next stop, Gillibrand did not leave Nyack empty-handed—she picked up a pie from one of Nyack's bakery booths at the farmers' market.