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Gillibrand rules out bid for governor, touts free school lunch proposal

Ithaca Assemblymember Anna Kelles stands at a podium in a checkered sleeveless vest to the left of U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), standing with her hands folded in front of her wearing a light blue blazer.
Vaughn Golden
Ithaca Assemblymember Anna Kelles (l), who holds a Phd. in nutritional epidemiology, joined U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand to support legislation to provide universal free meals for school students.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) told reporters at an event in Ithaca Monday she is not interested in running for governor of New York.

Gillibrand, who called for the resignation of current Gov. Andrew Cuomo in March in the wake of several misconduct allegations against the governor, said she is ruling out a bid for the office in 2022.

“Yeah, I’m not interested in pursuing that,” Gillibrand said in response to a question from public media's WSKG.

Gillibrand has served in the Senate since 2010 and ran for president in 2020.

Despite investigations being carried out into scandals surrounding his administration, Cuomo appears to be pushing ahead seeking a bid for a fourth term as governor. Next week, he’ll host a $10,000-a-head fundraising dinner in New York City.

Gillibrand appeared in Ithaca to tout legislation to make school lunches free for all students, regardless of their financial status.

The legislation would contribute federal funding for schools, similar to the existing free and reduced lunch program model, to provide students with a breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack. The program would also include additional funds for schools that use locally-sourced food.

“We know that kids often won’t take a free meal because sometimes it’s stigmatized,” Gillibrand said. “Sometimes kids don’t want to be singled out. Sometimes they feel like if everyone isn’t having it then they shouldn’t have it either.”

Gillibrand said she is pushing to include the measure in a package of infrastructure measures or as part of reauthorization of existing child nutrition programs which is up for renewal this year.

Ithaca City Schools Superintendent Luvelle Brown and Assemblymember Anna Kelles (D-125) also joined Gillibrand at Monday’s event in support of the legislation.

“We give our young people access to healthy foods. Our program is great. So having every young person have access to that without having to worry about the cost or the financial implications is just going to benefit everyone,” Brown said.