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Gillibrand challenger brings her Senate campaign to Buffalo

Mike Desmond

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand can expect a strong political assault in her re-election campaign against Republican, Conservative and Reform candidate Chele Farley, The challenger made her first visit locally Thursday.

Farley is a Stanford-educated engineer active on Wall Street and deeply involved in education issues. She is up against an incumbent Democrat who won 2-1 six years ago in a heavily Democratic state.

During a news conference Thursday, Farley praised some Trump Administration policies and specifically praised President Trump for moving the embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

"I was in Israel last week and how many presidents said that they were going to move the embassy to Jerusalem?" Farley asked. "Clinton said he was going to do it. Bush said he was going to do it. Obama said he was going to do it. But Trump said he was going to do it and then Trump actually did it. Frankly, nobody, I think, expected him to do it but he did. So isn't it worth a shot."

She expects Congress to stay Republican in the November election.

"It will stay about the same numbers, but either way, I will work with whomever is there to get things done for New York," Farley said. "I think it's really important to not focus on whether it's a Republican bill or a Democratic bill. The idea is that we have to do what's best for New York. Since Kirsten Gillbrand is running for president, she has moved radically to the left, which is just away from the mainstream New Yorker."

She said her key focus is the federal taxes paid by New Yorkers that go to Washington and are sent out to other states.

"$48 billion of New Yorkers' money stays in Washington and doesn't come back to New York State," she said. "We need to use those funds, both to increase infrastructure, improve our waterways, our bridges, our tunnels, but certainly to combat this opioid addiction."

The candidate said she can persuade other senators to let New York keep some or all of those $48 billion instead of sending them to those other states.

Before visiting a fundraiser for State Assemblymember Ray Walter, she met with Save the Michaels founder Avi Israel to talk about the opioid crisis. Farley said some of that money she can get to stay in New York State could be put to work on addictions. She pointed out that Israel's group has sent 51 people for drug treatment just in the last 10 days.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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