GLENS FALLS - U.S. Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-Greenport) addressed area residents' concerns over living the nightmare of a national recession, as she toured the area Dec. 3 to mingle with her constituents.
Gillibrand visited dozens of people gathered at the Ridge Street Coffee Co. in Glens Falls and Borders Bookstore in Saratoga as part of the Congress on Your Corner series.
Addressing a capacity crowd at the Coffee Co., Gillibrand fielded questions on a broad range of topics which included her vote against last month's $700 billion bailout bill and her vision of the future of the 20th Congressional District.
"It all starts with infrastructure," Gillibrand said to the audience about creating economic vitality for the area. "This district has so much potential for economic growth."
Gillibrand said the diversity of the district - which includes the suburbs of Albany, Saratoga and the southern Adirondacks - will allow the region to prosper in the future, but not without infrastructure development and modernization.
"We have everything from university hospitals to the Adirondacks," she said.
For Gillibrand, infrastructure is not only roads, bridges and the electrical grid, it is also wi-fi connectivity and high- resolution information technology, which she said is necessary for financial growth and future prosperity.
"I developed this definition of infrastructure after talking with several local supervisors," she said in a post-forum interview. "In many rural communities, broadband is not available - but without broadband, local business will lack the efficiency required to prosper and grow."
Gillibrand also said that she plans on lobbying Congress for funds to develop a regional light-commuter railway.
"In this district people have to drive to work," she said. "Light rail would greatly reduce the burden on middle-income families."
Gillibrand defended her "no" vote for last month's economic bailout, but said that the auto industry may require assistance.