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Why is Gillibrand ducking debates?

With most New Yorkers' attention focused on the presidential election, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's debate-ducking is flying under the radar. To date, Gillibrand's opponent, Wendy Long, has accepted five separate debate requests while Gillibrand has agreed to only one, which will air only in upstate New York and New York City, ignoring the people of Long Island and the Hudson Valley.
Out of one side of her mouth, Gillibrand calls herself "a trailblazer for more openness and transparency," while out of the other, she says "no" to the chance to make her case for re-election directly to New Yorkers.
Perhaps she is hesitant to defend her abysmal record as a legislator: 117 of the 131 bills she has introduced have died in committee, and none of the 14 bills that passed had to do with jobs for New Yorkers.
Perhaps she is hesitant to defend her flip-flops on gun control, illegal immigration and gay marriage.
Perhaps she is hesitant to defend her abiding loyalty to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, whose role in using public money to hush up victims of serial sexual abuse has prompted ethics and criminal investigations of his actions, as well as calls for his resignation.
If Gillibrand is serious about representing the people of New York, she owes it to them to have a series of debates with Long all across the state.
Ed Cox
Chairman, New York
Republican State Committee