Here is a transcript of an interview with Republican congressional candidate Chris Gibson at a campaign "Freedom Rally" event in Stony Creek on Sunday.
Gibson, a retired Army colonel from Kinderhook, in Columbia County, is running against U.S. Rep. Scott Murphy, D-Glens Falls.
Q: You talked in your speech about replenishing the Highway Trust Fund as opposed to the president's $50 billion infrastructure stimulus proposal. Elaborate a bit on that.
A: "Well, not only do we not have a budget, but we have no Highway Trust Fund right now. I mean, this is really wrong.
"This is something that would actually get bipartisan support if we took the time to actually do that -- to plan -- to plan within the constraints of a budget and put together the Highway Trust Fund. I think that would actually be supported.
"Now what that would mean though is dollar-for-dollar reductions in other parts of the federal government.
"But it's something that we need to do. I mean we absolutely need infrastructure. We can't have a situation where our roads are falling apart, where our bridges are falling down.
"So that's not a partisan thing. There will be bipartisan support for that. But what we want to see is we want to see it paid for. So that's, I think, the way forward."
Q: Now is that emptied out because of a lack of a budget this year or has it been empty for a while?
A: "They haven't passed the highway bill. I mean that's part of the problem is they haven't passed that part of the transportation bill that addresses highways and addresses our infrastructure. I will tell you that's what we need to be doing is actually doing proper budgeting. It's just sound fiscal policy to be doing that."
Q: Now can you get -- between now and November -- a united front on this?
A: "I think if the president was interested in a bipartisan bill, I think he would have it. But what I think he has to do is take that money, fix the Highway Trust Fund. And it needs to be paid for. We need to take money in other parts of the budget. And I think we'd have it. I think we'd have that bill."
Q: Now on the 60 Plus Commercial. (Congressman Murphy's side said 60 Plus supports private Social Security and his campaign countered with commercial stating GOP supporters of your campaign support Medicare vouchers.)
A: "That's not true. None of that's true. I don't support privatizing Social Security. I think that would be a wrong move. (The Murphy campaign actually said 60 Plus supports privatization -- and that group supports Gibson.)
"I think that's a good program that has served our country and our people very well. What I think we need to do is strengthen it and preserve it.
"So I believe that we need to be looking toward fulfilling our sacred contract with the current generation of senior citizens and ensuring that we have viability in the Social Security trust fund in the years to come.
"Unfortunately this year, unexpectedly, we're now reaching in to the trust fund because of the size of that deficit. That's a problem.
"We're going to do it again next year as far as what anybody can see. And then we're going to run a surplus for a few years. And then we're going to start reaching in to it in 2017 for as far as the eye can see. Right now the fiscal solvency is called in to question. In 2037 is when we could very well see the end of the trust fund if we don't do any thing."
Q: What about Medicare vouchers?
A: "No -- not at all. I don't support that.
"I have not seen the ad. I don't get to watch much TV. But my staff told me in small print it says FEC. So they're trying to link me to somebody who gave money to our campaign and say I supported it. It's misleading. It's not true. I don't support those actions at all. And quite frankly, I didn't even know the 60 Plus organization even existed until last week. So that's an independent expenditure."
(The Murphy campaign in a press release identified U.S. Reps. Tom Price, Eric Cantor and Pete Sessions as individuals who support Medicare vouchers and have either contributed to Gibson's campaign or helped him raise money.)
Q: Now (the outcome of) the governor's primary You're on the Conservative line. You're on the Republican line. Who do you endorse in the governor's race. And do you plan to campaign with either of the candidates?
A: "I'm focussed on our race right here in New York 20. I would tell you that I think we should all be looking very careful at the results of the primary. I think it points to the fact that there is wide disappointment in Albany and in Washington, D.C. So I believe that the same discontent with government in Albany as evidence by the primary is going to be witnessed in relation to Washington D.C. and in relation to the Congress. So that's what I take away from the primary. There are Americans who are ready to get involved in their government and come out to the polls in big numbers to support candidates who are going to help get the private sector economy going and balance our budget and protect our freedom."
Q: Do you plan endorse a candidate in the governor's race?
A: "No -- I mean I'm going to be focussed in on our race right here in New York 20. But I will tell you again -- those (primary) results people should be paying attention to that. Clearly the people spoke on Tuesday."