Wendy Long presents job plan, pans Gillibrand

Republican Wendy Long is challenging incumbent Democratic Sen.

Republican Wendy Long is challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in November. (March 16, 2012) (Credit: AP)

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ALBANY -- Republican Senate candidate Wendy Long unveiled a jobs plan Monday, calling for New York to "get moving" on drilling for natural gas as soon as possible.

Long accused her opponent, incumbent Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), of "flip-flopping" on economic issues, including natural gas. Long said, as part of her plan, she wants to cut business and personal income taxes and repeal the federal Affordable Health Care For America Act -- which Republicans call "Obamacare."

Long, who won a three-way GOP primary in June, said energy independence should be a key national goal. She said that she supports extending the Keystone oil pipeline, which cuts through the middle of the nation, and that New York should green-light horizontal hydraulic fracturing methods to tap into shale gas deposits primarily in the state's Southern Tier. The Cuomo administration is expected to unveil a plan later this summer to do so.

"I think it's shown to be safe," Long said on the steps of the state Capitol. "I think it's an incredible opportunity for New York."

The Republican first said the state should move "with all deliberate speed" on natural gas drilling, then later added, "We should move forward as rapidly as possible."

Long accused Gillibrand of waffling on natural gas.

A Gillibrand spokesman didn't directly address Long's comments.

"Senator Gillibrand is focused on her agenda of cutting middle class taxes and ensuring more manufacturers across the state are stamping products with 'Made in America' to help grow our economy and create jobs," Gillibrand spokesman Glen Caplin said in an email. Gillibrand is touting the extension of targeted tax cuts to bolster manufacturing.

Long didn't say specifically whether she backed a conservative federal budget proposal touted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) -- the party's vice-presidential candidate -- that Democrats say would gut Medicare and other safety-net programs.

"Our entitlement programs are headed for bankruptcy, and what Paul Ryan has tried to do is save those programs," Long said.

Rodney Capel, state Democratic Party executive director, accused Long of ducking the issue.

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