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Political notebook

NY's new US senator is also the youngest

January 28, 2009
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WASHINGTON - Kirsten Gillibrand, a little-known, pro-gun Democrat from upstate New York, was sworn in yesterday as the state's junior US senator.

Governor David Paterson appointed the second-term congresswoman to the Senate seat last Friday after Caroline Kennedy, the presumed front-runner, withdrew from contention because of personal reasons.

After she was sworn in at the US Capitol by Vice President Joe Biden, she told reporters becoming a senator was something she never could have imagined. "To have the opportunity to serve this entire state at a time of great economic crisis is an extraordinary responsibility and I take that responsibility very seriously," she said.

At 42, Gillibrand is the youngest US senator and is the 17th woman in the chamber. Gillibrand fills a seat vacated when Hillary Clinton became secretary of state. Her appointment lasts until 2010, when a special election will be held to fill the final two years of Clinton's term.

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Palin puts her stamp on 'fresh ideas' PAC
NEW YORK - Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska launched a political action committee yesterday to help support candidates for federal and state office.

The committee, SarahPAC, is dedicated to supporting "fresh ideas and candidates who share our vision for reform and innovation," according to its website.

Palin catapulted to prominence last year as Republican presidential candidate John McCain's running mate and is widely believed to be eyeing a presidential bid in 2012. Aides said the PAC will help serve as a vehicle for her political activities.

According to its website, SarahPAC welcomes supporters of any political persuasion and will contribute to candidates of any party who share her ideas and goals. Palin makes special note of the Republican Party on the site, saying it is at "the threshold of an historic renaissance."

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Inaugural terror threat turns out to be a ruse
WASHINGTON - A potential terror threat just before last week's presidential inauguration turned out to be a ruse, a top military commander said yesterday.

But General Gene Renuart, chief of the US Northern Command, warned ongoing security concerns still face the administration during its early days.

Renuart, the military commander in charge of domestic defense, said reports pointing to a possible threat from an East Africa terrorist group were the result of claims by another faction and turned out to be untrue. "It was more a function of two factions who didn't like each other setting the other up," Renuart told the Associated Press.

Federal authorities early last week issued a warning describing a possible threat from individuals associated with al-Shabab, a Somali extremist group that has seized Baidoa, the city that houses Somalia's parliament.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

A Treasury secretary with a lot less green
WASHINGTON - New Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is no Hank Paulson when it comes to his personal finances. Geithner's financial disclosure filing released yesterday showed he has assets valued at between $740,000 and $1.7 million. His biggest asset is partial ownership of property on Cape Cod, valued between $250,000 and $500,000. Former secretary Paulson had an estimated net worth of more than $700 million when he joined the Bush administration in 2006.

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