SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- Touring the Stratton Air National Guard Base in Schenectady on Sunday, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand showed her support for the Antarctica missions completed by the 109th Airlift Wing, which has the only ski-equipped C-130 planes in the world. This allows them to land in artic regions on ice and snow.
The missions include military operations and scientific experiments through the National Science Foundation. The aircraft are also used for search and rescue missions, and the airlift wing also goes on other missions to Greenland, Afghanistan and Iraq.
“This is such an impressive mission, and given all that’s going on in the world, it’s really important that we continue to invest in this mission and make sure they have the resources to recapitalize these aircrafts,” said Gillibrand.
“There are modernization projects that we’re doing for these aircrafts right now that does take funding and to keep them a viable resource for the U.S. and for national science foundation to fly in the arctic and Antarctica,” said Colonel Shawn Clouthier, commander of 109th Airlift Wing.
But aside from talking about the importance of continued funding for these missions, Sen. Gillibrand also answered questions about concerns that span way beyond Schenectady. She worries repealing the Affordable Care Act could be detrimental.
“Taking away Obamacare will harm many, many people,” said Gillibrand. “Many people have stood up, particularly Democratic leaders, to say we can’t repeal Obamacare. If we want to fix it, we can certainly fix it but taking away insurance for millions of people is wrong.”
Speaking on the executive order issued by President Donald Trump banning travel from seven majority-Muslim countries, the Senator hopes it is never reinstated.
“What he’s doing is morally wrong. To say whole religious groups can’t come to this country, to say immigrants can’t come to this country, to be so fearful of refugees,” said Gillibrand.
But one of the main concerns of the Senator is the country’s national security: an issue she calls a top priority.
“I am very concerned about another country trying to undermine our elections. Our democracy depends on free and fair elections and so I am concerned by these acts by Russia. I am concerned how the president is reacting to other foreign countries and positioning us in a more volatile way. I’m concerned about the country and our well-being and it’s one of the roles I take very seriously on the Armed Services Committee,” said Gillibrand.