ALBANY—Representative Steve Israel’s travels in the last few weeks have taken him to Baghdad, Germany and now: Hornell.
It’s the first time the four-term congressman has been to the small upstate city, which he visited yesterday before visits today to Syracuse and Utica. His tour comes as those auditioning to be U.S. senator are making pilgrimages through the hinterland – first it was Caroline Kennedy, this weekend Carolyn Maloney, and now Israel. But he says his commitment to the region run deeper than his Senate hopes.
“For me this is not a sudden incursion into upstate New York,” Israel said by phone. “The difference is that I have been doing this for the past two years. I have been traveling to Utica, to Rochester, to the Southern Tier and to the North Country helping Democratic congressional candidates. So I am quite familiar with this. The reception has always been very warm.”
Israel met with Paterson one-on-one before they and Representative Anthony Weiner visited troops in Iraq and Afghanistan during the days before Christmas.
Israel made the case for himself as an ideal senator due to his experience as a congressman and town board member – which he said provided insight into the needs and desires of local governments – but would not attack Kennedy, who has been derided as inexperienced for the job.
A poll released today shows she has faded in support since she began campaigning for the seat.