By Matt Youngfrau
WALLKILL July 5, 2002 After a 30-year career, United States Congressman Benjamin Gilman will be retiring at age 79.
Gilman made the announcement Tuesday night at Brookside Manor in Wallkill. More than 300 friends and supporters came out for Gilman's announcement.
"During this prolonged redistricting process, I have been carefully 'weighing my options' on what my future steps should be, should the state redistricting plan be finally adopted," commented Gilman. "Regrettably, it became evident that the state's efforts to target our district in order to protect other incumbents undermined our efforts to successfully pursue another term in Congress. Accordingly, it is with great remorse that I must announce that I will not be standing for re-election to the 108th Congress."
Due to the results of the 2000 Census, New York State lost two representatives in Congress. Several plans were drawn up, and the New York State Assembly and Senate adopted one that eliminated Gilman's district. Gilman had been fighting the plan in court, and a decision was expected July 12.
"While I could have not envisioned this as an end to my tenure in the House, nevertheless I am especially proud of all the work we have done together over the last 30 years," Gilman remarked. "With your help and support, we accomplished a great deal for our veterans, for our seniors, for our economy, for our children, and most important, for our Hudson Valley communities, for New York State, for our nation, and those in need throughout the world."
Gilman began his career in 1952 when he served as Deputy State Attorney General. After varying law jobs with government ties, Gilman was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1966. In 1972, Gilman won his first term to Congress. That run will come to a halt when the year ends.
"I have always held the title of 'Congressman' in the highest regard and have tried to do my best to serve our constituents with the honor and dignity befitting our region," Gilman stated. "As your Congressman, I've considered it an honor and a privilege to serve and to be your voice in Congress."
Gilman is uncertain of his future. He does wish to continue to work in some form with Congress. He stated that "I know that my work is not done, and I look ahead for opportunities which may arise."