Though there was no announcement to the media that she was coming, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand spent about an hour in Batavia this morning meeting with constituents at the Richmond Memorial Library.
A camera crew from CBS's 60 Minutes accompanied her.
After the meeting, she agreed to a two-minute interview with The Batavian.
The meeting, she said, was arranged by her staff, who reached out to local agencies that provide assistance to area residents and those agencies selected attendees to the discussion.
"I wanted to hear directly from my constituents about their lives and what's going on and what challenges they have because I often find that people in Washington are so disconnected from reality and the people we represent," Gillibrand said. "I think Washington is pretty much broken so I like to come into my communities and listen to their stories directly and hear exactly what their challenges are."
She said the conversation was productive.
"What we heard was really interesting," she said "There is a lot of strain on costs of child care, access to affordable quality daycare, lots of strain on just putting food on the table and having health care they can afford. There is a real need for higher wages or more job opportunities and then lowering costs for both child care and health care."
While this was not a campaign stop, we asked about the 2018 campaign when she's up for reelection.
"I just want to make sure I'm fighting for the right things, and what these listening opportunities do for me is let me hear directly from people about what really is troubling them," she said.
We asked her about the potential for an infrastructure bill in 2018 and what it might mean for Genesee County.
"I want to be optimistic about that because the one thing we all agree on is we really need to rebuild our state and rebuild our country," Gillibrand said. "There's such an eagerness for better roads, bridges, sewers, electric grid, high-speed rail, better rail. I mean it's an unlimited need in our state. We have, I think, the last number I heard was $70 billion of unmet sewer needs. We had over 2,000 bridges that needed some kind of structural repair. I'm hoping that this can be the one really good bipartisan things we can work on."
There is often speculation that Gillibrand is thinking about a run for president in 2020.
She said, "I'm focused entirely on 2018 and I really want to serve in the Senate. I feel privileged and honored to serve."
All the talk in political circles this morning was about Oprah Winfrey speech last night at the Golden Globes and whether she might be thinking of a run for president in 2020.
With the mention of Oprah's name, Gillibrand said, "She did a great speech, inspiring and important." Asked if Oprah should run, Gillibrand said, "Whatever she wants to do. She's awesome."
Photos: Before Gillibrand entered the library this morning, she noticed a mother and her two children watching her enter, so she went over and greeted them and asked if they wanted to pose for a picture. They left before I could get their names.