ENG: Christopher P. "Chris" Gibson (born May 13, 1964) is an American politician and former officer in the United States Army. He is currently the Republican U.S. Representative for New York's 19th congressional district. A retired Army colonel, Gibson holds a Ph.D in government from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. He is a lifelong resident of Kinderhook, New York.
Gibson joined the United States Army in 1986 after graduating from Siena College.
He served tours in the First Gulf War, Kosovo, and Iraq. He later taught American politics at West Point and was a national security affairs fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He has received four Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart, among other awards while in the military.
In 2008, he published his first book, Securing the State, which offered his overview on national security decision-making. He retired from the army at the rank of colonel in 2010 to run for congress, where he beat incumbent Scott Murphy with 55% of the vote. Gibson is married to Mary Jo Gibson, and the couple have three children.
Early life, education, and academic career
Gibson was born in Rockville Centre, New York, to Robert and Barbara Gibson, and moved to Kinderhook at a young age.
He attended Ichabod Crane High School there, where he was point guard and co-captain of the basketball team. He then attended Roman Catholic-affiliated Siena College in Loudonville, New York, having earned his ROTC Commission and graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in history.
Gibson took his commission with the United States Army after graduating from Siena. While in the Army Gibson rose to the rank of Colonel, serving seven tours including four combat tours in Iraq, as well as separate tours in Kosovo, the American Southwest in counter-narcotics interdiction and most recently deploying to Haiti after the earthquake where he led the 82nd Airborne Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team during the opening month of the humanitarian effort there.
Throughout his career Gibson earned a number of military decorations, including a Purple Heart, 4 Bronze Stars, 2 Legions of Merit, the Master Parachutist Badge, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge with Star and the Ranger tab. His units have also won awards, for their actions in Mosul in support of the first Iraqi national elections his Battalion Task Force earned the Valorous Unit Award. Later in Tal Afar his battalion and the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment were recognized for excellence by the President and earned a 2nd Valorous Unit Award..
Gibson was selected as the General George C. Marshall Award winner at the top graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth.
Gibson earned an MPA, as well as an MA and Ph.D. in government, from Cornell University. He then became a Professor of American Politics at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
He was a National Security fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University where he wrote a book on Civil-Military relations titled "Securing the State".
U.S. House of Representatives - Elections - 2010
Gibson challenged Democratic incumbent Scott Murphy for the 20th Congressional district seat in the House of Representatives and won on November 4, 2010.
While there were initially four candidates for the GOP nomination, the other three all dropped their bid, with one of them, Patrick Ziegler, joining Gibson’s staff as his campaign manager.The uncontested Republican and Conservative candidate, Gibson outraised Murphy in his first full quarter in the campaign, and is a GOP Young Gun.
Beginning in September, Gibson saw a steady rise in polling numbers: he started behind at 37% compared to Murphy's 54%. However by October 26, Gibson had risen to 51% and Murphy had fallen to 42%, numbers that more closely reflected the actual outcome. Newsweek described Gibson's win as a combination of running as a Republican in "perhaps the most conservative [district] in the state" and Murphy having supported "the two biggest items on Nancy Pelosi’s agenda", regardless of the fact that "the National Journal had characterized his voting record as one of the 10 most moderate in the House".
Gibson took part in a televised debate with Murphy on October 21, presented by the local PBS station, WMHT. Gibson began the campaign at 17 points behind in the polls but ended up winning the election with 55% of the vote.
Gibson, who was redistricted from the 20th district to the 19th district, defeated former federal prosecutor and Ulster County Democratic Party chairman, Julian Schreibman.
In this race, he was endorsed by all the major newspapers in the district, including the Albany Times Union, Kingston Daily Freeman, Poughkeepsie Journal, and Oneonta Daily Star.
After winning election in 2010, Gibson was sworn into office in January 2011 as part of the 112th Congress. He immediately voted to repeal the President's healthcare law, known as Obamacare.
Gibson joined nearly all other Republican members of the US House of Representatives in voting to support The Path to Prosperity, the budget put forward by U.S. Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI). However, the next year he joined nine other Republicans in voting against Ryan's budget. Instead he chose to support a bipartisan budget alternative, known as Cooper-LaTourette and based on the President's Fiscal Commission Simpson Bowles. The budgets balances spending cuts with raising revenue through tax reform. He is opposed to raising tax rates, though said he wouldn't resign the Americans for Tax Reform Taxpayer Protection Pledge.
After Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee hit the 20th District in 2011, Gibson focused on getting federal aid to his constituents.
Gibson has made a name for himself focusing on local issues like expanding access to broadband and better treatment of Lyme Disease. He held a forum on Lyme Disease in Saratoga Springs that attracted 500 people, including patients, medical experts, and environmental professionals.
He also has been an advocate for passage of the 2012 Farm Bill, even signing a discharge petition to bring the bill to a vote in the House.
Gibson lives in Kinderhook with his wife, Mary Jo, and their three children. The family is Roman Catholic and attends St. John's Catholic Church in Valatie.
January 13, 2013