WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a few days, Chris Gibson will head to the nation's capitol to be sworn in as the next representative of New York's 20th Congressional District.
Earlier this year, the Republican from Kinderhook defeated Democrat Scott Murphy of Glens Falls in a heated Congressional election. Gibson rode a wave of voter anger that saw many incumbent Democrats swept out of office.
The U.S. House of Representatives rounded out its final legislative session last week - a session that was marked by the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," a policy that long-banned gays and lesbians from serving openly in the U.S. armed forces.
Congress also helped approve a health care package for 9/11 rescue workers.
Murphy was first elected to Congress in 2009 during a special election to replace Kirsten Gillibrand - who vacated the seat after being appointed to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's U.S. Senate post.
Murphy called his final day on Capitol Hill a historic one.
"I started out the day at the bill-signing ceremony with President Barack Obama where we repealed 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' which was just a wonderful moment in the course of civil rights history," he said.
"And we ended the day with my very last vote in Congress to pass the 9/11 workers health care bill, so that we actually made sure that the people who went into the World Trade Center site after 9/11 and helped clean up and search for people who were wounded and could be saved and ended remediation work all are able to get the health care they need, because there are a lot of different ailments suffered as a result. That was a wonderful way to end my term in Congress," Murphy added.
Murphy said serving in Congress in 2010 was a rollercoaster ride, to say the least.
"It was a very, very active time in terms of things Congress was addressing," he said. "Also, coming in during the middle of a session and being their for a year-and-a-half, there were a lot of things to get going - nobody had been representing the district for many months when I came on board and so we had a lot of constituent service work to catch up on."
Murphy added legislators were dealing with a lot of pressing, vital issues.
"We were trying to deal with financial regulation reform and how to protect Main Street from living through another financial crisis where we had hard-working Americans bailing out our large financial institutions. It's something we can't ever allow to have happen again. I think we did a lot of work that will help make sure that doesn't happen again. It was great to be involved with it."
Murphy said he is proud of his support for President Obama's health care reform legislation, saying the bill provides more Americans with affordable access to health care.
He called the controversial bill - which Gibson has promised to try and repeal - a big step forward for the country.
Murphy congratulated Democrats and Republicans for working together earlier in December to pass tax cuts for all Americans.
"It was great to be a part of the bipartisan effort to pass tax cuts for all Americans and make sure that people are able to continue to have the money they need to live their lives and hopefully keep this economy moving," he said. "That was a big step with Democrats and Republicans coming together and it was something I found heartening having one big piece of legislation in my time with broad bipartisan support. I thought President Obama did a good job of leading and it was a good solution."
Murphy said he doesn't have a sense of whether or not he'll get back into politics in the future.
"I don't come away from it saying I'll never do that again, but I also don't come away saying I'm going to run for office for something else," he said. "Right now, we're still closing out some constituent service issues, so I'm still on the job. I will take a look in the future, I don't know if it will be on the public side or the private sector. We'll see down the road."
He added there is a chance of taking a role either with the Obama administration or New York Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo.
During his campaigns, Murphy championed his business experience. Going forward, he says the economy is going to continue a slow recovery.
"The 20th district had an unemployment rate in the low sevens, but part of that has to do with a large public sector," he said. "That, I think, is going to be tough in the next couple of years. The state's budget is in rough shape. The question is, are we going to be able to keep the jobs we already have? We need to get the private sector. I appreciate the tax policy changes Obama signed into law, I think those will be very helpful."
Murphy said the national economy is turning around, but notes the North Country faces tough fiscal headwinds in the coming years.