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Local officials respond to President Obama's national address

By ANNA MEILER

WASHINGTON (WKTV) -- Rep. Richard Hanna of New York's 22nd Congressional District said President Obama's address to the nation Tuesday night didn't sway his position opposing a military strike in Syria.

"I'm pleased with the Russian proposal. I'm pleased that the House and the Senate did not vote on this," he said.

Like many, he believes the reason a diplomatic solution is being pursued is because a strong military threat was presented in the first place. He believes it's important to maintain that pressure on President Bashar Al-Assad and the Syrian government.

"I think that what people don't know is that he has used those chemical weapons not just this one time which was so demonstrative but 10 other times. A total of 11. The others were smaller and isolated. This man was pushing the envelope after the confidential briefing we received the other day in Congress. It is absolutely lead-solid certain that he is the perpetrator of this and he does not want to risk losing his position or his life. So the message is out there and I think it's been sent without us starting another war," he said.

But he also said the process of eliminating chemical weapons from Syria would be a long, complex process and he would be surprised if all of them were successfully removed.

"What I've heard is they certainly could have moved them around the country, put them in places where they're protected and unknown. Those are details that will have to be worked out if indeed there's a deal at all so we just have to see on that," he said.

He also said he will maintain his position against military action even if the diplomatic solution falls through.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand also responded to the president's speech, saying, "a credible diplomatic solution at the United Nations is the best possible outcome for the United States and the world community.  We must fully exhaust this developing opportunity before determining whether to authorize U.S. military action."

Gillibrand is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

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