Meet Kirsten

Beginnings

Born and raised in upstate New York, Kirsten inherited a dedication to public service from her grandmother and mother, who organized other women and served tirelessly in their communities. Drawing inspiration from these strong role models and others, Kirsten began her career as a young lawyer and then decided to pursue a path of public service to more directly help others whose voices weren’t being heard. After switching careers and serving in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C., Kirsten decided to move home to upstate New York to raise her family and ultimately, to run a long-shot bid to represent her home district in Congress. With her two-year-old son Theo in tow, Kirsten ran for Congress in 2006 as an underdog for a seat held by a long-term Republican incumbent in a 2-1-majority-Republican district. Unafraid of the uphill battle and determined to bring commonsense ideas to the table, Kirsten won her election with calls for Congressional ethics reform, an end to the war in Iraq and Medicare for All.  

A reformer for transparency

In Congress, Kirsten wasted no time making her mark. She became the first member of Congress in history to post her official daily meetings, personal financial disclosures and earmark requests online for her constituents. The New York Times called it “a quiet touch of revolution.” Kirsten has continued this commitment to transparency in the Senate by posting her personal tax returns and by voluntarily filing her campaign finance reports electronically. Kirsten has also championed ethics reform and getting big, unaccountable money out of political campaigns. She wrote and secured the passage of the STOCK Act, which finally made it illegal for members of Congress, their families and their staff to profit from insider information gained through public service. At the time, The Washington Post called it the “most substantial debate on Congressional ethics in nearly five years.”

A focus on families

As the sixth woman ever to give birth while serving in Congress, and then as the mother of two young children while serving in the Senate, Kirsten brings a personal perspective to the fight for families’ economic and personal security. Tackling the economic issues facing families has become a key focus of Kirsten’s legislative agenda – which includes fighting for universal pre-K; affordable, high-quality day care; equal pay for equal work; and a national paid family and medical leave program. And because reproductive health care is part of many women’s economic realities, she has proudly stood up to protect women’s right to make decisions about their own health, to access birth control and to get health care at Planned Parenthood.

Economic growth, jobs and lower health care costs

Hailing from upstate New York, Kirsten knows that paychecks are still not keeping up with the rising cost of living for many families, and she has made it a mission to raise their wages and lower their costs. Since her very first campaign, Kirsten has led the fight to lower the cost of health care, and she has taken on the big drug and pharmaceutical companies to lower the cost of prescription drugs. Kirsten believes that everyone deserves a good job, the dignity of hard work and a paycheck that allows them to pay the bills and save for their retirement and their children’s future. She has focused on ensuring workers can fill good-paying jobs by closing the skills gap in partnership with employers and educators, and she has passed key legislation to ensure we are investing in small businesses and promoting American manufacturers. Kirsten has also led the fight to tackle the out-of-control burden of student loan debt, and she supports affordable college for all Americans.

Service members and veterans, national security and gun safety

Keeping Americans safe is Kirsten’s first priority. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gillibrand has championed an agenda to improve access to benefits for our active military and worked to ensure that when service members return home, there are more job opportunities, educational and training tools and other key services easily available to them. Since her start in Congress, Kirsten has fought for veterans and their families. Following the tragedies of 9/11, Kirsten fought for robust and state-of-the art counterterrorism funding and tools, and national security grant funding to secure vulnerable cities and infrastructure. She’s also stood up to ensure all Americans – especially our service members, and students on campuses across the country – are protected from sexual violence and harassment. She’s fearlessly taken on the greed of the gun lobby in the Senate (earning her a proud “F” rating from the NRA) and has consistently worked to pass commonsense gun safety measures like her anti-trafficking bill, universal background checks and legislation to close loopholes that allow guns to get into the hands of dangerous criminals, terrorists and domestic abusers.

Bringing people together to get results

Bipartisanship is a hallmark of Kirsten’s work. From passing the 9/11 health bill to protect first responders sick and dying from the toxins at ground zero, to repealing the corrosive and hateful “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, to reforming Congressional ethics laws, Kirsten has consistently worked across the aisle to build bipartisan coalitions and deliver results for her constituents without ever compromising her progressive values. Her focus is on delivering for Americans, not partisan politics.

Empowering women and girls

Inspired by her grandmother, Kirsten has made it her life’s mission to amplify women’s voices in the public debate. In 2010, after the number of women elected to Congress decreased for the first time in three decades, Kirsten launched Off the Sidelines, a call to action to encourage women and girls to make their voices heard on the issues they care about. Since its inception, Off the Sidelines has recruited, mentored and supported dozens of women candidates for higher office and helped elect some of the Democratic Party’s brightest rising stars.


 

A Little More About Kirsten

Kirsten’s home is in Troy, New York, close to where she grew up. She lives with her husband, Jonathan, their two sons, 15-year-old Theo and 10-year-old Henry, and their dog, Maple. She loves to bake and plays tennis every chance she gets.