New Yorker Kirsten Gillibrand Makes Fighting for Families Central to Her Campaign

June 7, 2019 by TWN Staff
Presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, shakes hand with supporters after she held a round table discussion and press conference at the Georgia statecCapitol to discuss abortion bans in Georgia and across the country on May 16, 2019. Georgia was the fourth state this year to pass anti-abortion "heartbeat" legislation. (Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal Constitution/TNS)

Candidate: Kirsten Gillibrand

State of Residence: New York

Campaign Website: https://kirstengillibrand.com

Presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, shakes hand with supporters after she held a round table discussion and press conference at the Georgia statecCapitol to discuss abortion bans in Georgia and across the country on May 16, 2019. Georgia was the fourth state this year to pass anti-abortion “heartbeat” legislation. (Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal Constitution/TNS)

Short Bio: Born and raised in upstate New York, Gillibrand inherited a dedication to public service from her grandmother and mother, who organized women and served their communities as Democratic activists. Drawing inspiration from them, Gillibrand began her career as a lawyer and then decided to pursue a path of public service.

After serving in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C., Gillibrand decided to move home to upstate New York to raise her family—and to eventually make a long-shot bid to represent her home district in Congress.

With her 2-year-old son Theo in tow, Gillibrand ran for Congress in 2006 as an underdog for a seat held by a long-term Republican incumbent in a district with a 2-1 Republican majority. Unafraid of the uphill battle and determined to bring commonsense ideas to the table, Gillibrand won her election with calls for congressional ethics reform, an end to the war in Iraq, and Medicare for All.

Today, as a mother of young sons, Gillibrand is running for president to fight for America’s families as hard as she fights for her own. She’s running on a vision for an America in which quality and affordable health care is a right, public education is strong regardless of the block you grow up on, hard work is rewarded and greed and money are eliminated from politics. She has never been afraid of a fight—especially against President Trump—and she knows we need to restore integrity, courage and compassion to the White House. Combating money in politics is key to her campaign and central to achieving progressive policies—she’s rejecting corporate PAC and federal lobbyist money and has disavowed individual super PACs.

Inspired by her grandmother, Gillibrand has made it her life’s mission to support and empower more women to step up and run for office. In 2010, Gillibrand launched Off The Sidelines: a call to action to encourage women and girls to make their voices heard on the issues they care about. In eight years, 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.

Gillibrand graduated from Dartmouth College and the UCLA School of Law. She served as a law clerk on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and as a lawyer in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development during the Clinton administration. She was elected to the House of Representatives in 2006 as the congresswoman representing NY-20 and was appointed to the U.S. Senate in 2009, where she has since won reelection twice. Gillibrand splits her time between upstate New York and Washington, D.C., and lives with her husband, Jonathan; their two sons, Theo and Henry; and their labradoodle, Maple.

Fun Fact: Kirsten speaks Mandarin Chinese. She studied in Taiwan and China during her undergraduate studies at Dartmouth. [CNN]

On the Issues

Health Care: Move to a universal, government-run health care system within four years.

Gillibrand was a co-sponsor of the “The Medicare for All Act,” a proposal led by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., which would ban private health insurance and transition the U.S. to a government-run health system within four years. The bill offers a few funding options, including a new tax on the wealthiest 0.1 percent, and a new premium based on income.

Gillibrand has also proposed expanding the “Basic Health Program,” part of the Affordable Care Act, so that states can offer lower-priced health insurance to more people. [PBS]

Trade & Agriculture: Renegotiate NAFTA. The New York senator would like to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. She agrees with President Donald Trump about ending a system of tribunals that resolve trade differences. But she would like to see more environmental protections and more gains for dairy farmers who trade goods with Canada. [PBS]

Jobs/Economy/Taxes: Gillibrand has said America needs to do more to create sustainable jobs and reward work.

“Every American deserves a good job, the dignity of hard work and a paycheck that allows them to pay the bills and save for their and their children’s futures,” she says on her campaign website, “We need to make sure that everyone has guaranteed access to full employment,  and that workers have the skills training and support to fill good-paying jobs and advance their careers. Our students need an education that provides the STEM skills and experience necessary for the jobs of the 21st-century economy. We should also treat the urgent need to act on climate change as an economic opportunity. When we invest in green technology, spur innovation and incentivize the use of renewable energy under the Green New Deal, we’ll also invest in massive new technical skills training and create family-supporting, sustainable jobs for the future.”

Gillibrand has also said more needs to be done to tackle economic inequality and raise wages. “It’s unacceptable that so many Americans are forced to work multiple jobs and make sacrifices just to take care of their families while the cost of living and corporate profits soar,” she has said. “Our economy should value and reward workers, not just CEOs and shareholders. We need to stop big corporations from making taxpayers subsidize astronomical paychecks for corporate officers. We need to raise the minimum wage to $15 nationwide and lift millions of families out of poverty. We need to empower more workers to share in the profits of their work by encouraging more companies to become employee owned. We should expand access to affordable banking services and virtually eliminate predatory lending by creating postal banking. We need to rein in Wall Street risk and protect our financial system so unchecked greed can’t hurt families again. We should stop the transfer of massive generational wealth that exacerbates economic inequality. And we need to reverse the Trump tax plan’s massive corporate tax cut and make sure that wealthy Americans and companies pay their fair share in taxes—we should be looking out for middle-class families, not giving handouts to millionaires and corporations.” [Official Campaign Website]

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