A dedicated public servant with deep Empire State roots
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand grew up inspired by strong women. Born and raised in upstate New York, she got her start watching her grandmother, Polly Noonan, who founded the Albany Democratic Women’s Club and ran its grassroots operations for 50 years. When election season began, Kirsten’s grandmother had Kirsten stuff envelopes, make calls, put bumper stickers on cars, hand out fliers, and knock doors. Kirsten’s mother was one of only three women in her law school class, and as an attorney represented low-income clients and fought for workplace fairness for women. When she became an attorney herself, Kirsten began to shift her professional focus to public service after hearing then-First Lady Hillary Clinton deliver her famous “women’s rights are human rights” speech in Beijing, China, subsequently joining the Clinton administration as special counsel to the secretary of housing and urban development. She served on the board of the Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy Committee, which elects pro-choice Democratic women leaders in New York, and helped found the Women’s Leadership Forum Network to encourage women under 40 to get involved in politics. In 2006, Kirsten’s spectacular upset of a four-term incumbent Republican congressman in upstate New York helped Democrats take control of the U.S. House. Today she serves in the U.S. Senate, appointed to the seat once held by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2009. After winning a special election in 2010, Kirsten was elected to her first full term in 2012 with a New York statewide record of 72 percent of the vote — winning 60 of New York's 62 counties, and she continues to courageously fight for working families every day.
A champion for women and families
Every day Kirsten is fighting back against Donald Trump’s dangerous, un-American agenda and is working tirelessly to defend the progress we’ve worked so hard to make. No matter how hard the fight is, if it’s for women and families, Kirsten will take it on. One of Kirsten’s first acts in the Senate was to help pass the historic Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and she is currently working hard to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. Kirsten is a champion of commonsense progressive reform, and she re-introduced the Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act to create a national fund for every U.S. worker to have access to paid leave. One of Kirsten’s first Senate votes was to expand the SCHIP program to provide health care to 11 million uninsured children, and today she is fighting just as hard to defend the Affordable Care Act as she worked to help pass it in 2009. Kirsten is a pro-choice champion. One day after President Trump issued an executive order reinstating the harmful global gag rule, which bans federal funds for international non-governmental organizations that provide information about abortion, she co-sponsored legislation to permanently repeal it.
A courageous leader standing up for our values
Just as she saw as her grandmother “empowered two generations of women — hers and my mother’s — to get involved in politics,” Kirsten is dedicated to helping new generations of women leaders with her Off the Sidelines project that supports women candidates across the country. In 2014, Kirsten’s book Off The Sidelines — part memoir and part call to action for women to lead — became a New York Times best-seller, and her leadership is a powerful example of the impact strong Democratic women can have on their communities and on our country. President Trump “is not entitled to ignore our laws and change the fundamental government constructs that have enabled our country’s success,” Kirsten wrote in a New York Times op-ed, and she has refused to back down with our most important values on the line. Kirsten’s courage has not gone unnoticed by the GOP, and they’ve already shown they will stop at nothing to silence the Democratic women leaders criticizing them. The EMILY’s List community — now more than five million members strong — has stood with Kirsten throughout her outstanding career of public service as she fights for women and families in New York State and across the country.