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Kirsten Gillibrand on the issues, in under 500 words

Kirsten Gillibrand
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

Kirsten Gillibrand is a Democratic senator from New York known for her #MeToo advocacy and policy positions to protect sexual assault victims. Once a moderate as a congresswoman from a red district, she made a progressive turn after becoming senator, and now holds views considered further left than the liberal consensus.

Key facts about Kirsten Gillibrand:

  • Current position: Senator from New York — 10 years served
  • Age: 52
  • Born: Albany, New York
  • Undergraduate: Dartmouth
  • Date candidacy announced: March 17 (exploratory committee announcement on Jan. 15)
  • % of votes in line with Trump, per FiveThirtyEight: 11.7% (lowest of any senator)
  • Previous roles: U.S. Representative (NY-20), corporate attorney, worked for 2000 Hillary Clinton Senate campaign

Kirsten Gillibrand's stance on key issues:

  • Sexual assault: Gillibrand has been one of the leading voices in Congress on #MeToo. In 2013, she introduced the Military Justice Improvement Act to reform how sexual assault complaints are handled in the U.S. military justice system and chain of command. She has also called for colleges and universities to reform how they handle sexual assault cases.
  • Medicare for All: Co-sponsored.
  • Green New Deal: Voiced strong support.
  • Gun control: As a representative, she was an advocate for gun rights and had an 'A' rating from the NRA. But since joining the Senate, she has made an about-face and is now a vocal proponent of stricter gun control laws.
  • Campaign finance: Proposed a plan where eligible voters would opt into a "Democracy Dollars" program for campaign fundraising. Voters would get $200 in vouchers for each federal race, provided by the Federal Elections Commission (FEC).
    • Wants to reverse Citizens United; has pledged not to take money from corporate PACs, like most other 2020 Democratic contenders.
  • Tax returns: Became the first 2020 candidate to release her 2018 tax returns and called on her opponents to do the same.
  • Immigration: Supports comprehensive immigration reform — has suggested eliminating and reimagining ICE.
  • Abortion: Gillibrand pledged in a Medium post that if she were elected president, she would only nominate judges that will uphold Roe v. Wade and protect reproductive rights: "A woman’s right to make her own personal health decisions is nonnegotiable," she wrote.

Key criticisms of Kirsten Gillibrand:

  • Conservative track record: During her time as a member of the conservative Democrats Blue Dog Coalition when she represented New York's 20th district, Gillibrand had an 'A' rating from the NRA and opposed amnesty for undocumented immigrants.
  • Al Franken: Some Democrats are upset that Gillibrand moved to oust Franken from the Senate without a public hearing.
  • Staff sexual harassment: One of Gillibrand's staffers resigned over the handling of a sexual harassment complaint against one of the senator's closest aides, showing her office to be at odds with her public persona as a champion of sexual harassment victims.

1 fun thing about Kirsten Gillibrand:

Per Politico, her college nickname was "Elbows" because of her "aggressive manner on the squash courts of Dartmouth."