Kirsten Gillibrand on the issues, in under 500 words
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call
Editor's Note: Gillibrand dropped out of contention for the Democratic presidential nomination on Aug. 28, 2019. Below is our original article on her candidacy.
Kirsten Gillibrand is a Democratic senator from New York known for her #MeToo advocacy and positions to protect sexual assault victims. Once a moderate congresswoman from a red district, she made a progressive turn after becoming senator.
- Current position: New York senator — 10 years served
- Age: 52
- Born: Albany, New York
- Undergraduate: Dartmouth
- Date candidacy announced: March 17
- % of votes in line with Trump, per FiveThirtyEight: 11.7% (lowest of any senator)
- Previous roles: U.S. Representative (N.Y.-20), corporate attorney, 2000 Hillary Clinton Senate campaign
Stance on key issues:
- Sexual assault: A leading voice in Congress on #MeToo. In 2013, she introduced the Military Justice Improvement Act to reform how sexual assault complaints are handled. She has also called for colleges and universities to reform how they handle assault cases.
- Gillibrand was the first to call for Sen. Al Franken to resign and said Bill Clinton should have resigned because of the Monica Lewinsky affair.
- She has also called for President Trump to resign because of sexual assault allegations.
- Medicare for All: Co-sponsored
- Green New Deal: Voiced strong support
- Gun control: As a representative, she advocated for gun rights and had an 'A' rating from the NRA. Since getting elected to the Senate, she is now a vocal proponent of stricter gun control.
- Campaign finance: Proposed a plan in which eligible voters opt into a "Democracy Dollars" program for fundraising. Voters would get $200 in vouchers for federal races, provided by the FEC.
- Wants to reverse Citizens United; pledged not to take money from corporate PACs.
- Tax returns: The first 2020 candidate to release her 2018 tax returns. Called on opponents to do the same.
- Immigration: Supports comprehensive immigration reform — suggests reforming ICE.
- "The part of ICE that's gonna survive under Homeland Security is the cross border terrorism, human trafficking, gun trafficking, and drug trafficking," she said in April. She said the resulting organization should be fully funded under a new name, and "enforcement and removal" functions would become DOJ's responsibility.
- Abortion: Pledged that if elected, she would only nominate judges that would uphold Roe v. Wade and protect reproductive rights.
- Foreign policy: Aims to emphasize diplomacy, alliance-building and bringing American troops home.
- Climate change: Released a plan to reach 100% clean electricity in a decade and phase out fossil fuels.
- 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 remain upset that Gillibrand worked to oust Franken from the Senate without a hearing.
- Staff sexual harassment: One of Gillibrand's staffers resigned over the handling of a sexual harassment complaint against an aides, showing her office to be at odds with her public persona as a champion of sexual harassment victims.
1 fun thing:
Per Politico, her former nickname was "Elbows" because of her "aggressive manner on the squash courts of Dartmouth."