The 2020 Democrats: Kirsten Gillibrand

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Posted: Feb 04, 2019 12:00 PM
The 2020 Democrats: Kirsten Gillibrand

Source: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

*See our full list of 2020 Democrats here*

Quick Facts

Who: Kirsten Gillibrand

From: Albany, NY

Current Position: U.S. senator from New York since 2009

Campaign Website: kirstengillibrand.com

Background: In 1991, Gillibrand joined Davis Polk & Wardwell, a Manhattan-based law firm, as an associate. Her stint with the firm included defending tobacco company Philip Morris during a major litigation. She helped defend the company's executives against criminal investigation into perjury of their court testimonies. During this time, Gillibrand was made a senior associate at the firm. She left in 1992 to serve as a law clerk for Judge Roger Miner on the US Court of Appeals in Albany. Gillibrand would leave Miner in 2001 to become a partner at the Manhattan office of Boies, Schiller & Flexner. She would then leave the firm in 2006 to begin her run for Congress.

 2020 Campaign & Endorsements

  • Date Announced: March 17, 2019

  • Fundraising: $12.6 million raised in first quarter

  • Campaign Leadership: Jess Fassler

  • Key Endorsements: Carolyn B. Maloney

Political Positions

  • Gun control: In 2011, Gillibrand opposed a concealed-weapons bill, which would've prevented American citizens from carrying concealed weapons across state lines even if they were legally allowed to carry their weapons in their home states. She has recently sounded off on Congress's "inaction" on gun control, which she blames on "the greed of the NRA."
  • Abortion: Gillibrand is immovable in her stance on abortion and appears to support abortion up to at least 20 weeks. She supports federal abortion funding and co-sponsored the Women's Health Protection Act, which would remove some "obstacles" for individuals looking to obtain abortions, such as certain medical tests and in-person visits.
  • Criminal Justice: She supported Bernie Sanders' No Cash Bail Act proposed in 2018.
  • Health Care: She joined Sanders and 14 other sponsors in submitting the socialist Medicare for All Bill, which would cover medical insurance not covered by Medicare.
  • Immigration: She's in favor of abolishing ICE. She also sponsored the Dreamer Confidentiality Act, which would ban the DHS from passing DACA information to ICE and CBP.
  • Government Policy: She supported preservation of the Senate filibuster, opposed the Supreme Court Decision in the Citizens United v Federal Election Commission and supports the DISCLOSE Act.

Criticisms/Controversies

  • Gillibrand has drastically changed her stances on illegal immigration over the past decade. Asked about her former hardliner stances, including how she promoted deportations and opposed giving illegal immigrants drivers licenses, the senator explained, "they certainly weren't empathetic and they were not kind." This could hurt her in the primaries.
  • Her remarks on former president Bill Clinton drew some ire from other Democrats. She also led the charge against former Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) when he was facing charges of sexual harassment. This sting against her own party is still remembered by other Democrats and could hurt her chances for the Oval Office.

This piece is part of our Election 2020 series. See below for more information on the most talked about Democrats challenging President Trump. 

Who Is Joe Biden?

Who Is Bernie Sanders?

Who Is Elizabeth Warren?

Who Is Kamala Harris?

Who Is Pete Buttigieg?

Who Is Beto O’Rourke?

Who Is Kamala Harris?

Who Is Cory Booker?

Who Is Eric Swalwell?

Who Is Amy Klobuchar?