Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, and Al D'Amato have all helped Gillibrand. Carolyn McCarthy, Steve Israel, and Carolyn Maloney, all former colleagues of Gillibrand's in the House, have spoken out against her. Maloney may oppose her in the 2010 Democratic primary.
(Photo: Clockwise from top left, Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images; Ryan Kelly/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images; Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images; Alex Wong/Getty Images; Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times/Redux; Patrick McMullan; Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)
Gillibrand gave birth to her first child, Theo, in 2003, at the age of 36, when she was working at Boies, Schiller in Albany. She became pregnant with Henry shortly after she was elected to Congress. On May 14, 2008, she spent twelve hours on the floor of the House before going into labor. The birth of Henry Nelson Gillibrand was announced the next day to a standing ovation on the House floor.
The Gillibrands moved to Washington, D.C., when Kirsten became a congresswoman, in 2007, but they were still spending weekends in Hudson. Now they live almost exclusively in Washington. Jonathan works for a Washington real-estate investment trust. To take care of the kids after school or day care, the couple employs a babysitter or relies on family for help. Jonathan is not much interested in Washington political life. When we met in Washington, he told me about an exotic-car convention he was planning on attending in Florida. That’s much more my kind of thing, he said with a wry smile.
A friend of the family says Jonathan supports Kirsten’s political ambitions but is worried about the effect her career may have on their family. When she was thinking of making her name available for the Senate, he said, Sure, throw your hat in the ring,’ the friend says. But he never thought she would get it. Now he’s freaked out about the loss of privacy and his wife traveling so much. When I asked Gillibrand about Jonathan’s concerns, she said, My husband and I talked about the appointment. We said, Is this something that we are prepared to do as a family? Would I be good at this? Is this something where I could make a difference?’ And we decided that the impact you can have as a senator is extraordinary, because you could have a voice on all issues.
Gillibrand is, by all accounts, a dedicated parent. She drops off Theo at preschool and Henry at day care before her workday begins and tries to be home with them at night as early and often as possible. As a congressional representative, she would sometimes bring Theo to the House in the evenings. They have a cloakroom that has hot dogs and peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches and candy. For him it was, Oh, I want to go with you to the Capitol Building!’ While the large number of representatives allowed her to shift the time she spent presiding over the House, the Senate has proved less flexible. Shortly after her January appointment, Gillibrand was assigned a gavel time of between 5 and 7 p.m. on days the Senate was in session. Gillibrand went to the Senate leadership and explained that the time conflicted with Theo and Henry’s dinner-and-bedtime routine. She asked if she might switch with a senator without small kids. She was politely told no. (The decision was later reversed.)
Gillibrand is aware that being the mother of two young children can be a powerful connecting tool for a politician. I hate being away from my kids, but it’s no different than for a mom who is cleaning out offices from 4 p.m. to midnight, she says. My burden isn’t any greater than hers. She recently introduced legislation calling for stronger testing of potential toxins in baby products and, during a series of satellite interviews with New York television stations, deftly worked in the idea that she, as a mother of two small children, was shocked to find this kind of stuff in products I use every day.
Gillibrand’s voting record on women’s issues is brief, but strong: She has a 100 percent rating with naral Pro-Choice America, and has been active on equal-pay legislation. And she’s built a network of powerful women allies. One of the first calls Gillibrand made when she was contemplating a run for Congress was to a Hillary Clinton connection, Judith Hope, a Democratic National Committee member and founder of the Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy Committee, a fund-raising project aimed at encouraging pro-choice women to run for office. Once Gillibrand was appointed senator, Hope and other activists quickly rallied around her. The Eleanor Roosevelt types now see Hillary’s seat as a woman’s seat, says a frustrated staffer for a potential Gillibrand opponent. They’ve completely circled the wagons around Gillibrand.
With women still badly underrepresented in the Senate, liberal women activists are reluctant to bash Gillibrand, even if they disagree with her on policy issues. I got an earful from a Gillibrand friend when I suggested her House views were out of step with many Democrats. This is more important than another yes vote on immigration, the activist told me. We have the opportunity to keep a woman in the Senate from a major state like New York. The stakes are too high for ideological purity.
Read our 2017 Report Card for Gillibrand.
Gillibrand is shown as a purple triangle ▲ in our ideology-leadership chart below. Each dot is a member of the Senate positioned according to our liberal–conservative ideology score (left to right) and our leadership score (leaders are toward the top).
The chart is based on the bills Gillibrand has sponsored and cosponsored. See full analysis methodology.
Ratings from Advocacy Organizations
Kirsten Gillibrand sits on the following committees:
- Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry
- Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Livestock, Marketing, and Agriculture Security
- Member, Subcommittee on Commodities, Risk Management, and Trade
- Member, Subcommittee on Nutrition, Agricultural Research, and Specialty Crops
- Senate Committee on Armed Services
- Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
- Senate Special Committee on Aging
Gillibrand was the primary sponsor of 14 bills that were enacted. The most recent include:
- S. 3071 (114th): A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 7802 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights, New York, as the “Jeanne and Jules ...
- S. 2465 (114th): A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 15 Rochester Street in Bergen, New York, as the Barry G. Miller Post ...
- S. 2088 (114th): A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 90 Cornell Street in Kingston, New York, at the “Staff Sergeant Robert H. ...
- S. 1424 (114th): Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015
- S. 2056 (113th): A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 13127 Broadway Street in Alden, New York, as the “Sergeant Brett E. Gornewicz ...
- S. 2057 (113th): A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 198 Baker Street in Corning, New York, as the “Specialist Ryan P. Jayne ...
- S. 233 (113th): A bill to designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 815 County Road 23 in Tyrone, New York, as the “Specialist Christopher Scott ...
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We consider a bill enacted if one of the following is true: a) it is enacted itself, b) it has a companion bill in the other chamber (as identified by Congress) which was enacted, or c) if about one third or more of its provisions were incorporated into bills that were enacted (as determined by an automated text analysis, applicable beginning with bills in the 110th Congress).
Gillibrand sponsors bills primarily in these issue areas:
Health (18%)Agriculture and Food (15%)Government Operations and Politics (14%)Public Lands and Natural Resources (14%)Education (13%)Armed Forces and National Security (11%)Taxation (9%)Crime and Law Enforcement (7%)
Some of Gillibrand’s most recently sponsored bills include...
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|Gillibrand’s Vote||Vote Description|
|Nay||H.R. 2810: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018|
Sep 18, 2017. Bill Passed 89/8.
H.R. 2810 authorizes and prioritizes funding for the Department of Defense (DoD) and military activities and construction, and prescribes military personnel strengths for Fiscal Year 2018. The bill authorizes $613.8 billion in base funding, including a $28.5 billion increase above the President’s budget for essential ...
|Yea||H.R. 5325: Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2017|
Sep 28, 2016. Bill Passed 72/26.
|Nay||S. 2943: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017|
Jun 14, 2016. Bill Passed 85/13.
|Nay||On the Nomination PN1152: John B. King, of New York, to be Secretary of Education|
Mar 14, 2016. Nomination Confirmed 49/40.
|Yea||H.R. 22: Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy Act|
Dec 3, 2015. Conference Report Agreed to 83/16.
H.R 22, formerly the Hire More Heroes Act, has become the Senate’s vehicle for passage of the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy Act or DRIVE Act (S. 1647). The DRIVE Act is a major bipartisan transportation bill that would authorize funding ...
|Yea||H.J.Res. 3 (111th): Relating to the disapproval of obligations under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.|
Jan 22, 2009. Passed 270/155.
|Nay||H.Res. 1284 (110th): Providing for consideration of the Senate amendments to the House amendments to the Senate amendment to the ...|
Jun 19, 2008. Passed 342/83.
|No||H.R. 2634 (110th): Jubilee Act for Responsible Lending and Expanded Debt Cancellation of 2008|
Apr 16, 2008. Passed 285/132.
|Aye||H.Res. 801 (110th): Providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 3688) to implement the United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement.|
Nov 7, 2007. Passed 349/55.
|Yea||H.R. 1830 (110th): To extend the authorities of the Andean Trade Preference Act until February 29, 2008.|
Jun 27, 2007. Passed 365/59.
From Jan 2009 to Mar 2018, Gillibrand missed 21 of 2,701 roll call votes, which is 0.8%. This is better than the median of 1.4% among the lifetime records of senators currently serving. The chart below reports missed votes over time.
Show the numbers...
|Time Period||Votes Eligible||Missed Votes||Percent||Percentile|
The information on this page is originally sourced from a variety of materials, including:
Kirsten Gillibrand is pronounced:
KEER-stun // JIL-uh-brand
The letters stand for sounds according to the following table:
|Letter||Sounds As In|
Capital letters indicate a stressed syllable.