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Office Hours with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

United States Senator from New York

About Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, United States Senator from New York

Kirsten E. Gillibrand was first sworn in as United States Senator from New York in January 2009. In November 2012, Gillibrand was elected to her first six-year Senate term with 72 percent of the vote, winning 60 of New York’s 62 counties.

Prior to her service in the Senate, Gillibrand served in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing New York's 20th Congressional District, which spanned 10 counties in upstate New York.

Throughout her time in Congress, Senator Gillibrand has been committed to open and honest government. When she was first elected, she pledged to bring unprecedented transparency and access to her post. And she did, becoming the first Member of Congress to post her official public schedule, personal financial disclosure, and federal earmark requests online. The New York Times called Gillibrand's commitment to transparency a "quiet touch of revolution" in Washington, and The Sunlight Foundation, the leading advocacy organization dedicated to making government more open and transparent, praised Senator Gillibrand as a pioneer for her work.

And she hasn’t let up since. In 2012, Senator Gillibrand became the first Senator in history to publish her personal tax returns for every year she has served in office directly on her own website, and led the effort to pass the STOCK Act, legislation to finally make insider trading by members of Congress illegal, making them play by the exact same set of rules as every other American. A Washington Post report hailed the STOCK Act as the “most substantial debate on congressional ethics in nearly five years.”

In the U.S. Senate, Senator Gillibrand has made her presence felt, helping lead the fight to repeal "Don't Ask Don't Tell," the policy that banned gays from serving openly in the military, and providing health care and compensation to the 9/11 first responders and community survivors that are sick with diseases caused by the toxins at Ground Zero. Senator Gillibrand worked to bring Democrats and Republicans together to win both legislative victories, leading Newsweek/The Daily Beast to name Senator Gillibrand one of “150 Women Who Shake the World.”

As the mother of two young children, Senator Gillibrand knows that working families are struggling in this difficult economy. By making quality child care and higher education more affordable, providing property tax relief and keeping our neighborhoods safe, Senator Gillibrand's legislative agenda puts middle class and working families first. She has written legislation to address the country's nursing shortage, make quality autism treatment more affordable, improve asthma treatment for children, and ensure that drinking water and baby products are safe for consumers. And she led the way to take drop-side cribs that were responsible for the deaths of infants off the market.

Senator Gillibrand's number one priority is to rebuild the American economy, by creating good-paying jobs, helping small businesses get loans, and partnering with the private sector to foster innovation and entrepreneurship. She wrote new legislation to strengthen and retool New York’s manufacturers, and stamp more products with the words “Made in America,” and create new manufacturing jobs in New York.

As the first New York Senator to sit on the Agriculture Committee in nearly 40 years, Senator Gillibrand is giving New York families the seat at the table they deserve as Congress debates food policy. She worked hard to strengthen the 2012 Farm Bill for New York by strengthening specialty crops, expanding rural broadband, improving recovery efforts from natural disasters, and protect access to nutrition assistance for struggling children and families.

After serving on the Armed Services Committee in the House, Senator Gillibrand is again serving on the Senate Armed Services, using her position to strengthen America's armed services, national security and military readiness, and to continue fighting for America's troops and military families by creating better economic opportunities for veterans returning home to their families today. Among her top priorities for the 113th Congress, is ending the scourge of sexual violence in the military, and strengthening the rights and protections of victims of sexual assault.

From her seat on the Aging Committee, Senator Gillibrand is committed to fighting on behalf of seniors, working to lower the cost of prescription drugs, make long-term care more affordable so seniors can remain independent for as long as they are able, and protecting seniors from financial fraud. Senator Gillibrand is also working to lower property taxes, co-sponsoring legislation that would give New York residents a full federal tax deduction for their property taxes.

After attending Albany's Academy of Holy Names, Senator Gillibrand graduated in 1984 from Emma Willard School in Troy, New York, the first all women's high school in the United States. A magna cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College in 1988, Gillibrand went on to receive her law degree from the UCLA School of Law in 1991 and served as a law clerk on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

After working as an attorney in New York City for more than a decade, Senator Gillibrand served as Special Counsel to United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Andrew Cuomo during the Clinton Administration. She then worked as an attorney in Upstate New York before becoming a member of Congress.

Born and raised in upstate New York, Senator Gillibrand now lives in Brunswick, New York, with her husband, Jonathan Gillibrand, and their two young sons, nine-year-old Theodore and four-year-old Henry.

Interviewed by Caroline Ghosn, Co-Founder and CEO

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