Here is a look at the life of Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democratic senator from New York and a former Democratic presidential candidate for 2020.
Birth date: December 9, 1966
Birth place: Albany, New York
Birth name: Kirsten Elizabeth Rutnik
Father: Douglas Paul Rutnik, attorney and lobbyist
Mother: Polly (Noonan) Rutnik, attorney
Marriage: Jonathan Gillibrand
Children: Theodore and Henry
Education: Dartmouth College, A.B., 1988 (Asian studies); University of California, Los Angeles, J.D., 1991
Her first name is pronounced “Keer-sten.”
Speaks Mandarin Chinese. She studied in Taiwan and China during her undergraduate studies at Dartmouth.
Has been a primary force behind legislation that would remove sexual assault allegations from the chain of command in the military, allowing a prosecutor, not the commander, to handle them.
Has introduced a universal paid family leave bill every year between 2014-2019.
Was a member of the Blue Dog Coalition while in Congress.
Prior to her appointment to the Senate, she held conservative positions on gun control and immigration. She since has apologized and expressed remorse over her past record.
1991-2000 – Associate attorney at the law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell. During her tenure with the law firm, she represented tobacco company Philip Morris.
2000 – Special counsel to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo.
2001-2005 – Works for the law firm of Boies Schiller Flexner LLP.
January 3, 2007-January 26, 2009 – Represents New York’s 20th Congressional District, a traditionally Republican area surrounding Albany. Gillibrand garnered 53% of the vote against four-term incumbent John Sweeney (R).
January 23, 2009 – Appointed by Governor David Paterson to fill Hillary Clinton’s US Senate seat in New York when Clinton was named Secretary of State. She resigns her House seat and is sworn as a US Senator three days later.
2010 – Wins the special primary election for her appointed NY Senate seat with 76% of the vote, defeating Gail Goode.
2012 – Is re-elected to the Senate with 72% of the vote.
September 9, 2014 – Her memoir, “Off the Sidelines,” is published.
November 15, 2017 – Announces a bill to reform how allegations of sexual misconduct by staff members in congressional offices are handled. The Congressional Harassment Reform Act of 2017 would make it easier for victims to speak out about their experiences and would require yearly sexual harassment trainings for all personnel.
December 6, 2017 – Is the first of 32 Democratic senators to call for the resignation of Al Franken after allegations of sexual misconduct from at least six women are made public.
2018 – Is re-elected to the Senate with 67% of the vote.
January 16, 2019 – Announces she is forming an exploratory committee for the 2020 presidential race.
March 11, 2019 – Gillibrand defends her handling of an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment made against a senior staffer in July 2018. The accuser told Gillibrand, her chief of staff Jess Fassler and general counsel Keith Castaldo that she was offering her resignation “because of how poorly the investigation and post-investigation was handled,” according to a letter obtained by CNN and first reported by Politico.
March 17, 2019 – Officially declares her Democratic candidacy for president via YouTube.
August 28, 2019 – Gillibrand announces she is ending her presidential campaign with a video posted on social media.
March 3, 2022 – Biden signs the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021 into law after Gillibrand and other bipartisan lawmakers worked for more than four years to pass the largest workplace reform in decades. The law frees victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault to seek justice in court when they had previously been bound to a closed, often-secretive legal arbitration proceeding.