Five Reasons To Keep An Eye On Senator Gillibrand
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was appointed to the US Senate by Governor David Paterson in 2009 to fill the vacancy left by Hillary Clinton when she was selected by President Obama to serve as Secretary of State. Previously, Gillibrand spent two terms representing New York's 20th Congressional District in the House of Representatives. Many were surprised by Paterson's appointment of a relatively unknown Democrat from the mostly rural district that represents the Catskill, Adirondack, and Hudson Valley areas of upstate New York. New Yorkers outside of her district may not have been familiar with Senator Gillibrand before her Senate appointment, but for the past two years she has been turning the heads of those who might be looking for an alternative to Hillary for next woman President.
Senator Gillibrand will be running for reelection to the Senate in 2012. There has already been talk about the possibility of Gillibrand running for President in 2016, though Senator Gillibrand has made no statement on that possibility as of today. Nonetheless, here are five reasons to keep your eyes on Senator Gillibrand through the next political election.
1. She's pro-choice.
Senator Gillibrand has continually defended a woman's right to make decisions about her reproductive health. During the Health Care debates in 2009, Gillibrand spoke out against the Stupak Amendment, which would have severely limited access to abortions in this country.
2. She supports LGBTQ rights.
Senator Gillibrand was instrumental in repealing military's discriminatory Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. She has also spoken against the Defense of Marriage Act, along with Senators Feinstein and Leahy, introduced a bill to repeal the law. Gillibrand also supported the legalization of gay marriage in the state of New York.
3. She wants women more involved in politics.
Senator Gillibrand launched Off The Sidelines, a movement to encourage women to engage in their communities, vote, advocate, and participate in the current political climate that often discourages such involvement.
4. She calls herself a feminist!
Unlike many politicians who treat it as a dirty word, Gillibrand is not afraid of calling herself a feminist:
"Yes. Feminism represents a core belief that women matter and that their contributions and views are both valuable and necessary for the growth and success of families and communities....I have focused on women and family issues since my first term in Congress. I am committed to fair and equal pay for women in the workplace, addressing maternal mortality issues in America and abroad, and protecting reproductive rights for women."
5. She's not too radical.
Though she has always supported reproductive rights, the distict that Senator Gillibrand served while in the House of Representatives was actually very conservative. Senator Gillibrand often supports measures that are fiscally conservative while socially liberal, which puts her in a position to be popular even among Baby Boomers who might be reluctant to vote Democrat due to our increasing budget issues. Eventually, feminists would love to see a woman in politics who can bring up Judith Butler in a Congressional debate, but we need to first take the baby steps to show America that a feminist President would be a very good thing.
Yes, keep your eye on Senator Gillibrand - she's definitely a beacon of hope for women in politics.
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