Born and raised in upstate New York, Kirsten Gillibrand inherited a dedication to public service from her grandmother and mother, who organized other women and served tirelessly in their communities. Drawing inspiration from these strong role models and others, Kirsten began her career as a young lawyer and then decided to pursue a path of public service to more directly help others whose voices weren’t being heard.
After switching careers and serving in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C., Kirsten decided to move home to upstate New York to raise her family and ultimately, to run a long-shot bid to represent her home district in Congress. With her two-year-old son Theo in tow, Kirsten ran for Congress in 2006 as an underdog for a seat held by a long-term Republican incumbent in a 2-1-majority-Republican district. Unafraid of the uphill battle and determined to bring commonsense ideas to the table, Kirsten won her election with calls for Congressional ethics reform, an end to the war in Iraq and Medicare for All.
In Congress, Kirsten wasted no time making her mark. She became the first member of Congress in history to post her official daily meetings, personal financial disclosures and earmark requests online for her constituents. The New York Times called it “a quiet touch of revolution.”
As the sixth woman ever to give birth while serving in Congress, and then as the mother of two young children while serving in the Senate, Kirsten brings a personal perspective to the fight for families’ economic and personal security. Tackling the economic issues facing families has become a key focus of Kirsten’s legislative agenda – which includes fighting for universal pre-K; affordable, high-quality day care; equal pay for equal work; and a national paid family and medical leave program. And because reproductive health care is part of many women’s economic realities, she has proudly stood up to protect women’s right to make decisions about their own health, to access birth control and to get health care at Planned Parenthood.
As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gillibrand has championed an agenda to improve access to benefits for our active military and worked to ensure that when service members return home, there are more job opportunities, educational and training tools and other key services easily available to them. Since her start in Congress, Kirsten has fought for veterans and their families. Following the tragedies of 9/11, Kirsten fought for robust and state-of-the art counterterrorism funding and tools, and national security grant funding to secure vulnerable cities and infrastructure.
Kirsten’s home is in Troy, New York, close to where she grew up. She lives with her husband, Jonathan, their two sons, 15-year-old Theo and 10-year-old Henry, and their dog, Maple. She loves to bake and plays tennis every chance she gets.