Profile / Biography of Kirsten Gillibrand, US Senator (D-NY)

Former Congressional Representative Takes Over Hillary Clinton's Senate Seat

Kirsten Gillibrand giving a speech at a podium.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Kirsten Rutnik Gillibrand


Representative for New York's 20th Congressional District from January 3, 2007 - January 23, 2009
Appointed by New York Governor David Paterson to New York's second seat in the US Senate on January 23, 2009, filling the vacancy created by Senator Hillary Clinton's appointment as US Secretary of State.

Childhood and Education

Born in Albany, NY on December 9, 1966, she was raised in the tri-city Capital Region of New York State.

Attended the Academy of the Holy Names, Albany, NY
Graduated from Emma Willard School in Troy, NY in 1984
Graduated from Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH in 1988, B.A. in Asian Studies
Graduated from University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1991, earning her J.D.

Professional Career

Attorney in the law firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner
Law Clerk, Second Circuit Court of Appeals

Political Career

During the Bill Clinton administration, Gillibrand served as Special Counsel to the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Andrew Cuomo.
Elected to the 110th and 111th Congress as Representative for New York's 20th Congressional District which stretches from the city of Poughkeepsie in the Hudson Valley to Lake Placid in the state's North Country. She is the district's first female representative.

Congressional Career

Served on the House Armed Services Committee and two of its subcommittees: Terrorism and Unconventional Threats and Capabilities; and Seapower and Expeditionary Forces. Served on the Agriculture Committee and three of its subcommittees: Livestock, Dairy and Poultry; Conservation, Credit, Energy and Research; and Horticulture and Organic Agriculture.

Co-founded the Congressional High Tech Caucus with the goal of ensuring that the US remains at the forefront of emerging technologies and high tech industries.

Gillibrand is strongly pro-gun. She comes from a family of hunters and has stated that "preserving [gun ownership] is a priority of mine in Congress....I will continue to oppose legislation that will restrict the rights of responsible gun owners."

She is also pro-choice and has received the highest rating given by the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL).

Gillibrand is a fiscal conservative, earning her the label "Blue Dog" Democrat; representing a primarily rural district, she voted against the $700 billion Wall Street bailout bill in 2008. She acknowledges that her voting record has veered conservative; she opposes a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, and in 2007 voted for funding to extend the Iraq war.

Family Political Connections

Gillibrand's father is Douglas Rutnik, an Albany lobbyist with strong political ties to several once-prominent and powerful New York Republicans including former Governor George Pataki and former Senator Al D'Amato.

Personal Life

Gillibrand is the product of a single-sex education, having attended two all-female schools: the Academy of the Holy Names in Albany, a Catholic college preparatory school, and the Emma Willard School, the first school for girls established in the US.

Married to Jonathan Gillibrand, she is the mother o two children -- four year old Theo and infant Henry . The family resides in Hudson, New York.

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Lowen, Linda. "Profile / Biography of Kirsten Gillibrand, US Senator (D-NY)." ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, Lowen, Linda. (2020, August 28). Profile / Biography of Kirsten Gillibrand, US Senator (D-NY). Retrieved from Lowen, Linda. "Profile / Biography of Kirsten Gillibrand, US Senator (D-NY)." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 7, 2023).