Kirsten Gillibrand: The 7 Issues Guide


The Democrats have a big field of candidates running for President in 2020. To briefly use a sports analogy, I see our candidates as the starting players on the Blue team, each bringing their own unique strengths to the table in a bid to take our country in a very different direction than the one we’re on today.

But as we well know from 2016, the media (and especially social media) gets fixated on non-substantial issues that take up all the oxygen. Plus, they don’t give the candidates the same treatment or the same amount of airtime.

In order to help voters get to know the Democratic candidates, I’ve enlisted the help of a team of terrific volunteers who have helped gather quotes and information about what the candidates have said or done in regards to the 7 issues that midterm voters identified as the most important. I hope that these guides serve as a helpful starting point for you as you look into which candidates (or how many candidates!) you are interested in supporting in their bid to become our next President.

Today, let’s get to know Kirsten Gillibrand!


Career Highlights

✦ Current U.S. Senator from New York
✦ Former U.S. Representative from New York’s 20th District
✦ Former attorney at Davis Polk & Wardwell and Boies, Schiller & Flexner



Affordable Healthcare: “She’s also proposed an expansion of the Basic Health Program, a benefits coverage program for low-income citizens, so that states can offer cheaper insurance to more people. It’s Gillibrand’s aim to make health insurance more affordable and accessible to low-income families.” Source

Medicare for All: “Gillibrand is a proponent of Medicare for All, a form of single-payer health insurance, which would replace private health insurance with a government-run health care system in the U.S.” She continues to say that allowing people to buy into Medicare is the fastest way to extend coverage. Source 

Drug Prices:Gillibrand has actively fought rising drug prices. In February 2019, she and Sen. Sherrod Brown re-introduced the Stop Price Gouging Act, their bill from the 2016 Congress. The legislation would “penalize pharmaceutical companies that engage in price gouging without cause, leading to price spikes for patients who rely on medication to treat diseases ranging from cancer to addiction.” Source

Legislation: “[Gillibrand] helped pass the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which provides treatment to responders and survivors of the Sept. 11 attacks. Those exposed to the disaster now receive health monitoring and services for 9/11-related health problems until 2090.” Source 

Pro-Choice: “She is committed to protecting and defending women’s access to the full range of reproductive health care services. Her support for reproductive rights has earned her a 100 percent rating from the National Organization for Women, Planned Parenthood, and NARAL: Pro-Choice America.” Source


Climate Change

Paris Climate Accord: “A decision by President Trump to leave the Paris Accord would be irresponsibly shortsighted and harmful to the United States. There is no credible doubt that climate change is real and is caused by human activity. … Our children’s generation will have to deal with the potentially catastrophic effects of a shortsighted and dangerous decision to leave the Paris Accord, and I urge all New Yorkers and all Americans who care about our health, our security, and our economy to raise their voices and speak out forcefully against this reported decision.” Source 

Green New Deal: Gillibrand backs the Green New Deal. “Climate change is an immediate and catastrophic threat to our future. And yes, it’s real. We need to: get to net-zero carbon emissions, invest in clean energy and green jobs, update infrastructure and build community resiliency.” Source 

Carbon Emissions: “Writing in the Wall Street Journal in 2009, Gillibrand proposed establishing a cap-and-trade commodity market to mandate a limit on carbon emissions and allow businesses to trade their emissions allowances as commodities. In addition, she has proposed the “Keep it in the Ground Act,” which would ban any new leases for gas or oil drilling on federal lands.” Source 

Legislation: Gillibrand was the primary sponsor of the Microbead-Free Waters Act which was signed into law in 2015. The bill prohibits the sale or distribution of cosmetics containing synthetic plastic microbeads. Source

Voting Accountability: The League of Conservation Voters gives Gillibrand a 95% lifetime score (and 100% in 2018) for her pro-environment voting record. Source


Civil Rights

LGBTQ Rights: “On gay rights, Gillibrand pushed to end the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell”policy that required members of the military who identified as gay or lesbian to keep their sexual preferences secret. She supported same-sex marriage before it was legalized at the state level in New York. More recently, she opposed the Trump administration’s attempt to ban transgender Americans from serving in the military.” Source 

Marriage Equality: “On the morning of her appointment to the Senate, she called the Empire State Pride Agenda to reiterate her full support for same-sex marriage. Gillibrand also supported the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. In April 2009, Gillibrand endorsed Governor Paterson’s proposed legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in New York.” Source 

Transgender Rights: “Gillibrand, the Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee, today led a bipartisan group of 50 Senators in a letter to Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis opposing the Trump Administration’s ban on transgender service members and decrying the Secretary’s implementation recommendations for the ban.” Source 

Fighting Sexual Assault: “Throughout her career in the Senate, Gillibrand has been a crusader for survivors of sexual assault. In 2014 she worked on the Campus Accountability and Safety Act, which would increase resources and training for combating sexual assault on college campuses. She’s also fought for sexual assault reform in the military.” Source

Disability Rights: Gillibrand is a cosponsor of Sen. Schumer’s Disability Integration Act, “federal legislation intended to ensure that people with disabilities can live in the community rather than be forced into nursing facilities and other institutions.” Source

Criminal Justice Reform: Gillibrand has proposed ending the federal cash bail system. “The junior senator from New York says the current system results in a disproportionate number of low-income people being locked up, even if they have not yet been convicted of a crime. The No Money Bail Act would encourage states to establish a pre-trial system based on the crime an individual is arrested for, or their prior criminal history.” Source


Gun Reform

Revised Stance on Guns: “Now on guns, I should have done more. I regret not caring about other communities. My community didn’t have the gun violence that other parts of the state had. And in fact, the biggest issue for upstate New York was hunting rights. My mother didn’t just cook the Thanksgiving turkey, she shot the Thanksgiving turkey, so I came from a different lens. But, what I regret is that I should have cared more about ending gun violence in other places. And so the first thing I did when I became a Senator was I met with families who lost their loved ones to gun violence. And when you meet a mother or father who has lost a child to gun violence there is no way you will ever not answer them directly and say, ‘I will do something to end gun violence.’” Source

Assault Weapons: “She supports reinstating a ban on assault weapons and banning high-capacity magazines, as well as other restrictions.” Source

Background Checks: “She opposes the idea of a national concealed carry policy and favors a number of other restrictions, including closing the “gun show loophole,” requiring background checks for all gun purchases, and increasing restrictions on domestic abusers.” Source 

Gun Trafficking: “America has no federal law criminalizing gun trafficking across state lines, making it harder to stop the flow of illegal guns up the Iron Pipeline or prosecute traffickers. Last week I reintroduced my bill [the Gun Trafficking and Crime Prevention Act] to fix that. We need to keep illegal guns off our streets and save lives.” Source 


Voting Rights

Voter Registration: “In 2014, Gillibrand proposed expanded voter registration, including online registration and modernization of registration systems.” Source 

Improving Voting:In 2016, she was a co-sponsor of the Voter Empowerment Act, reintroduced in the Senate. This bill improves voter registration, enhances the safety of voting systems, and reauthorizes the Election Assistance Commission.” Source 

Judicial Opposition: Gillibrand opposed the confirmation of Thomas Farr for a lifetime seat on the federal bench because of his discriminatory record on voting rights. Source 

Restoring the Voting Rights Act:  “The Voting Rights Act has been a cornerstone of ensuring the rights won in the Civil Rights movement continue to stand strong today. The Supreme Court’s ruling is a significant setback that will put Congress to the test of whether we can move quickly and without partisanship. I urge my colleagues to meet that test.” Source 


Economic Inequality

Taxes: “This past summer, she told a crowd that she would support a tax on financial transactions in the stock market, which the New York Times wrote “once would have been unthinkable for a senator from New York, the epicenter of Wall Street money and influence, to back a tax so targeted at her own constituents.” Source 

Minimum Wage: She supports a $15 minimum wage. Source

Equal Pay: “Kirsten really took these issues of family and workplace for women and lifted them up in such a way that they are now the centerpiece of so many conversations in Washington. She deserves a lot of credit for really taking these issues…and putting a big spotlight on them, and saying this is the time, we have to get serious about this. This is not some side issue. This is actually the cornerstone of economic opportunity for American families.” Source

Paid Leave: “The best way to provide national paid leave is to make it an earned benefit.” Gillibrand, alongside Rep. Rosa DeLauro, has reintroduced the FAMILY Act, a plan that would guarantee new parents and other caregivers 12 weeks of paid leave. She’s been talking about this idea for more than five years, and it’s one that would be especially helpful for lower-income families, who often don’t have jobs with paid maternity leave. Source

Automation & Jobs: “She also opposed the bank bailouts after the financial crisis in 2008, she’s endorsed a federal jobs guarantee, and she’s supported training people who lose jobs to automation.” Source 


Foreign Affairs

Russia: “During December 2018, in response to President Trump’s October announcement that he intended to withdraw the United States from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, Gillibrand was one of seven senators to cosponsor the Prevention of Arms Race Act of 2018, legislation prohibiting funding for a U.S. ground-launched or ballistic missile that had “a range of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers” until the administration provided a report meeting five specific conditions. Gillibrand also cosponsored this legislation when it was reintroduced by Senator Jeff Merkley in the 116th United States Congress.” Source

North Korea: “In 2018, after President Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un about denuclearization, Gillibrand said, “I’m very grateful that President Trump is trying diplomacy as oppose to military action because that’s was what his first take was. So, I am grateful that he is making the effort to try diplomacy and to try to bring people together towards a peaceful resolution.” Source

Iran: Gillibrand was the primary sponsor of the Syria Human Rights Accountability Act which was incorporated into the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act and signed into law on 2012. Source

Saudi Arabia: Gillibrand wants the U.S. to stop supporting Saudi Arabia. “Saudi Arabia is using American-made bombs to terrorize Yemeni civilians with airstrikes that have killed thousands of civilians—and millions are without food and access to medical care. The Senate must do everything it can to end this humanitarian crisis.” Source


Legislative Record (includes enacted legislation & bills sponsored): Kirsten Gillibrand

Campaign website: Gillibrand 2020


Check out all of our 7 Issues Guides: Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Julian Castro, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Kirsten Gillibrand, Jay Inslee, John Hickenlooper, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, John Delaney, Joe Biden, Eric Swalwell


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4 replies

  1. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    Today I bring you the 7th installment of TokyoSand’s excellent series, The 7 Issues Guide, helping us get to know a bit about the platforms of the democratic candidates running for the office of president next year. Kirsten Gillibrand is on deck today, and she is one that I know very little about. Thank you, TokyoSand, and your diligent volunteers, for helping us get to know Ms. Gillibrand!

  2. Reblogged this on Bennet Kelley's Clippings & More and commented:
    The latest Seven Issues guide for 2020 candidates from Political Charge – this edition focuses on NY Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

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