The 2020 election is heating tf up and we’re not even done with January of 2019. I’m already pre-exhausted. That said, some exciting candidates have joined the Democratic primary so far and now we’ve got Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York to add to that list. Last week Senator Gillibrand announced she’s opening an exploratory committee to become president, which is like the first step to running. (Kind of like how putting on your sweatpants is the first step toward staying all night.)
Here’s everything you need to know about the Senator from New York who could be the first female president.
TONIGHT: @SenGillibrand stops by @colbertlateshow to announce that she is forming an exploratory committee to run for President of the United States! #LSSC pic.twitter.com/vPUpF1gs8z
— The Late Show (@colbertlateshow) January 15, 2019
Who Is Kirsten Gillibrand?
Kirsten Gillibrand is the junior senator from New York (Chuck Schumer is the senior) and she’s most known for her work around sexual assault in the military and her advocacy for the #MeToo movement. Senator Gillibrand joined the Senate in 2010, where she worked on bills to end sexual assault in the military and to end sexual harassment. (Sounds good to me.) She was also the first senator to call for Al Franken to resign and has strongly criticized Bill Clinton even though they’re in the same party so and least we know she’s f*cking around when it comes to speaking out against abuse.
So What Are The Pros?
Gillibrand is running a suuuuper feminist campaign, so if you’re into that kind of thing, she’s might be your girl. (And if you’re not into that kind of thing…bye?) She’s dedicated her life to helping women, particularly assault victims, and she’s repeatedly introduced legislation to provide paid family leave up to twelve weeks for both mothers and fathers. (For reference: Norway gives 93 weeks at 49% of your salary sooooo maybe try procreating with a Norwegian?) She also worked to provide ongoing healthcare coverage for 9/11 first responders and was part of repealing “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” so yeah, her record kind of rocks.
Also — and this is significantly less important — I think it would be fun to have a president named Kirsten.
But What Are The Cons?
Gillibrand’s decision to call for Al Franken’s resignation is still pretty controversial, with some Democrats saying she was too harsh on the senator after allegations that he groped several women with photographic evidence. You decide where you stand on that one.
Gillibrand has also come under fire for her evolving position on guns, and she once had an “A” rating from the NRA. She’s since said she’s “embarrassed” by her past positions on guns and even went so far as to call out the NRA saying they are “not about hunters’ rights its about money.”
She’s also had to apologize for some of her past immigration positions, including opposing amnesty and sanctuary cities and voting against an NY bill that would have allowed undocumented immigrants to have drivers licenses. Gillibrand now supports immigration reform, and voted against a bipartisan budget deal that didn’t include protections for DACA. Sooo yeah, our girl Kirsten does appear to have changed her mind on a lot of these key issues, but it’s up to the voters to decide if she did that because she genuinely had a change of heart, or just because she wanted to be pres someday.
Where Can I Find Out More?
To find out more about Gillibrand and her campaign, check out her website. It’s never too early to start daydreaming about the next president!
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For many betches, the 2016 election was a painful reminder of how far women still have to go to earn equal representation in government. Like, it’s pretty hard to argue that women are equal when the American people were given the opportunity to choose between a former FLOTUS-turned-senator turned-Secretary-of-State and a racist Cheeto who runs beauty pageants and they made the Cheeto president (still not over it, sorry). In the U.S., women hold only 19.4% of the seats in Congress, with 83 women serving in the house and and 21 serving in the senate (78 Democrats, and 26 Republicans), and given that it’s been a casual 97 years since women earned the right to vote, those numbers are a fucking mess. Also, kind of puts how shittily our government is running these days into perspective. Like, oh you guys are having trouble communicating with the American people? Hmmm…I wonder what group of people could be missing from government that are also notoriously good communicators…hmm….
All that being said, there are badass betches in our government rocking blazers and telling men to STFU every day, and you should know who tf they are so that you know who to turn to when a large group of men try to do something crazy like defund Planned Parenthood.
1. MAXINE WATERS (D, CA)
If you have not already been inducted into the Church of Maxine, then sit your ass down because it is time to hear the good word. Maxine Waters, whose most recent TBT included a photo of her just casually chilling with Coretta Scott King, does not play, and has not played for a long fucking time. Mad Max has been in Congress since 1991, where she was an outspoken opponent of the shitshow commonly referred to as “The Iraq War.” Maxine currently serves as the representative from California’s 43rd district and is the most senior black woman in Congress, where she served as the head of the Congressional Black Congress from 1997-1998 (some of my best years, TBH). Most importantly, Maxine is a fucking baller with a notoriously low amount of fucks to give. Need an example? Check out this epic, mic-dropping press conference she gave literally moments after being briefed by FBI director James Comey, and then I’ll see you for Sunday for worship.
Maxine Waters is fed up with it all. pic.twitter.com/GiIhchM8Oy
— Philip Lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) January 16, 2017
2. ELIZABETH WARREN (D, MA)
If you have ever used the internet (and you have, cuz you’re like…reading this now) you have definitely seen one of the ten thousand incredible viral takedowns that Sen. Elizabeth Warren serves up daily. Warren took office in 2013, making her the first female Senator from Massachusetts, and she promptly got to work fixing what was fucked. Most notably, Lizzie served as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was created by Obama after the 2008 financial crisis (another thing that was primarily men’s fault) where she rose to prominence and Assistant to the President (Obama not….the other one) and Special Advisory to the Secretary of the Treasury. Since that time, Liz has become one of the boss betches of American politics, using her prominent platform to publicly roast anyone that she deems worthy of roasting. Liz has repeatedly said she has no interest in running for President, but hey, even Donald Trump said that in the eighties and look where the fuck we are now.
3. TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D,IL)
For most people, losing both your legs and damaging your right arm during military service in Iraq seems like a pretty reasonable point to say “I’m out” work-wise, but Tammy Duckworth of Illinois is not most people. That’s right. Before being elected to Congress in Illinois, Tammy lost both her fucking legs in Iraq and said, “Nah I’m not done yet.” Not only is Tammy the first disabled woman elected to the House of Representatives, she’s also the first Asian American woman elected in Illinois, and the first female double amputee from war in U.S. military history. So yeah, being the “first” comes pretty easily to Tammy. You know, I can actually think of another government job desperately in need of a woman that Tammy would be peeeerrfect for.
4. WENDY DAVIS (D, TX)
While Wendy is not technically in government right now, she did serve as representative for Texas’ 10th district in the Texas State Senate from 2009 to 2015, where she rose to prominence after holding an eleven-hour-long filibuster in opposition to Senate Bill 5, a measure that helped to continue Texas’ embarrassing obsession with restricting abortion rights. You’re thinking “That’s NBD, I could talk for eleven hours no problem, just ask my bf,” but could you do it…without sitting down? Or peeing? Or drinking wine? Yeah. Probs not.
5. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D, NY)
Kirsten Gillibrand was elected Senator from New York in 2009, taking over the seat vacated by Hillary Clinton (heard of her?) and she has not stopped balling since. Sen. Gillibrand was the only member of the Senate to vote “no” on every Trump appointee besides Nikki Haley for U.N. Ambassador and has been an outspoken advocate for women’s rights. Also, thanks to her we now have someone in Congress named “Kirsten,” which is honestly a win for women with basic names everywhere.
6. TAMMY BALDWIN (D, WI)
Tammy Baldwin and her collection of kickass purple blazers was elected to the Senate in 2012, making her the first openly gay U.S. Senator in history. Since that time, Baldwin’s voting record has made her one of the most liberal members of Congress. She is a supporter of the Violence Against Women Act, the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and the Equal Pay Act. Also, she’s up for reelection in 2018 so, yeah….let’s make that happen. Also, sidebar, but who knew there were so many Senators named Tammy?
7. SAIRA BLAIR (R, WV)
Saira Blair is a Republican (whaaa?) member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, and the youngest person ever elected to state or federal office. Blair casually joined the WV House of Delegates at the ripe old age of 18, when most people are planning their beach week and lying to their significant others about how they’ll totally stay together in college. Blair began her political career at 17, and was able to pull the ultra-boss move of voting for herself in the very first election she was ever allowed to vote in. Blair describes herself as “very conservative,” opposing abortion even in cases of rape and incest, and is a staunch supporter of voter ID laws, but hey, people change between high school and college. Like, am I still obsessed with Soco and crop tops? Well, okay, yes, but you get my point.
8. BARBARA MIKULSKI (D, MD)
Babs is retired now, but before she decided to leave work and begin a lifelong vacay, she was (and still is) the longest serving woman in the history of Congress. Mukulski served from 1987 to 2017, so like, three years longer than Taylor Swift has existed on the Earth. Babara saw a lot of shit in her 30 years as a senator. When she was elected, there was only one other female senator (Nancy Kassebaum of Kansas) and as a result they lacked a proper bathroom, meaning there was no place for Babs and Nanc to run and talk shit when the men were giving them anxiety. During her time in office, Barbara would host all the female senators from both sides of the aisle at her house for monthly group dinners, where I can only assume copious amounts of much needed wine drinking and shit talking took place.
9. ILHAN OMAR (D, MN)
While the 2016 election was generally a shit show all around, it did give us Ilhan Omar, the first Somali-American legislator to be elected to Minnesota’s House of Representatives. Omar, 34, who just happens to be a Somali refugee, proudly rocks a hijab (and statement necklace) each day at work. Representative Omar is a walking, talking contradiction to President Cheeto’s stance on refugees, and while being a Muslim-American woman in Minnesota is probably not easy, neither is looking this fucking fly, and Ilhan still manages.
10. JEANETTE RANKIN (R, MT)
Jeanette Rankin is another woman who is no longer in government, given that she was elected to the House of Representatives for Montana in 1917. That’s right, a full three years before women were even granted the right to vote, Jeanette Ranken was in Congress serving as a living, breathing example of how fucking cool women are for her colleagues in The House every damn day. Ranken was instrumental in securing the vote for women in 1920 (obvi), making her “the only woman who ever voted to give women the right to vote”—those are her words BTW.