Main | Friday, January 23, 2009

Gov. Paterson Picks Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand To Replace Clinton In Senate

And here it is. U.S. Rep. Kirsten Elizabeth Rutnik Gillibrand (D-NY), 44, is Gov. David Paterson's pick to replace Hillary Clinton in the U.S. Senate.
New York City television station WPIX is reporting tonight that the state's Democratic governor, David Paterson, has settled on Democratic Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand as the successor for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's now vacant U.S. Senate seat.Democratic New York Representative Kirsten Gillibrand.

Quoting unnamed sources, the station reported on its website moments ago (Hat Tip Don Surber) that the governor would make the announcement at noon Friday in Albany. He has reportedly invited the state's entire congressional delegation to attend then, but asked Gillibrand to arrive at 11.

The governor's office would not confirm or deny the report. Gillibrand is a moderate Democrat, the 42-year-old mother of two young children who lives in Hudson, N.Y. and is in her second House term. Most importantly, perhaps, for Paterson, Gillibrand (pronounced JILL-a-brand) gives him not only a female on his ticket in next year's statewide elections, when she must run to fill the remaining two years of Clinton's term. But Gillibrand's an upstater to balance the dominant downstate power of New Yorkers like himself and Clinton that arouses such traditional resentment in the north. She's known as a Blue Dog Democrat, not always popular with liberals for her support of the National Rifle Assn. in her significantly rural 20th District, but said to be Clinton's favorite as her replacement.

Gillibrand is the lowest rated on LGBT rights of the entire New York delegation to Congress, which, admittedly, in almost any other state, would make her a superstar. In their most recent ratings, Gillibrand has an 80% score from the Human Rights Campaign and a 100% rating from the ACLU. She supports civil unions on the federal level and believes that marriage itself should be won state-by-state. A Blue Dog Democrat, Gillibrand is an ardent supporter of the NRA, but also supports stem cell research.

UPDATE: The Empire State Pride Agenda sends us this statement.
January 23, 2009, New York City – Last night likely Senate pick Kirsten Gillibrand spoke to Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van Capelle about issues important to New York’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

“After talking to Kirsten Gillibrand, I am very happy to say that New York is poised to have its first U.S. Senator who supports marriage equality for same-sex couples,” said Van Capelle. “She also supports the full repeal of the federal DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) law, repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) and passage of legislation outlawing discrimination against transgender people. While we had a productive discussion about a whole range of LGBT concerns, I was particularly happy to hear where she stands on these issues.”

Should Governor Paterson name her today to fill the seat held by Hillary Clinton, she will join Governor Paterson, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith and numerous other elected officials in the New York State Legislature and across the state who support the freedom to marry for same-sex couples.
UPDATE II: The Human Rights Campaign sends us this clarification of Gillibrand's rating on the HRC scorecard.
There has been some discussion about the record of Kirsten Gillibrand, New York Governor David Paterson’s pick to replace Hillary Clinton, regarding her stance on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and additional LGBT issues. In particular, we’d like to clarify references to the Human Rights Campaign Scorecard for the 110th Congress. Although Kirsten Gillibrand did not co-sponsor legislation to repeal DADT, non-cosponsorship does not mean support for the policy or opposition to repeal. In fact, in conversations with her office the Human Rights Campaign has confirmed Gillibrand is in favor of repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and supports full marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples. Additionally, HRC confirmed with Gillibran’s staff additional points regarding her LGBT record:

· Supports marriage equality
· Cosponsored and voted in favor of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act
· Cosponsored inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and supports enactment of inclusive bill
· Voted in favor of ENDA
· Supports repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
· Supports repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act
· Supports equal tax treatment of employer provided domestic partnership benefits
· Voted against allowing discrimination in hiring for the Head Start program
· Voted in favor of allowing Washington, DC to fund needle exchange programs with local funds
· Supports the Early Treatment of HIV/AIDS Act (ETHA) to allow states to provide Medicaid coverage for HIV-positive persons
· Voted against procedural attempts to derail ENDA and hate crimes
· Endorsed by HRC PAC in 2008

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