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U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Off the sidelines

Kirsten Gillibrand joins 2020 race: ‘I’m going  to fight for other people’s kids as hard as I would fight for my own’

By WITW Staff on January 16, 2019

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a strong advocate women’s causes, has entered the 2020 race for the U.S. presidency, becoming the latest candidate to sign up for the Democratic primary.

In an appearance Tuesday night on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Gillibrand said she was forming an exploratory committee to raise money and travel the country for her run. She will begin campaigning in days, with plans to visit Iowa on the weekend.

Her opening salvo — “I’m going to run for president of the United States because as a young mom, I am going to fight for other people’s kids as hard as I would fight for my own” — aimed to underscore her empathy for struggling families, and emphasize her focus on the future.

“[It’s] why I believe health care should be a right, not a privilege; it’s why I believe we should have better public schools for our kids because it shouldn’t matter what block you grew up on; and I believe that anybody who wants to work hard enough should be able to get whatever job training they need to earn their way into the middle class,” she added.

Gillibrand has been a particularly outspoken supporter for the #MeToo movement, as well addressing the issue of sexual assaults on college campuses and in the military. For years, she has raised money for female candidates through her political action committee, Off the Sidelines, which is also the name of her memoir.

In late 2017, she angered some Democrats by calling swiftly for Senator Al Franken’s resignation after he faced multiple accusations of sexual harassment, and alienated Clinton loyalists by saying that, in retrospect, President Bill Clinton’s sexual relationship with an intern would have been cause to resign. Both stances established her as a woman who was unafraid to stand up to powerful men within her own party.

Responding to critics on Twitter, she wrote: “Silencing women for the powerful, or for your friends, or for convenience, is neither acceptable nor just.”

That year, she also called on President Trump to resign amid allegations of sexual misconduct, which was met with a venal attack:

After the Late Show released a clip of her appearance, she tweeted a campaign video:

Gillibrand, 52, has been one of the strongest critics of the Trump administration during its two years in power, and increasingly focused on what she perceives as a need to restore the nation’s “moral compass.”

Critics of the Senator have pointed to her not having a strong ideological position of her own, having formerly been a pro-gun, conservative congresswoman with strong ties to Wall Street, before switching to her current position of “crusading liberal,” who campaigns for gun reform and declines corporate political action committee funds, the New York Times reports.

Gillibrand joins other Democrats who have entered the race against President Donald Trump in 2020 in recent weeks, including Tulsi Gabbard, Elizabeth Warren and Julian Castro.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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