In a noontime announcement today, Governor David Paterson named Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand as the successor to Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat following Clinton’s confirmation as Secretary of State in the Obama cabinet.
Gillibrand, 42, is currently serving her second term in Congress representing NY’s 20th District, a largely agricultural district that extends from the Hudson Valley north through the Adirondack Mountains and includes such well-known areas as Saratoga Springs and Lake Placid (home to the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics). Gillibrand and her family live just outside of the City of Hudson--south of Albany but far enough north of New York City to be considered ‘Upstate’. Speaking of her family, her husband Jonathan and their four year old son just welcomed a sibling, little Henry Gillibrand in May 2008, delivered the day after Gillibrand helped to pass an amendment in the Armed Services committee that she serves on.
This “Congress Mom” (as the group of Congresswomen with young children often call themselves) handily won reelection to her mostly-Republican district in November, showing that she has earned a reputation as a ‘Blue Dog’ Democrat, supporting tax cuts, universal health care, and gun rights while also opposing the ‘bailout’ bills and the privatization of Medicare and Social Security.
Gillibrand attended Darmouth College and UCLA Law School and served as Special Counsel to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under the Clinton administration. The Secretary she served at HUD? None other than Andrew Cuomo, another person on Governor Paterson’s ‘short list’ for consideration as New York’s junior Senator.
In choosing Gillibrand, Paterson did not make a predictable pick in terms of his own political interest or length of service in elected office. He did, however, choose a clear ‘Upstater’ who not only brings a unique perspective to Washington, but represents a fresh voice in the New York political scene which has been, until this time, largely dominated by downstate men.
Augustine, 31, is a MOMocrat living with her husband and their three children in Geneva, NY-- also in ‘Upstate’ but farther west, in the heart of the Finger Lakes Wine Country. Augustine has served on the City Council since first being elected in 1999 at the age of 22. She is coauthor of the blog NoStringsGeneva.com
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