Kirsten Elizabeth Gillibrand (née Rutnik; ( listen) KEER-stən JIL-i-brand; born December 9, 1966) is an American attorney and politician serving since 2009 as a United States Senator from New York, alongside the Democratic Leader of the United States Senate, Chuck Schumer. Before entering the Senate she served as U.S. Representative for New York's 20th congressional district. She is a member of the Democratic Party.
In December 2008, President-elect Barack Obama nominated two-term incumbent Senator Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, leaving an empty seat in the United States Senate. After two months and many potential names considered, then-Governor David Paterson appointed Gillibrand as the interim Senator from New York. Gillibrand was required to run in a special election in 2010 for the permanent position, which she won with 63 percent of the vote. She was re-elected to a full six-year term in 2012 with 72 percent of the vote, the highest margin for any statewide candidate in New York.
A member of the Democratic Party's relatively conservative Blue Dog faction while in the House, Gillibrand has been seen as moving her political positions and ideology increasingly leftward toward that of a more liberal progressive since her appointment to the Senate. In both cases, her views were significantly defined by the respective constituency she served at the time—a conservative congressional district versus the generally liberal state of New York, especially as defined by New York City. For example, although she had been quiet on the U.S. military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy when she was in the House, during her first 18 months in the Senate, Gillibrand was an important part of the successful campaign to repeal it. Wikipedia