Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is one of the many candidates seeking to defeat President Donald Trump in the upcoming elections in 2020. In a crowded, competitive race, Gillibrand is hoping to stand out with her long track record of advocacy and progressive policy.
She just sat down to speak with Amanda de Cadenet, who just launched her podcast The Conversation on Spotify and has known Gillibrand for a long while, to talk about the specifics of her game plan to stand out from the pack and have her platform resonate all across the country.
She believes she understands her opponent well.
In the interview, Gillibrand explained, "I have a vision for this country that's bigger and bolder than what President Trump has ever even imagined. And I have the experience and a plan to actually get it done." She says she began thinking about running when she saw Hillary Clinton lose the election in 2016, after Gillibrand assumed Clinton would not only win but serve for a full eight years.
She went on. "I think [Trump's] Achilles heel is a smart woman who speaks her mind and stands up for herself. I think his Kryptonite is a woman with young kids who isn't going to take any of his B.S."
Gillibrand is a mom to young kids herself, and when she spoke to her children about her plans to run, they understood. "Henry...had seen what Trump had done over the last two years and he just said, 'Oh mommy, you should definitely run, and I am going with you.'"
And she has the experience to influence red state voters.
Gillibrand says she's proud to be one of many women running for president in 2020, but that "My story is very different than theirs, and I think I have the best background to win the red and purple [states]. I know I can win states like Michigan and Ohio and Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, because they're a lot like upstate New York."
She went on. "I have a great base of knowledge from which to draw: I've been on the [Committee on Agriculture] for 12 years, the Armed Services Committee for 10, [Committee on Environment and Public Works] for 10, so I have a deep knowledge of rural issues, and manufacturing and agricultural traditions." Gillibrand's also taken on special interests like Medicare for all and seeks to provide some of the vehicles that she says Trump promised on but never delivered. "People feel left behind," she says, based on conversations she's had with people across the country.
With that said, she's in support of all the candidates running. "Whoever is nominated, I will make sure they win," she adds.
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She'll continue to advocate for women.
"I embrace the word 'ambition' and 'feminist,' because I'm an ambitious feminist," Gillibrand says. She's also chaired the DNC's Women's Leadership Forum and the Senate Women's Caucus. She's a voice against sexual assault, all the way up to the highest levels.
Yet, she understands that the word is quite charged for many, so she phrases the issues differently depending on the audience. She insists that equal pay and rights are views held by most people, but that messaging can be important depending on the audience. She also plans to codify Roe v. Wade and remove the Hyde Amendment so as to stop the current issue of individual states criminalizing abortion.
She has strong advice for Democratic voters, especially women.
It's not too early to start engaging with issues you care about—even though the race is still packed and seemingly overcrowded right now. Gillibrand urges, pick a few candidates to start supporting to ensure that they stay in the race, and select ones that align with your values so that others don't end up making decisions for you. "Women's voices are really important in this election," she said. "Sitting out in the election is the worst thing you could do...don't silence yourself."
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"We need your voice," she added. "If you do speak out loudly, we will flip the Senate and we will defeat President Trump."
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Katherine’s a Boston-based contributor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle—from “The Bachelor” to Everlane to Meghan Markle. Igoe: “I go to the store,” not “Her huge ego."
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