Activist Wednesday: Why I Like Kirsten Gillibrand
Posted August 8, 2012on:
My opinion of most Congresscritters is unprintable (this is a family blog…er, kinda). In fact, although I’m voting Democratic downticket for the most part in 2012, I’m doing so out of nothing more than a desire to swing the Congress back towards some degree of sanity. The Michele Bachmanns and Rand Pauls of the world need to be thrown out on their ignorant, hateful butts, and people who are at least somewhat reasonable, and educated enough to know where Paul Revere rode, need to be put in their place.
Of course, I would prefer it if most of them were women, and apparently, Kirsten Gillibrand feels the same way. K. Gill (as I hope no one else calls her), really puts her activism where her PR is.
For those who are unfamiliar with one of my favorite Congresswomen, Senator Gillibrand is currently the junior Senator from New York – the one who was selected by Hillary herself to take her seat when Our Girl ran for President. You may remember all the drama with her selection – no less than Caroline Kennedy and Carolyn Maloney were passed over in favor of Gillibrand. I was one of the people who completely supported this decision.
I have no doubt that Kirsten Gillibrand, who is already a two-term Congresswoman, will be a great choice for the next New York Senator. And may I say, thanks SO MUCH to all the New York PUMAs who joined me in my efforts to convince the Governor to do the right thing, especially TPT/NY! You go, sister girl!
Meantime, for those keeping score in the new Obama administration: Hillary 1, Obama 0.
Gillibrand has won two special elections since 2008, and has been a lot busier than many of her male do-nothing counterparts, including Senator Chuck “Fageddaboudit, You Know I’m Senator For Life” Schumer. Not only has she been outspoken on behalf of same-sex marriage; not only has she pushed and pushed for the victims of 9/11 to get the health care they deserve; but she has been fighting, in many ways, for women to achieve gender equity in politics. It is clear that she has much in common with her mentor on that topic.
….Gillibrand told her donors that she wants more women in the House and Senate, because “if we had 50 percent of women in Congress, we would not be debating contraception. We would be debating the economy, small business, jobs, national security — everything but.”
With that, the room of mostly middle-aged and older women cheered, and some even pounded the conference table in approval.
Almost every day, I get an email from Gillibrand asking me to support a woman. Lately, I’ve been hearing about her book club, in which she hosts video chats with women authors who discuss their books with forum participants. I hope someday to actually attend one of these (if I can ever get out of Minneapolis, sigh). The latest one was last week, and it featured the authors of the book, “How Great Women Lead,” as well as the founder of the organization “Seeds of Peace,” who was featured in the book. Hmmm….looks like I’ve got a few more books to add to my Kindle, along with Anita Finlay’s!
The book club is one part of Gillibrand’s initiative to get women to step up and speak out. Her organization is called “Off the Sidelines,” and we link to it on this very blog here. Okay, yes, she does mention Obama in a favorable manner, but I know that many of you are voting for him anyway, so you can’t hold that against her.
And here’s more on my favorite thing she does: rally women around the cause of electing other women to Congress. From her website:
2012 is an extremely exciting year for women running for office. With just 17% of Congress made up of women, a record number of female candidates have filed to run for Congress (294 and counting) and we’re poised to have a record number of women competing on the ballot this November.
Kirsten believes that women are the key not only to her victory this November but also to retaking the House and that means women stepping up to support the women who are off the sidelines and running for Congress this year.
Which is why today, Kirsten is putting her money where her mouth is and supporting three of our best Democratic challengers for Congress and asking her supporters to do the same.
Those candidates are Christie Vilsack in Iowa, Val Demings in Florida, and Tammy Duckworth in Illinois. Not only are these three women running strong races against vulnerable right-wing Republicans, but they each have a unique story and would bring new perspectives and diversity to Congress.
All these women could defeat Tea Party radicals and help take back the House, which would be a key factor in deposing Speaker Burnt Orange Boehner and loosing the grip of the pro-death faction in the House. They wouldn’t be able to block important legislation like the I-VAWA any more. They wouldn’t come out with crazoid anti-woman bills any more. This is truly an outcome to be desired, no?
Gillibrand is definitely more conservative than I am, as most people are. But, I think she is truly passionate about engaging women in the national conversation, whether or not we disagree.
Now that’s activism – and a candidate – I’ll actually be proud to vote for. I hope you have someone like that in 2012 to take your mind off the dreariness of the endless Obama/Romney snoozefest!
This is an open thread.
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