New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand announced she is forming a presidential exploratory committee as a first step in what she says will be run for Democratic nomination in 2020. Gillibrand made the announcement during a taping of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert Tuesday.
I’m going to run for president of United States because as a young mom, I’m going to fight for other people’s kids as hard as I would fight for my own. Which is why I believe health care should be a right, not a privilege. Which is why I believe we should have better public schools for our kids because it shouldn’t matter what block you grow up on. And I believe 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. But you are never going to accomplish any of these things, if you don’t take on the systems of power that make all of that impossible. Which is taking on institutional racism, which is taking on the corruption and greed in Washington, taking on the special interests that write legislation in the dead of night. And I know I have the compassion, courage, and fearless determination to get that done.
The Late Show released a clip of the announcement on Twitter, which Gillibrand followed up with a series of statements of her own.
Gillibrand was appointed to the Senate in 2009 to take the seat made vacant by Hillary Clinton’s departure as Secretary of State. The 52-year-old senator was elected to congress in 2007 as a centrist, unseating a conservative Republican in her upstate district that includes the state capital of Albany. When Gillibrand ascended to the senate, she tacked hard to the left, shifting from a centrist congresswoman to one of the Senate’s most liberal members, a transformation that has hastened during the Trump presidency. Gillibrand embraced the #MeToo movement and pushed for greater accountability for men in positions of power. She called on then-Sen. Al Franken, popular on the left, to resign after accusations of sexual misconduct surfaced and wrote that Bill Clinton should have resigned the presidency over his affair with Monica Lewinsky. A prodigious fundraiser, Gillibrand will hope those more recent credentials can overcome a perception that she has been cozy with Wall Street and her work as a lawyer representing the tobacco industry in the 1990s.
“With the announcement made, Gillibrand plans to spend time with her husband and two sons on Wednesday in Troy, N.Y., where she lives and where her campaign will be headquartered,” the Washington Post reports. “On Friday, she will start a three-day tour of Iowa, starting in Sioux City on the state’s western edge and ending in Cedar Rapids in the eastern part.”