In a political climate that increasingly seems to lean away from policies that can help those most in need, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) has some strong words for lawmakers everywhere.
In an interview with New York magazine published on Tuesday, Gillibrand covered a range of topics on the her personal politics. Most importantly though, she shared her worldview. And surprisingly, that POV also aligns with that of Republican Senator Susan Collins (Maine).
“I know Susan’s worldview is similar to my worldview. Which is that we’re here to help people, and if we’re not helping people, we should go the f--k home,” she said.
The need to reach across the aisle was a theme brought up again and again in the profile.
“I mean, we passed the 9/11 health bill with Tom Cotton,” she also said. “Most people would assume I wouldn’t be able to work with Tom Cotton and Rand Paul and Ted Cruz.” When Gillibrand first took on the senate and began working on the 9/11 health bill, she was immediately told it was a dead cause. After all New York was wealthy enough to handle it on its own, right?
“To pass that bill, I first went to my female colleagues and said, ‘How do I do this? I have no fucking clue,’” she said.
Her Republican female colleagues gave her some sound advice, "'Listen, if you pay for it this way and not that way, they can’t say no,’" they told her. "'If you hold the vote, they’ll have to vote yes.’ They were whispering in my ear the whole time,” she recollected.
The senator also just launched a PAC, Off The Sidelines that focuses on getting more women elected to congress. In the last five years, Gillibrand has raised nearly $6 million for women candidates. She also offered some sage advice for women who’d like to run for office but feel they require more experience.
“It doesn’t matter if you haven’t worked your way up. The guys run every time. I can’t tell you how many 30-year-old dudes believe they should be senator or president. Women, we’re like, ‘Well, maybe after ten years of working…’ No. Just run for the office you want to run for and run on the issue you want to fix.”