The Junior Senator

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D) gives her first extended interview with WNYC since being appointed to the U.S. Senate.


Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Comments [35]

Nora13 from LI

The downstate press - maybe insulted that Gov. Patterson didn't appoint one of their own to the US Senate - has done all it can to distort Sen. Gillibrand's politics and personality. She is and has been a progressive Democrat - she is pro-choice, pro-environment, pro-gay marriage and for gun control.
She's used her short four and a half months to travel NYS, meeting as often with critics as with supporters. She's taken the lead on issues like toxins in products for infants and research into autism - issues that have languished because they tend not to interest the overwhelmingly male Congressional majority.

Here's something for politically-engaged New Yorkers:
Colorado's governor (a Democrat) also appointed a Senator in January. Michael Bennet, former superintendent of Denver schools, replaced Ken Salazar and has never been elected to any office. Nevertheless, he won't be challenged in a Democratic primary. Maybe it's worth asking why a bright, politically astute and effective CongressWOMAN would get such a snarky reception.

Jun. 09 2009 04:06 PM
Penny Q from Amagansett

She's a hard working, independent-minded young woman who will make an excellent senator for NY, if people will give her a fair chance.

Jun. 09 2009 02:24 PM

I see from various comments that people have dutifully been indoctrinated by the distortions and simplifications regarding Gillibrand from the downstate press and her potential challengers. I live in Gillibrand's district, where she enjoys a 68% approval rating THAT SHE EARNED. There is nothing lightweight or phony about this woman's advocacy. She is strong, intelligent, nuanced, dedicated and passionate about her work. Do not pre-judge. These are complex issues that she is reevaluating for an entirely new constituency. Re: her gun posture. Her "approval rating" by the NRA was based on three votes in her Congressional role, and are hardly indicative of her respect for both safety and the Second Amendment. Open your minds and give her a chance--you will not be disappointed. We certainly weren't in the 20th.

Jun. 09 2009 02:05 PM
Dr Liz

In just a few short months our newest Senator has worked tirelessly to get to know all of her constituents in New York and to work on all of our behalf. She has voted for every gun control bill presented. She has done much to deliver jobs to the state, work for public health, and is a strong advocate for women and veterans. In response the list of endorsements grow by the day from Al Sharpton to NARAL to city and upstate electeds alike. New Yorkers know quality when they see her.

Jun. 09 2009 01:50 PM

Jim from Brooklyn - I was just thinking oh it must take a mother to talk about drinking water and dangerous plastics that poison children and other living things - that is NOT crap! I ownder if there's any connection between taht and ED - I think it would change fast if there were!

Jun. 09 2009 01:47 PM
martha kendrick from washington, dc

Anyone who has watched Kirsten Gillibrand in Washington can attest to her integrity, her committed dedication to the people she serves, and her brainpower. The people of New York are fortunate to have a public servant of her caliber in the United States Senate. What I failed to appreciate before this interview was her high patience level with reporters who seem to take pure delight in focusing exclusively on negative political questions rather than the real issues she is tackling on behalf of the people she serves. Get real!

Jun. 09 2009 01:25 PM
UWS from New York

How refreshing to hear a public official grapple thoughtfully with issues rather than give canned responses.

Jun. 09 2009 01:24 PM
rrlieberma from Manhattan

Senator Gillibrand will be elected in 2010 because, like her predecessor Hillary Clinton, she is smart, funny, caring, open-minded, thoughtful, hard working and tough. And like Clinton, the more the voters get to meet and talk with Gillibrand, the greater her support, in spite of some of the nonsensical comments above.

She is known for her accessibility and transparency, traits some other of our public officials could emulate. It seems to me that she is reaching out to her new constituents to learn their concerns and interests so she can be a strong, effective advocate in the Senate, and the growing list of endorsements from public officials and opinion leaders across the state reflect this.

We should all coalesce around Kirsten so that we do not risk losing the seat to the Republicans as has happened before in New York. Indeed the chaos in state government makes this a real possibility if we are not careful.

Jun. 09 2009 01:22 PM

The only thing Kirsten Gillibrand has in common with Sarah Palin is her gender, which accounts for many of the low minded gender biased comments I just read. Senator Gillibrand is Ivy League educated and an attorney. I applaud this young woman who is endorsed by, among others, NARAL and Emily's List. A primary would be a detrimental to the party--something we don't need after the chaos in the NYS Senate yesterday.

Jun. 09 2009 01:04 PM
Joey Cohen from Westchester

I am no expert on ammunition either, but my understanding of the so called "cop killer" bullets is that they do penetrate ammo resistant vests and serve no other purpose but to do that. I have a hard time believing that the senator is not familiar with them and for her not to take a position when Brian posed to her that question is shameful.

Jun. 09 2009 11:44 AM
mc from Brooklyn

What she said was that she did not know what Brian meant by "cop-killer" bullets. I'm not an expert on ammunition. Maybe there is a better definition. What are "cop-killers?" Are they teflon coated? Are they just any bullet that can penetrate a police vest? If Brian had done better homework on the ammunition he probably could have pinned her down.

Jun. 09 2009 10:57 AM
james from dyker heights

Really? Senator Gillibrand has never heard of cop-killer bullets? Her position on the 2nd Amendment was all we heard about following her appointment but somehow she is not informed about the teflon-coated bullet controversy. Absolutely flummoxing!

Jun. 09 2009 10:53 AM
Vince from central NJ


Please stop interrupting your guests mid-sentence.

It comes off as rude, and it's making the show unlistenable.

Jun. 09 2009 10:45 AM
mc from Brooklyn

I can't get on board with the comparisons of Gillibrand and Palin. You might disagree with her but she shows knowledge and the ability to discuss the points. Palin didn't even understand the questions half the time. Pretty pitiful analysis by some.

Jun. 09 2009 10:38 AM
JP from Garden State

I don’t own a gun. Never have and never will. I do believe the world would be a fantastic place if guns did not exist. But in the real world they not only exist but are legally manufactured all over the world. We can’t stop illegal drugs from coming into this country (40 + year war on drugs, billions spent and we still have a huge illegal narcotics trade in America) that are not legally made or sold anywhere in the world. To all that want to outlaw guns, just how are you going to make this fantasy come true? What do you propose as a realistic solution to keep illegal guns out of the black market after you make guns illegal?

Jun. 09 2009 10:32 AM
Carla from Chelsea

You go Brian!!! The hard hitting questions you asked Sen. Gillibrand as well as the CFO of GM on Friday are a welcome change from the soft ball questions that most journalists are asking these high profile characters.

By the way I'm very familiar with the 20th CD that Gillibrand represented and she was far more conservative than her constituents. I wouldn't trust that her new positions on issues such as gay marriage or gun control are are any more secure than her previous stands were.

Keep up the questions.

Jun. 09 2009 10:27 AM
Andrew B. from New York City

I like Senator Gillebrand, looks a bit like "Holly" from "the Office".

OK - what's the deal with EPA getting TWO YEARS to deliver a report on pharmaceuticals in our drinking water?! How about two weeks?

This is a serious issue!

Jun. 09 2009 10:26 AM
Jim from Brooklyn from Brooklyn

Nice job at dodging every question, Kristin. By the way, what is UP with that crap about pure baby food and clean drinking water?

Let's have a primary.

Jun. 09 2009 10:25 AM
john from rumson NJ

Palin lite.

there's got to be SOME way to deal with politicians that refuse to answer the hosts questions and just yammer on about their standard talking points

Jun. 09 2009 10:25 AM
em from nirvana

how about waffler at the waffle house?

Jun. 09 2009 10:24 AM
john from rumson NJ

Palin lite.

There's got to SOME

Jun. 09 2009 10:23 AM
Brian from Greenpoint

How does she negotiate the cultural gap between upstate and the metro area? Her positions on immigration, gun control, tax cuts for the ultra wealthy, etc. all sound to me a remote perspective in terms of urban, and even suburban, life.

I can't believe she just asked Brian to be more specific about what ammunition, in particular, he was referencing. What world is she living in?

Code word for not wanting to take a public stand: "that was a poorly written bill, so I didn't support it."

Jun. 09 2009 10:19 AM
Matt from Brooklyn

This is the most long-winded anti-gun answer ever. At most, she's against uzis and Ak-47's. That's refreshing.

Jun. 09 2009 10:19 AM
Lucinda from Queens

Is the Senator ready to support gays serving openly in the military? New polls show over two-thirds of Americans now support it.

Jun. 09 2009 10:18 AM
Ben from NY

How does the Senator explain her shift to now support homosexual marriage, beyond political expediency? Has she any principles, or is everything for sale?

Jun. 09 2009 10:17 AM
fuva from Harlem, NY

Good informed, persistent questioning, Brian. Thanks.

Jun. 09 2009 10:17 AM
Beth from Brooklyn

If Gillibrand is really in favor of family reunification for immigrants, she will support S 424, the Uniting American Families Act. [] Unlike straight married couples who can get green cards for their partners in a straighforward way, a gay or lesbian person cannot sponsor his or her legally married same-sex spouse to immigrate here. What is Gillibrand's position on the Uniting American Families Act?

Jun. 09 2009 10:17 AM
Gus Solomons from NYC

Listening to the Senator dodge Brian's questions like a sleazy politico has made me agree with Jeff Putterman from Queens.

Jun. 09 2009 10:15 AM
Pavel Gurvich from Norwalk, CT

Brian, please ask the senator whether she will support fire arms w/o government restrictions but liability insurance attached to each weapon.

Jun. 09 2009 10:14 AM
Jeff Putterman from Queens

Listening to Ms. G, I have to admit, she lies better than Palin.

But I still am embarrassed to have such a lightweight hack as my senator.

Jun. 09 2009 10:13 AM
Joseph from Brooklyn

What exactly does she think is wrong with amnesty?

Jun. 09 2009 10:13 AM
Jeff Putterman from Queens

Kirsten G is a bad joke. She is the Sarah Palin of our once great state.

I hope some Dem has the strength to challenge her for the primary, as I don't want to have to vote for some republican lowlife.

Jun. 09 2009 10:08 AM
Bobby G from East Village

I wrote Senator Gillibrand a letter about a shooting that occurred directly in front of my apartment building. I asked her if she would support Mayor Bloomberg's specific efforts to combat illegal guns. All illegal guns begin as legal guns.

I received no reply.

Jun. 09 2009 09:58 AM
Gabrielle from Brooklyn

I hear that Senator Gillibrand is pro gun. It seems that everyday in New York City and the surrounding area there is news of someone being shot. Yesterday, an 11 year old boy was shot in the head by a stray bullet while posing for a baseball team photo

I understand that people want the right to own guns (for hunting and to protect their homes)but others would like some form of effective gun control.

Can the Senator please discuss how she will address this issue now that she is representing all of New York State and not just Upstate New York.

Jun. 09 2009 09:22 AM
Merrill from New York, NY

The Times on 3/27/09 did a real front page, slam piece on Sen Gillibrand on working for a tobacco firm as an associate, not as a partner and tried to create some unwarranted implications. Made me sick what the Times tried to do.

Jun. 09 2009 09:19 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.