Kirsten Elizabeth Rutnik Gillibrand (/ˈkɪərstən ˈdʒɪlɨbrænd/ keer-stən jil-ə-brand; born December 9, 1966) is the junior United States Senator from the state of New York and a member of the Democratic Party. Prior to being appointed to the Senate by New York Governor David Paterson in 2009, she served two terms in the House of Representatives, representing New York's 20th congressional district.
Gillibrand was born and raised in the Albany area. She is a 1988 graduate of Dartmouth College, where she majored in Asian studies. She received her Juris Doctor from UCLA Law School in 1991 and passed the bar the same year. She was an associate in the law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell in Manhattan before becoming a partner at Boies, Schiller & Flexner in Albany.
Gillibrand won an upset congressional election in November 2006, beating four-term incumbent John E. Sweeney 53% to 47%. Her reelection campaign in 2008 against Sandy Treadwell was significantly easier, winning 62% to 38%. In December 2008, President Barack Obama nominated Hillary Rodham Clinton as Secretary of State, leaving an empty seat in the New York senate delegation. After two months and many potential names considered, Governor David Paterson appointed Gillibrand to fill the seat. Gillibrand was required to run in a special election in 2010, which she easily won with 63% of the vote. Her term ends in 2013 and she is currently running for reelection in 2012.