Kirsten Gillibrand on Welfare & Poverty

Democratic Senator (NY)


We used to care about the least among us

Under his administration seven children died in his custody. Under his administration families have been torn apart. This party is talking about real ideas for the future. But we must not forget about our values. We used to believe in this country you should treat others the way you want to be treated. We used to believe in this country we should care about the least among us. Let's remind the American people who we are, why we are democrats, and why we're running for president.
Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) , Jul 31, 2019

Special Counsel for HUD under President Clinton

I went to hear Andrew Cuomo, who was then Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, speak at a Women's Leadership Forum event. He gave a fired-up talk about public service, why it mattered, and how we should all be working to make the world better. To which I responded: "Great." I wanted the life he was pitching, but no one was giving me a chance.

So after the talk I walked up to Andrew, introduced myself, and said, "Mr. Secretary, I loved your speech. I agreed with everything you said. But I have to tell you, it's not so easy. I've been trying to break into a career in public service for a couple of years now, and I cannot get my foot in the door.

Andrew said, "Well if you're really serious about it, I'll have my chief of staff set up an interview for next week." I flew to Washington. Andrew interviewed me.

"I'll make you special counsel. I'll pay you the highest salary I can under the federal rules, because I know you're leaving a well-paying job. Will you take it?" [She took it.]

Source: Off the Sidelines, by Kirsten Gillibrand, p. 34-5 , Sep 9, 2014

Served briefly under Clinton as Special Counsel for HUD

After nine years at Philip Morris and a short stint at HUD, Gillibrand joined [a private law firm]. But Gillibrand never disclosed anything about Philip Morris when she ran for Congress and gave few details about her short tenure at HUD. Here's how she described herself in her campaign literature:

"Throughout her career, Gillibrand has demonstrated their commitment to public service. During the Clinton Administration, she served as Special Counsel to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Andrew Cuomo. Gillibrand played a key role in furthering HUD's Labor Initiative and its New Markets Initiatives, working on strengthening Davis-Bacon Act enforcement and drafting new markets legislation for public and private investment in building infrastructure in lower income areas."

No mention of what she did before she served in the Clinton administration (that is, defend Big Tobacco). And no explanation that she served at HUD for just over one year of that 8-year administration.

Source: Take Back America, by Dick Morris, p.191 , Apr 13, 2010

Voted YES on instituting National Service as a new social invention.

Congressional Summary:Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education (GIVE) Act:
    Adds to National and Community Service Act of 1990 (NCSA) purposes:
  1. providing year-round opportunities in service-learning;
  2. involving program participants in emergency and disaster preparedness, relief, and recovery;
  3. increasing service opportunities for retiring professionals;
  4. encouraging service by individuals age 55 or older and continued service by national service alumni;
  5. focusing national service on the areas of national need.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Sen. BARBARA MIKULSKI (D, MD): [In developing national service over many years] we were not in the business of creating another new social program. What we were in the business of was creating a new social invention. What do I mean by that? In our country, we are known for our technological inventions. But also often overlooked, and sometimes undervalued, is our social inventions.

We created national service to let young people find opportunity to be of service and also to make an important contribution. But not all was rosy. In 2003, when I was the ranking member on the appropriations subcommittee funding national service, they created a debacle. One of their most colossal errors was that they enrolled over 20,000 volunteers and could not afford to pay for it. That is how sloppy they were in their accounting. I called them the "Enron of nonprofits."

And they worked on it. But all that is history. We are going to expand AmeriCorps activity into specialized corps. One, an education corps; another, a health futures corps; another, a veterans corps; and another called opportunity corps. These are not outside of AmeriCorps. They will be subsets because we find this is where compelling human need is and at the same time offers great opportunity for volunteers to do it.

Opponent's argument to vote No:No senators spoke against the amendment.

Reference: Serve America Act/GIVE Act; Bill H.R. 1388 ; vote number 2009-S115 on Mar 26, 2009

Support school breakfast for low-income children.

Gillibrand signed bill favoring school breakfast for low-income kids