Kirsten Gillibrand on Families & Children

Democratic Senator (NY); Democratic Candidate for President (withdrawn)


I raised kids while in Congress, working outside the home

Gillibrand [to VP Joe Biden]: I want to address Vice President Biden directly. When the Senate was debating middle-class affordability for childcare, he wrote an op-ed that he believed that women working outside the home would, "create the deterioration of family." I need to understand as a woman who's worked my entire career as the primary wage earner, as the primary caregiver. Am I serving in Congress resulting in the deterioration of the family, because I had access to quality affordable day care?

Biden: My deceased wife worked when we had children. My present wife has worked all the way through raising our children. I wrote the Violence against Women Act, and Lilly Ledbetter. I came up with the It's On Us proposal to see to it that women were treated more decently on college campuses.

Gillibrand: You said women working outside the home would lead to the deterioration of family. Either he no longer believes it...

Biden: I never believed it.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) , Jul 31, 2019

Expand the Child Tax Credit

Sen. Michael Bennet has proposed overhauling and expanding the Child Tax Credit by creating a new $300 per-child monthly credit for children under 6 and $250 for children 6 to 18 years, and making the credit fully refundable. Gillibrand backs legislation to boost the child tax credit to $3,000 per child, from the current maximum of $1,050; make the full credit available to families with income under $120,000; and make the credit fully refundable. Amy Klobuchar also favors expanding the CTC.
Source: Politico "2020Dems on the Issues" , Jul 17, 2019

The future was female and intersectional

Fox News' host Chris Wallace asked Gillibrand to explain her tweet from December 2018, when she said the future was "female" and "intersectional."

"We want women to have a seat at the table," Gillibrand said. At that, Wallace jumped in and asked: "What about men?"

"They're already there -- do you not know?" Gillibrand said, greeted by one of the biggest rounds of applause of the night. "It's not meant to be exclusionary, it's meant to be inclusionary," she said.

Source: Politico.com on Fox News Town Halls with Chris Wallace , Jun 2, 2019

First to call for Sen. Al Franken to resign

She introduced the Military Justice Improvement Act to reform how sexual assault complaints are handled in the U.S. military justice system and chain of command. She has called for colleges and universities to reform how they handle sexual assault cases.
Source: Axios.com "What you need to know about 2020" , May 7, 2019

Sexual assault and harassment must be treated seriously

We have to end sexual violence in this country, because it goes to a very simple question: do we value women? Unfortunately, there is a lot of evidence that we don't. We don't take sexual assault seriously on college campuses, or in the military. We don't even take it seriously in places like Congress. We have to address sexual harassment and sexual assault head on. Make sure we work with law enforcement so that if a survivor does want to go to law enforcement, they're taken seriously.
Source: CNN Town Hall: 2020 presidential hopefuls , Apr 9, 2019

Shouldn't have to choose between caregiving and job

National paid leave is such an urgent issue. Less than 20% of Americans have access to paid leave. We are asking these families to choose between caring for their loved ones or putting food on the table, caring for their loved ones or not getting fired. If we want our workers to be thriving, they need to be able to be the caregiver when they need to be and be able to keep their job and be able to have that income. That's why national paid leave makes sense, and I will make it a priority as president.
Source: CNN Town Hall: 2020 presidential hopefuls , Apr 9, 2019

Pro-vaccines, not sure if they should be Federally mandated

I haven't thought about whether I would make [vaccination] mandatory. I do believe that parents need more information about why vaccines are so essential. Parents need to know that their child could die of preventable diseases, that they could spread a preventable disease and other children could die. It does save lives, and I will work as hard as I can to make sure that every parent knows that vaccines are absolutely necessary. It is a state-by-state issue, but I will think about federally mandating.
Source: CNN Town Hall: 2020 presidential hopefuls , Apr 9, 2019

Make childcare more affordable and accessible

Gillibrand wants to make childcare more accessible and more affordable. That includes encouraging more workplaces to host their own in-house childcare. She plans to incentivize more at-work childcare by giving tax credits to companies.
Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls , Jan 16, 2019

Modernize obstetrics to cut increases in childbirth deaths

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has new legislation that aims to reduce the strikingly high rates of maternal deaths across the country. The bill comes after a USA TODAY investigation exposed more than 50,000 women are severely injured each year in connection to childbirth. About 700 mothers die. The best estimates say that half of these deaths could be prevented with better care.

Over the past decade, New York had a major increase in maternal mortality: maternal deaths statewide has risen from 13.2 per 100,000 live births in 2006, to 25 per 100,000 live births in 2015, Gillibrand said.

Gillibrand's legislation, The Modernizing Obstetric Medicine Standards (MOMS) Act, would provide funding to help hospitals implement standardized best practices to prevent and respond to complications arising from childbirth.

Hospitals often lack the funding necessary for supplies and proper training to implement standards and prevent complications and deaths arising from childbirth, Gillibrand said.

Source: The Journal News on 2018 New York Senate race , Aug 28, 2018

Women run for office because Trump demeans & devalues women

Q: Is there a direct line between President Trump's election and the number of women running now?

GILLIBRAND: Absolutely.

Q: Based on not demographic shifts, but just pure protest?

GILLIBRAND: Protest, anger, frustration, and determination to protect their families. Donald Trump has been accused by more than a dozen women of sexual assault and sexual harassment alone has infuriated women enough to do something, taking the risk to actually run for office.

Q: But all those things came to light when he was running as candidate. He was elected regardless.

GILLIBRAND: Fair enough. But, the response to him being elected, is this overwhelming desire of women to be heard, to be counted and to fight back against what he stands for. He demeans women. He devalues women. He's constantly trying to harm our families and our communities. And so women, when they know their family is being harmed, they will run through fire. They will do whatever it takes to protect their family.

Source: CBS Face the Nation interviews for 2018 New York Senate race , Aug 19, 2018

Family leave & equal pay strengthens America

Families today look almost nothing like they did a generation ago. Yet our policies are stuck in the Mad Men era. We are the only industrialized nation that doesn't guarantee workers paid family leave. Most parents work outside the home, yet childcare can cost as much as college tuition. Families rely on women's income, but we still don't have equal pay for equal work. This makes no sense, because we know that when families are strong, America is strong.
Source: Speech at 2016 Democratic National Convention , Jul 25, 2016

Attends weekly women's Bible study class

Men I dated undermined my sense of self-worth, convincing me that I wasn't smart, attractive, or interesting enough. I needed to find a way out.

Breaking my bad relationship patterns became a priority, and somewhat to my surprise, faith helped me a great deal. I started attending a weekly women's Bible study class, and quickly grew to adore it. Once I started thinking more about faith, I began to see how lost I'd been. I needed to find a partner who was loving and kind. A man who would make me happy and would also allow me to thrive. Jonathan came along at the right moment. He's handsome, charming, and sharp-minded, and he also exudes a thoughtful and generous kindness--the whole package.

That first date was a fantastic brunch, then a walk, the evening "singles" mass at church.

It's amazing how many strong, self-empowered women get caught up in bad relationships. I know all you know this, but believe me: You really do want to go for the nice guy, not the hot, flashy, or cool one.

Source: Off the Sidelines, by Kirsten Gillibrand, p. 27 , Sep 9, 2014

For most working moms, work is necessity, not choice

We've fallen into a never-ending debate about whether women can "have it all." It's an absurd frame for many reasons. The first: For all mothers, earning money is a necessity, not a choice.

Second: The word "have" sounds like women are being greedy, trying to finagle more than their fair share. Work and family are both basic tenets of our society. Last: I hate the phrase "having it all," because it demeans women who DO stay home with their children, by implying that their lives are less than full. One of the main goals of the feminist movement is that all women should be able to make the best choices for themselves and their families.

So please, let's stop talking about "having it all" and start talking about the very real challenges of "doing it all." The old debate pits women against one another and distracts the conversation from what truly matters--figuring out how working mothers can get the support they need to achieve economic security and build better, happier, more-balanced lives.

Source: Off the Sidelines, by Kirsten Gillibrand, p. 74-5 , Sep 9, 2014

We need a Rosie the Riveter for our generation

Girls' voices matter. Women's voices matter. From Congress to board meetings to PTAs, our country needs more women to share their thoughts and take a place at the decision-making table.

This is not a new idea. During World War II, Rosie the Riveter called on women to enter the workforce and fill the jobs vacated by enlisted men. The Rosie the Riveter advertising campaign had a simple slogan: We can do it! And she told women two things: One, we need you, and two, you can make the difference. My great grandmother Mimi and my grandmother's sister, my great-aunt Betty, both saw Rosie on posters, pulled off their aprons, and headed to work at an arsenal, assembling ammunition for large weapons.

We need a Rosie the Riveter for this generation--not to draw women into professional life, because they are already there, but to elevate women's voices in the public sphere and bring women more fully into making the decisions that shape our country.

Source: Off the Sidelines, by Kirsten Gillibrand, p. xiv-xv , Sep 9, 2014

Affordable daycare is impediment for women working

Q: Women are faced with many challenges of balancing work and family, something I know you can relate to and frequently talk about.

A: Some of the feedback we got is that there are some impediments for women entering the work force; for example, affordable daycare, good quality early childhood education. Mothers in particular often want to enter the work force, but don't have the child care or the support they need to do so. So making sure employees know that when they provide childcare services, or when they make it easier for parents to work, they are increasing access to very good workers and to who's available for the work force. That it's a very pro-economy issue if you can provide affordable daycare. A lot of studies show that if you do that, if you provide it on site or make it accessible, that actually a lot of parents are more productive workers as a result.

Source: Make A Woman President?, by Marianne Schnall, p.292-293 , Nov 5, 2013

Sex Ed including both abstinence and contraception.

Gillibrand signed H.R.1551&S.611

Authorizes grants to states for sex education programs, including education on abstinence and contraception, to prevent teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Expresses the sense of Congress that states are encouraged, although not required, to provide matching funds to receive such grants.

Requires the Secretary to provide for a national evaluation of a representative sample of such programs for effectiveness in delaying the initiation of sexual intercourse and other high-risk behaviors, preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease, and increasing contraceptive knowledge and behavior. Requires states receiving such grants to provide for an individual evaluation of the state`s program by an external, independent entity.

Source: Responsible Education About Life Act 09-HR1551 on Mar 17, 2009

More funding & services for victims of domestic violence.

Gillibrand co-sponsored Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act

Introduction by co-sponsor Sen. Kay Hagan (D,NC):
We have a serious responsibility to ensure that women and families are protected. The rates of violence and abuse in our country are astounding and totally unacceptable: domestic violence affects more than 12 million people each year. In my home state, 73 women and children are killed on average every year because of domestic violence.

Since 1994, the STOP Program has provided grants for services, training, officers, and prosecutors, and has transformed our criminal justice system and victim support services. And this bill includes the bipartisan SAFER Act, which helps fund audits of untested DNA evidence and reduces this backlog of rape kits. I ask you: What other victims in America have to identify the attacker before authorities will take action? None.Introduction by Sen. Chuck Grassley(R,IA):
I urge my Republican colleagues, as I will do, to support the motion to proceed. There has long been bipartisan support for the Violence Against Women Act. Too many women are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence. There is overwhelming bipartisan support for 98% of what is contained in S. 47. [Since our negative vote last session], controversial provisions have been removed. The key stumbling block to enacting a bill at this time is the provision concerning Indian tribal courts. Negotiations are continuing, and compromises would allow the bill to pass with overwhelming bipartisan support. Introduction by Sen. Pat Leahy (D,VT):
Our bill will allow services to get to those in the LGBT community who have had trouble accessing services in the past. The rates of domestic and sexual violence in these communities are equal to or greater than those of the general population. We also have key improvements for immigrant victims of domestic and sexual violence.

Source: S.47/H.R.11 13-S0047 on Jan 22, 2013

Teach teens about both abstinence & contraception.

Gillibrand signed Responsible Education About Life Act

    To provide for the reduction of adolescent pregnancy, HIV rates, and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), Congress finds as follows:
  1. Leading public health organizations stress the need for sexuality education that includes messages about abstinence and contraception.
  2. A 2005 statement [to Congress] urged that `Sexuality education should be non-judgmental & support parent-child communication & should not impose religious or ideological viewpoints upon students.`
  3. [A Congressionally-sponsored] 2006 position paper that `Efforts to promote abstinence should include information about concepts of healthy sexuality, sexual orientation & tolerance, personal responsibility, risks of HIV, access to reproductive health care, and benefits & risks of condoms & other contraceptive methods.`
  4. 8 in 10 Americans believe that sex education should promote abstinence and provide information about the effectiveness & benefits of contraception.
  5. There is strong evidence that more comprehensive sex education can effectively help young people delay sexual initiation, even as it increases contraceptive use among sexually active youth.
  6. There is no evidence that federally funded abstinence-only-until-marriage programs are effective in stopping or delaying teen sex.
  7. Most young people have sex for the first time at about age 17, but do not marry until their late 20s. Hence young adults are at risk of unwanted pregnancy & STDs for nearly a decade.

Source: S.611&HR1551 2009-S611 on Mar 17, 2009

Other candidates on Families & Children: Kirsten Gillibrand on other issues:

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