Senate pick pulled '06 upset to start political rise

January 23, 2009 10:15:50 AM PST
Gov. David Paterson's selection of Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand as New York's next U.S. Senator is her first real introduction to much of the state. Paterson has chosen the 42-year-old second-term lawmaker from the Hudson Valley over a roster of better-known, more experienced New York Democrats to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The fiscally conservative Democrat from Columbia County is relatively unknown outside her congressional district in eastern New York.

So who is Kirsten Gillibrand?

She's the daughter of an Albany lobbyist, a graduate of Dartmouth College and UCLA's law school and a former Manhattan lawyer.

The mother of two young children, Gillibrand worked for Andrew Cuomo when he was the federal housing secretary during Bill Clinton's administration.

In 2006, she defeated incumbent Republican John Sweeney in a GOP-dominated district that stretches 200 miles from the mid Hudson Valley to the Adirondacks.


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