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12/23/2010

NY Senator's early Xmas gift: Glowing front page NYT profile

by Jeremy Hooper

Today's New York Times features a great, front page feature on a great, front line ally:

NYT-Gillibrand[Senator Gillibrand (D-NY)], who had represented a conservative upstate district in Congress, was not well known to liberals or gay rights groups at the time. But in an interview, she said she had realized from an early age that discrimination against gays was wrong.

Her mother — a black belt in karate who the senator said “did things differently her whole life” — worked in the arts and surrounded herself with gay friends. During the height of the AIDS crisis, Ms. Gillibrand’s sister, a playwright and actress, volunteered to help children with AIDS.

And when Ms. Gillibrand was a young associate, working long nights at the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell, she recalled, “the straight men found time to date and get married and have kids and went home at six every night, and the only ones left were the women and gay men.”

So she wound up vacationing with gay colleagues on Fire Island and in the Hamptons, and forging lifelong friendships. “A lot of them are now having children,” she said. “And it never occurred to me that they should not have every benefit that I have.”

FULL PIECE: Gillibrand Gains Foothold With Victory on 9/11 Aid [NYT]

I've personally seen this senator hop on a barroom table and give a strong, off-cuff advocacy speech. I've also seen her stump in her own home's back yard, with an on-the-go burger in one hand and a toddler in the other. Not to mention, oh yea -- those bills she's championed when others might've been ready to give up.

In politics, it's sometimes hard to spot the real deal. But from what I've seen: Senator Gillibrand is either it, or she's the Meryl Streep of the Democratic party.

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