New York guv David Paterson is set to name Kirsten Gillibrand, a second-term congresswoman from upstate New York, to replace Hillary in the Senate. At first blush, Gillibrand seems merely a perfect Caroline Kennedy replacement: A woman with cash, but without all that baggage! (Roll Call called Gillibrand in 2007 "the most effective fundraiser of the House freshman class. Score!) But the spunky Gillibrand has forged a strong political persona in just one term in the House. Here's ten things you probably didn't know about Chuck Schumer's next junior Senator:
1. She "comes from a politically sophisticated family," writes the Almanac of American Politics. "[H]er father was an attorney and lobbyist with ties to George Pataki; her grandmother was a prominent Democratic activist in Albany who brought Gillibrand along with her on the campaign trail." One summer in college, she interned for Alfonse D'Amato.
2. She bucked House leadership by voting against both versions of the TARP bailout bill in the fall.
3. A big gun supporter, she's been given a 100% approval rating by the NRA -- she's one of the extremely few Democrats on a federal level to win official NRA endorsement -- and, this fall, she voted in favor of a controversial bill to repeal District of Columbia laws prohibiting the possession of semiautomatics.
4. A couple more mavericky votes: She was the only New York Democrat to support the May 2007 war-funding bill; the others voted against it because it did not contain a troop-withdrawal timetable. She also voted for H.R. 6304, the FISA Amendments Act, which extended immunity to telecoms that spied on U.S. citizens at the behest of the Bush administration.
5. During this year's campaign, she described her voting record as "one of the most conservative in the state" of New York.
6. Her district, while not overwhelmingly Republican -- the Cook Political Report gives it a "partisan voting index" of R+3 -- voted for George W. Bush twice.
7. She's crazy for constituent outreach, and has held dozens of "office hours" at grocery stores in her district. During her re-election campaign, even local Republican officials expressed awe at her "visibility."
8. She's one of a few representatives to disclose her daily schedule online, so reporters and constituents can see who's got access to her. She also posts her earmark requests.
9. Hill wags have chattered about a rift between the rising-star Gillibrand -- who agitated hard for a coveted seat on Ways and Means -- and Nancy Pelosi, although the women have denied there's any tension.
10. She has a child under one year old: a son, Henry, delivered this past May -- just hours after Gillibrand sat through a marathon 13-hour Armed Services Committee hearing. Take that, Sarah Palin!
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