Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York announced Tuesday that she will run for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020, in a campaign that is expected to lean heavily on gender issues and imagery.

She told host Stephen Colbert on CBS’ “Late Show” that she believes she has “the compassion, the courage and the fearless determination” necessary.

“The first thing I would do is restore what’s been lost: the integrity and the compassion in this country,” she said. “I would bring people together to start getting things done.”

Gillibrand, 52, is most well known for her efforts to combat sexual assault in the military and on college campuses, to repeal the military’s policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and to make it easier for Capitol Hill staffers who have been sexually harassed or assaulted to report their experiences.

The senator has latched on to the burst of activism prompted by President Trump’s election and his policies, a movement that’s largely driven by women. She called the 2017 Women’s March on Washington “truly the most inspiring moment of my entire life” and joined the protesters who challenged Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court last fall. She also stood up to fellow Democrats as the #MeToo era dawned, criticizing then-Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota and former president Bill Clinton for their alleged inappropriate behavior toward women. Gillibrand is also a vocal critic of Trump, and she has voted against his political appointees and positions at a higher rate than most Democrats. The president responded in December 2017 by attacking her in a tweet that she called “a sexist smear.”

With the announcement made, Gillibrand plans to spend time with her husband and two sons on Wednesday in Troy, New York, where she lives and where her campaign will be headquartered. On Friday, she will start a three-day tour of Iowa. Gillibrand emphasized her family in Tuesday’s announcement.

Since Gillibrand was appointed to the Senate in 2009 to fill the seat left open when Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, she has undergone a and dramatic shift, abandoning many of the centrist positions she held during her time as a congresswoman from Upstate New York and becoming one of the Senate’s most liberal members.


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