Kirsten Gillibrand, D-Hudson, was sworn in as New York's junior Senator on Tuesday, Jan. 27, just prior to the legislative body going into recess. Her appointment by Gov. David Paterson brought to an end weeks of speculation on who would replace the new Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.
Paterson announced his pick at a noontime conference on Friday, Jan. 23.
I didn't ask for this responsibility, but it is my privilege and honor to execute our state statute this afternoon, said Paterson. "I believe I have found the best candidate to become the United States senator from New York."
Gillibrand acknowledged that she has not been in the forefront of discussion about Clinton's replacement.
"I realize that for many New Yorkers, this is the first time you've heard my name and you don't know much about me," said Gillibrand. "Over the next two years you will get to know me, and more importantly, I will get to know you."
Between her being named as Paterson's pick and her swearing in, Gillibrand has engaged in an impromptu "listening tour," said her spokeswoman Rachel McEneny. Stops have already been made in the New York City area, and she will soon head to Western New York and Long Island in the coming weeks.
"While most senatorial offices have three months to do a Senate transition, we have two days," she said. "It's been a mad rush meeting with folks from all communities."
At Friday's ceremony, Gillibrand briefly outlined her plans for her time in the U.S. Senate, of which she will have at least two years until a special election in 2010, when it will be decided who will fill out the final two years of Clinton's term. The federal government's stimulus package was on the top of her list.
"We are all painfully aware that New York has been hit by this recession," said Gillibrand. "I intend to listen to all my constituents, and all my colleagues in government, to be a part of this solution."