When Lieutenant Governor David Paterson of New York suddenly became governor of the state after his predecessor, Eliot Spitzer, was forced to resign in a scandal, Paterson proved to be ineffective in office. But he did leave one important legacy - Kirsten Gillibrand. In 2009, Paterson plucked the Democratic U.S. Representative from upstate New York out of obscurity and appointed her as an interim U.S. Senator to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton, after Mrs. Clinton became Secretary of State.
As a House member, Mrs. Gillibrand, a lawyer by training, was a moderate Democrat who opposed strict gun control laws and amnesty for illegal immigrants. However, she's become more liberal as a U.S. Senator, supporting the pro-immigrant DREAM Act, allowing gays in the military, and improved access to contraceptives for women. After winning a special election in 2010 to complete Mrs. Clinton's term in the Senate, she looked toward seeking a full six-year term in 2012.
She and her husband Jonathan Gillibrand reside in Brunswick, New York, with their two sons.