In winning her first full term on Tuesday, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand pulled in 72 percent of the vote, which is the most of any statewide candidate in as long as anyone can remember. But, the Democrat said she is too busy in the aftermath of Sandy to savor the victory. Josh Robin caught up with her in Brooklyn, and has more on the story.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said she has one priority: restoring normalcy to the victims of Sandy. The storm response has dominated her public schedule. On Friday, it was meeting with AmeriCorps members working in shelters.
"It's been a strange time, because while these elections are happening we've been knee-deep in water, and sadness, and destruction," said Gillibrand.
She sees her role as trying to coordinate agencies, and keep the focus on the most vulnerable.
"I'm really an advocate for the families. I'm going in these communities, finding out what's working, what's not working, trying to make sure we streamline processes," Gillibrand said.
The mission is incomplete now. Tens of thousands might need housing, and unlike in other disaster zones, trailers can't just go anywhere. There is also the larger issue of the new infrastructure needed to prevent a repeat.
Gillibrand noted, "One hundred year storms happening every two years shows there has been a change in our climate, and so what we need to do is do whatever it takes to protect families."
On other issues, she is not in sync with President Obama on raising taxes. He wants higher rates for those making $250,000 and up. Gillibrand said she's fighting for a cutoff of $1 million.
Even before her latest victory, Gillibrand's name was floated as a possible candidate for President in 2016. But, Gillibrand has told reporters that she will serve out her entire Senate term, which ends two years later.
"I'm entirely committed to doing my job in the Senate and I have no intention or plan to do that," said said.
"Any Governor or Senator from New York State is always mentioned as a Presidential Candidate. Could Kirsten Gillibrand be a candidate? Why not? Could Andrew Cuomo be a candidate? Sure! Might Hillary Clinton be a candidate? Possibly," suggested Hank Sheinkopf, political consultant.
Gillibrand used her fundraising prowess to aid fellow Democrats. And amid her calls for more women in public office there will be a record twenty female Senators in the next session.