High Altitude Society column:Senator speaks about getting ‘off the sidelines’
On a crisp, cool autumn evening in Vail, a group of community members gathered to learn more about U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s new movement “Off the Sidelines,” which encourages women to be engaged in the political process.
In her book, “Off the Sidelines: Raise Your Voice, Change the World,” Gillibrand tells the story of how she decided to raise her own voice and why she wants others to do the same. The “Off the Sidelines” message is about awareness, mentoring, voting, candidacy, advocacy and parity.
Anne-Marie Keane introduced Gillibrand, whom she has known since they were fellow students at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Keane reminisced saying, “I had no idea at that time that one of us would be a senator and that one of us would actually be living in Vail. … We share many things. We are both mothers, both have had professional careers and we are both passionate about helping women succeed in achieving the American dream.”
‘WOMEN’S VOICES DO MATTER’
There was a true sense of positive regard and mutual respect evident in the room.
“I am very grateful that you have come here and that you have taken the path of public service. I appreciate it so much,” Keane said to Gillibrand.
It is something to hear the story of a life well-lived, of a young girl with powerful role models in their grandmother and mother, who were hard working and influential.
“I learned early on that women’s voices do matter,” Gillibrand said.
Gillibrand majored in Asian studies at Dartmouth, spent time in Beijing and learned Mandarin. She graduated from UCLA Law School, worked with law firms in New York, became a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and ran for a six-year term Senate race in 2012, winning the seat with 72.2 percent of the vote, the largest victory margin for a statewide candidate in New York history.
Notable to all in the room, Gillibrand stands for being accountable.
“I post all of my earmark requests (and) post my financial disclosures and meetings. I really want to talk about transparency and accountability,” Gillibrand said.
It is easy to see why “Time” magazine included Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in 2014’s list of the 100 most influential people.
For more information, visit http://www.offthe sidelines.org.
Betty Ann Woodland is a longtime local who covers social events including fundraisers for nonprofits, galas and soirees of all kinds. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.