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A Seat at the Table: The (Female) Road to 2020

We’ve long since agreed that the future is female and thankfully the future is coming in 2020. Hillary Clinton’s groundbreaking presidential bid may have met its demise in the electoral college but that hasn’t stop women from taking their seats at the table and they’re not giving it up any time soon.

Related: Extraordinary Women in Congress from this Election

The newly elected congress is home to the most diverse group of senators and representatives in history, and the rapidly deepening pool of 2020 presidential candidates is following suit. From sea to shining sea, women like California’s Kamala Harris and New York’s Kirsten Gillibrand are tidying up their formidable resumes and taking on the campaign trail to challenge Donald Trump’s reelection bid — with more to inevitably follow suit. Meet the four women who have currently thrown their names in the hat, be it officially or by forming exploratory committees: Tulsi Gabbard, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris.

Tulsi Gabbard

Political History:

Elected in 2012, Tulsi Gabbard represents Hawaii’s second district in the House of Representatives and in the 2018 election she held her seat with over 77% of the vote. Upon her election, Gabbard became the first Hindu elected to congress and has been appointed to the the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Financial Services for the 116th Congress (previous committee assignment include Committee of Homeland Security and the Committee on Foreign Affairs). Before coming to the House of Representatives, Gabbard was elected to the Hawaii House of Representatives and Honolulu City Council, was deployed on two tours of duty to the Middle East with the National Guard and earned her degree from Hawaii Pacific University.

Signature Issue:

Gabbard has been outspoken in her support of a less aggressive U.S. foreign policy and an end of intervention overseas, and we can expect this stance to continue in her bid for office. On her 2020 campaign website, she pulled at her military service and spoke at length about the cost of war and importance of remembering the living, breathing people behind policy decisions, stating that “she wondered if those who voted to send soldiers to Iraq really understood why they were there — if lawmakers and the President reflected daily on each death, each injury and the immeasurably high cost of war.”

Via The Hill

Elizabeth Warren

Political History:

Warren’s career has taken multiple different directions over the years, with her working as an elementary school teacher, lawyer, law professor and bankruptcy analyst all before entering the political sphere. She graduated from the University of Houston in 1970 with a B.S. and Rutgers University in 1976 with a Juris Doctor. Prior to her 2012 election to represent Massachusetts in the Senate, Warren was appointed to chair the Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program in 2008 (a position she held until 2010) and from 2010 to 2011 she was appointed Special Advisor for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under President Barack Obama. In the Senate, Warren currently serves on the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Health, Labors and Pensions Committee, a Special Committee on Aging and as the Vice-Chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus.

Signature Issue:

With her history as a financial advisor and bankruptcy analyst, Warren has long since been a champion for economic reform and has shone a light on the extreme income inequality in America that is often overlooked. She also speaks extensively about the attacks against the shrinking middle class by corporation and political corruption. As a result, we expect her economic stance and ideas will take center stage in debates and her campaign as a whole.


Kirsten Gillibrand

Political History:

Kirsten Gillibrand has had a winding road to come to her current political views, with her formerly representing a conservative Iowa House District with viewpoints and votes to match. After graduating from Dartmouth in 1988 with an A.B. and UCLA in 1991, she was elected in 2007 to the House of Representatives to represent Iowa, where she served until 2009. Gillibrand was known in the House as a conservative Democrat — or a centrist, was a member of the Blue Dog Coalition (a caucus of conservative Democrats) and was at the will of a conservative Iowa electorate. However, when she ran in a 2010 New York special election to fill Hillary Clinton’s vacated senate seat, she found herself representing a generally liberal state and is now known as one of the most liberal senators. In the Senate, Gillibrand currently serves on the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, Armed Services Committee, Environment and Public Works Committee and the Special Committee on Aging.

Signature Issue:

Gillibrand is known for the priority she places on women’s equality and opportunity, which she has long since placed at the forefront of her policies and we can expect this to continue throughout her presidential campaign.  She is also the leader of a women’s empowerment PAC, called Off the Sidelines, that focuses on encouraging women and girls to make their voices heard about issues they’re passionate about and has stringently supported safe and legal access to abortion and contraceptives.  

Via Huffington Post

Amy Kobluchar

Political History:

Kobluchar was elected to represent Minnesota in the Senate in 2007, and recently won her third term representing the state. Prior to her election, she rose to the rank of partner at Dorsey & Whitney and Gray Plant Mooty law firms before becoming  Hennepin County Attorney from 1999-2006. She graduated magna cum laude from Yale University in 1982 and from the University of Chicago in 1985 with her J.D. Kobluchar currently serves on the Rules and Administration Committee, Judiciary Committee, Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee and the Joint-Committee on Economics.

Signature Issue:

Klobucher has been a firm and unwavering champion of legislation to both address and combat the opioid epidemic and abuse of prescription drugs in America. In October of 2018, Klobucher introduced several bipartisan bills to combat the opioid epidemic, three of which were signed into law by the President. While this was a major victory for Klobucher and the millions of Americans impacted by the epidemic, she knows the work is not done and she will definitely continue to advocate for this cause — regardless of the outcome of her 2020 election bid.

Via City Journal

Kamala Harris

Political History:

One of the few Democratic women elected to congress after 2016, Kamala Harris has had a rapid and astronomical rise to the upper echelons of Washington political elite. Elected in a 2016 California Special Election, Harris became the second African-American woman to be elected to the Senate and the first Indian-American to serve in the chamber. She isn’t unfamiliar with these first’s, however, during her tenure as California’s Attorney General from 2011 to 2016, she was the state’s first female, first African-American and first Asian-American Attorney General. Harris graduated from Howard University in 1986 with her B.A. and from UC Hastings’ College of Law in 1989 with her J.D. In the Senate, she currently serves on the Judiciary Committee, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Environment and Public Works Committee, Budget Committee and the Intelligence Committee.

Signature Issue:

Last fall, Harris unveiled a proposed sweeping middle-class tax cut to oppose the President’s current tax plan that served to cut taxes for only the wealthiest members of society and we can expect her to speak extensively on this during her campaign. Harris has also been a faithful champion of a liberal civil-rights agenda in the Senate, one product of this being a piece of legislation she led with Senator Cory Booker (now a fellow presidential candidate) that finally made lynching illegal, and we can also be certain that she will continue to advocate for this legislation. She highlights on her 2020 campaign website, her work as attorney general of California to bring down Proposition 8 and legalize gay marriage as more of her work on civil rights. We can also be certain that she will continue to advocate for this legislation in the Senate, on the campaign trail and potentially in the Oval Office.

Via Rolling Stone

Related: Kamala Harris Launched Her 2020 Presidential Bid by Calling for Debt-Free College & More

Nothing makes us happier than already seeing so many displays of female excellence leading up to 2020 and we can’t wait to watch each and every nominee duke it out in debates and primaries across America until the DNC. We may be biased, but, we definitely feel these ladies and their male counterparts are more than up for the challenge in 2020.

Chloe Fischer

George Mason University '22

Chloe is majoring in Government and International Politics at George Mason University. She is currently the President and Campus Correspondent of Her Campus at George Mason University. Outside of Her Campus, she is also a founding member and the secretary of Ignite GMU, her university's chapter of Ignite, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering young women to declare their ambition and ignite their political power.
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