2020 Election
By Katie Reilly
January 16, 2019

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand took a major step toward joining the 2020 race for President on Tuesday, announcing on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert that she was forming an exploratory committee for her campaign.

“I’m going to run for President of the United States because as a young mom, I’m going to fight for other people’s kids as hard as I would fight for my own — which is why I believe that health care should be a right and not a privilege,” Gillibrand told Colbert in a clip released ahead of Tuesday night’s show. “It’s why I believe we should have better public schools for our kids, because it shouldn’t matter what block you grow up on. And I believe that anybody who wants to work hard enough should be able to get whatever job training they need to earn their way into the middle class.”

Gillibrand joins a field of Democratic primary candidates that is growing more crowded by the day. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro have all announced plans to seek the Democratic nomination for President.

In a series of tweets Tuesday night, Gillibrand said her campaign will focus on fighting “for better health care, education and jobs” and “taking institutional racism and injustice head-on.”

“I know that I have the compassion, the courage and the fearless determination to get that done,” Gillibrand told Colbert.

Gillibrand has served in the U.S. Senate since 2009, when she was appointed to fill the seat left vacant when Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State.

Gillibrand has been a vocal critic of the Trump Administration and has been a champion for women’s rights, speaking out against sexual harassment and assault in the military and on college campuses. As the #MeToo movement gathered steam, she was the first senator to call for Minnesota Sen. Al Franken to resign in 2017 after he was accused of sexual misconduct.

Some of Gillibrand’s other Senate colleagues have also generated speculation about potential presidential bids, including California Sen. Kamala Harris, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Write to Katie Reilly at Katie.Reilly@time.com.

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