A UCLA School of Law alumna, Kirsten Gillibrand, was sworn in to the U.S. Senate on Tuesday as a senator of New York.
New York Gov. David A. Paterson appointed Gillibrand as a senator representing New York on Friday. Gillibrand was sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden.
Michael Schill, dean of the UCLA School of Law, said Gillibrand graduated from UCLA School of Law in 1991. Schill said Gillibrand is active in the UCLA Alumni Association, adding that she spoke at an event for alumni in Washington, D.C., last September.
Gillibrand was the fourth UCLA Law School graduate to become a member of Congress after Henry Waxman, Linda Sanchez and Howard Berman, he said.
She was selected for the senator seat over popular candidates Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of former President John F. Kennedy, and New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo after Kennedy dropped out of the race citing “personal reasons,” according to news reports.
Paterson said at Gillibrand’s news conference on Friday that “talent, ability, work ethic are the most important attributes for the U.S. Senate, and Kirsten Gillibrand fits that bill.”
Her selection was also due in part to her origins, as Paterson said he was looking for a representative of upstate New York.
Gillibrand is from the Republican district of Albany in upstate New York. She currently lives with her husband and two sons in Hudson, N.Y., according to The New York Times.
She is filling the Democrat seat left vacant by Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has taken her new role as secretary of state.
Gillibrand is the 17th woman in the Senate and currently the youngest senator at 42, according to The Associated Press, which also stated that President Barack Obama praised her appointment. He issued a statement saying that she would be a “strong voice for transparency and reform in government.”
Schill said that the UCLA School of Law was very proud of Gillibrand.
“This is part of a tradition of service to our country. This is what the school is about,” he said.