The United States is the only industrialized country in the world without national paid family and medical leave.

This gaping hole in our social safety net forces Americans to make an impossible choice — between caring for themselves, their families, or their community’s health, and a paycheck. The coronavirus pandemic has only exacerbated this crisis. Millions of Americans — including more than two million women — have lost their jobs over the past year, putting an emphasis on how paid leave could have helped.

Since 2013, Kirsten has been the leader in the fight to pass the FAMILY Act, which…


Created in 2011 by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Off the Sidelines helps organize and mobilize women to participate in politics, set the local and national policy agenda, and hold elected leaders accountable.


“Be flexible in your life. You make a big decision as an 18-year-old freshman about your major which set up a large part of your post-college life. BUT have the courage to go a different direction after you graduate based on your passion if your interest changes.”

Off The Sidelines: Tell us about yourself. Why did you decide to get off the sidelines and run for office?

Cynthia Wallace: In 2019, the 9th district went without representation in Congress for 9 months after the discovery of election fraud by Republican operatives canceled the results of the 2018 election. The current Republican congressman missed 33% of the votes in his first month in office. By that time, I had served as the 9th Congressional District Chair for the Democratic Party across all of the district’s eight counties for nearly three years. My deep commitment to the district — and seeing the Republican incumbent only show up in Congress when he could vote against the interests of his constituents…


“Do not worry about what others think of you, do not look to get others’ approval. You know who you are and what your value is. No one needs to define that for you.”

Off The Sidelines: Tell us about yourself. Why did you decide to get off the sidelines and run for office?

Hiral Tipirneni: I’ve spent my life in service of others — focused on solving complex problems and improving people’s lives. For over 20 years, I’ve worked in my community, first, as an emergency medicine physician, then, as a cancer research advocate. I also serve on the board of Valleywise Health Foundation, which supports the only public hospital in Maricopa County and the largest safety net hospital in AZ. After the 2016 election, my family, friends, and I were devastated by the results. The idea that over 20 million Americans would be thrown off their healthcare if the ACA was repealed…


Off The Sidelines: Tell us about yourself. Why did you decide to get off the sidelines and run for office?

Gina Ortiz Jones: As a first-generation American who was raised by a single mom and earned a four-year Air Force ROTC scholarship to attend college, I’ve been fortunate to live the American Dream. And, having spent nearly 15 years working in national security, to include deploying to Iraq as an Air Force intelligence officer, I’ve seen first-hand the importance of American leadership. Our country’s example and leadership matter — our country is special, and she’s worth fighting for.

OTS: Tell us about where you’re running and what your district is like.

GOJ: I’m most grateful for the support and encouragement of voters in TX-23. It’s clear our message is resonating and giving people…


Desiree Tims

“Be true to yourself and trust your gut — it will all work out.”

Off The Sidelines: Tell us about yourself. Why did you decide to get off the sidelines and run for office?

Desiree Tims: I was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio and I’m a proud product of Dayton Public Schools. After graduating from Dayton Dunbar High School, I became the first in her family to graduate from a four-year college and attended Xavier University. Most recently, I graduated from Georgetown Law.

As an undergraduate at Xavier University, I joined the 2008 Obama presidential campaign as a volunteer in Southwest Ohio. Later, that experience would land me in The White House during President Barack Obama’s first presidential term. Following my time at The White House, I began working on Capitol Hill for…


“Stretching into new roles and environments is a good thing. Being uncomfortable when you are doing something means you are really growing.”

Off the Sidelines: Tell us about yourself. Why did you decide to get off the sidelines and run for office?

Gretchen Driskell: I was born and raised in Port Washington, New York. I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Lynchburg College and a Master’s of Business Administration degree from George Washington University. I worked as a CPA in D.C. for many years then moved to Michigan with my family in 1988.

As the grand-daughter and daughter of Navy Veterans, I grew up learning that we have an obligation to give back to our community and that the most valuable things in life are always worth standing up for. …


“Sometimes we doubt ourselves so much and compare ourselves to others’ expectations. I would tell my younger self to have a little more faith.”

Off The Sidelines: Tell us about yourself. Why did you decide to get off the sidelines and run for office?

Val Demings: When growing up, my mother always told me “never grow tired of doing good.” As a 27- year law enforcement officer, I worked my way up through every barrier to become the first female Chief of Police of the Orlando Police Department. We engaged the community to make sure that they received what they wanted from their police department. We were able to reduce crime by 40%. I decided to run for office because I wanted to continue doing good for our community. …


There’s nothing quite like a good book. It can transport you, captivate you, teach you, and — perhaps most importantly these days — offer a much-needed distraction from everyday life.

So we put a call out to our Off the Sidelines candidates: What book — or books — would you recommend to a friend during this challenging time?

We received a ton of responses, from beloved children’s books to powerful non-fiction and just about everything in between. I hope you’ll take a look! …


Off the Sidelines: Tell us about yourself. Why did you decide to get off the sidelines and run for office?

Sara Gideon: Years ago, when my three kids were all under the age of five, I came home to a message someone had left for my husband, Ben on our answering machine asking if he would consider running for our local town council seat. When I heard that message I thought — actually — I think that’s the right job for me and a place where I can really make a difference. …

Off The Sidelines

Off The Sidelines is @SenGillibrand’s movement to help women run for office—and win.

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