Birthdate: Dec. 10, 1951
Birth Place: El Cerrito, CA, United States
Residence: Billings, MT
Kim Gillan was born in El Cerrito, Calif., and now resides in Billings, Mont. She earned a bachelor's in psychology from the University of California-Los Angeles and a master's in regional planning from Cornell University. She completed further graduate work at George Washington University.
Gillan moved to Montana in 1992. She was an active member of local task forces and school groups prior to winning a state House seat in 1996, where she served until 2004. She has been in the state Senate since, where she is currently serving a second term.
Gillan works as a workforce development coordinator at Montana State University-Billings.
She has a son and a daughter.
Kim Gillan emerged from a crowded Democratic primary campaign in June 2012 with about a third of the overall vote.
Montana Democrats believe Gillan, who is a state legislator, gives the party a chance to reclaim the state's lone U.S. House seat for the first time since Pat Williams won a ninth term in 1994.
Gillan is hoping to take advantage of incumbent Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg's decision to vacate the seat in order to run for the U.S. Senate.
Gillan, a workforce development director at Montana State University-Billings, fought her way to front-runner status in a primary race where no one began with much statewide name recognition.
Throughout the primary, she was careful to appeal to Democrats on issues important to them while retaining a moderate voice that will be needed to collect independent voters in the general election. Gillan said those voters will be interested in her promise to work across the aisle in Congress to break gridlock.
She casts herself as a tenacious problem solver with a track record of getting results in the Montana Legislature, where she has held several leadership positions for the Democrats.
Legislation backed by Gillan includes state laws to mandate insurance coverage for autism and diabetes treatments, job training assistance for small businesses, higher economy standards for state fleet vehicles, and tougher drunk driving laws.
Gillan, who has won re-election many times in a Billings swing district, has strongly backed development of the Keystone XL pipeline that is backed by labor unions and business interests and opposed by environmental groups. She has not taken a position on President Barack Obama's call for the legalization of gay marriage.
Gillan, who battled with several other Democrats in the primary, has so far lagged in fundraising compared with her general election opponent, Republican Steve Daines.
Source: Associated Press