Community News
Our Children
Our Schools

High School Females Learn About Running for Political Office

• Bookmarks: 138

May 3, 2018

by Charlene Weigel – 

The list of reasons why I shouldn’t be here is staggering. People say you are too dumb. Too shy,” State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins confided to 43 female high school students from around Westchester County. She reflected on her challenges in running for elected office, “No one looked like me when I ran. But you are already speaking truth to power. Your biggest decision is how far you want to go, and how high you want to run.”

Stewart-Cousins was one of 16 female elected officials who participated in the seventh annual “Running and Winning” workshop on April 19. Members of the State Senate and Assembly and elected officials at the county, town and village levels coached junior and senior students on how to successfully run for office.

“I’m not talking to your neighbor at your table,” said Ossining Town Supervisor Dana Levenberg, “I’m talking to you, and you, and you.” Jane Tilles, a senior at Briarcliff Manor High School was listening closely. “We need to build girls’ confidence. We feel such pressure to be perfect,” Tilles continued.

Rachel Kaufman, a senior at Ardsley High School, reacted to learning that women comprise only 20% of Congress. “I’m reading Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. Women feel they have to know everything before running. We need to learn that we’ll be fine if we cover our bases. More needs to be done to invigorate young women for leadership positions.”

But where to start? Westchester County Legislator MaryJane Shimsky advised students to “base your platform on things you care about. Find organizations for issue advocacy. Step in when your local political party needs a district leader. Get involved.”

Ossining Mayor Victoria Gearity continued the pragmatic advice. “Raising funds for a campaign is one of the biggest challenges. Learning to be an effective fundraiser is essential to ensure running for office is not limited to wealthy people.” She stressed the tangible results of serving locally. “By converting to LED streetlights, for example, Ossining saved over $100,000 per year, making it possible to have no tax increase.”

Rachel Echt, a junior at Sleepy Hollow High School, leveraged Gearity’s fiscal coaching. She was on one of nine teams workshopping a political campaign based on guidance from the elected officials. Her team chose a platform of community composting. “Money we save in composting and sales from community gardens will allow us to finance other projects.” Echt also reacted to the personal economic challenges facing local officials. “I did not realize how little they were paid for what are full time jobs. It is true public service.”

“Running and Winning” is funded by the Westchester Community Foundation and sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Westchester, the American Association of University Women, and the YWCA of White Plains & Central Westchester.

Share the News!

Westchester DA’s Office Releases Photos of Suspects in Case of Sleepy Hollow Racist Stickers

By Barrett Seaman-- Twelve days after a rash of racist stickers was discovered plastered on street signs throughout Sleepy Hollow...
Read More

Rivertowns Clergy Association Issues Statement on Hateful Stickers in Community

By Rick Pezzullo--- The Rivertowns Clergy Association, which represents people of faith in Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow, has issued a...
Read More

Woman Rescued from Hudson By Tarrytown Police, EMTs And Firemen

At 10:18 a.m. Wednesday, Tarrytown police were notified by a resident that a woman had jumped into the Hudson River...
Read More

Shimsky to Run for Reelection on County Board of Legislators

By Rick Pezzullo--- MaryJane Shimsky, Majority Leader on the Westchester County Board of Legislators, has announced she will be running...
Read More

The COVID Vaccine Floodgate Opens, But Then What?

By Barrett Seaman-- After weeks of waiting patiently to be told when and where to show up for the COVID-19...
Read More

Tarrytown Police Reform Group Issues Draft Report

By Barrett Seaman-- Residents of Tarrytown are getting their first look at the findings and recommendations of the Police Reform...
Read More

Sleepy Hollow Resident Chosen as First Westchester Poet Laureate

By Rick Pezzullo--- Sleepy Hollow resident B.K. Fischer was named Tuesday as Westchester County’s inaugural Poet Laureate. Fischer, an author...
Read More

Registration for Group 1B Vaccinations Opens at 4:00 PM, January 11

By Barrett Seaman-- Following the announcement by the state that Groups 1A and 1B in the pecking order for COVID-19...
Read More

Westchester County Executive Latimer Announces Re-election Bid

By Rick Pezzullo-- Westchester County Executive George Latimer announced Monday his plans to seek a second four-year term in November....
Read More

COVID Cases Move Irvington Middle and High Schools To Go Remote

Three new cases of COVID-19 at Irvington's high school and middle school-- complicated by required quarantine for staff members-- have...
Read More
138 recommended
bookmark icon