Press-Republican

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March 21, 2014

Students meet lawmakers

Various social issues discussed at the Meet Your State Legislator event at Peru Central School

PERU — When Assemblywoman Janet Duprey first got involved in politics, she was met with sexism and discrimination.

“When I first walked into the (Clinton) County Legislature as a member of the board, it was January of 1976,” she told the crowd at the recent Meet Your State Legislator event. 

“One of my colleagues walked up to me and said, ‘I’m not here to welcome you and congratulate you.’ He said, ‘I want to share something with you. You don’t belong here. We don’t want you, and we’ll get rid of you in two years.”

Duprey said she made up her mind to prove him wrong.

“It’s just interesting to hear about the improvements we’ve made with women in political fields,” she said after Duprey spoke.

MORE STUDENTS INVOLVED

Hannah Osborne was among 30 students from 17 area schools selected to attend the annual event, held by the League of Women Voters of the North Country at Peru Central School.

Osborne, a Peru Central student, and Sarah Burbank of Moriah Central School were chosen by lottery at the event to attend the Students Inside Albany program in May, when they will experience the operations of state government first-hand.

Before Meet Your State Legislator was created four years ago, students would write essays and enter them for a chance to take part in the Students Inside Albany program, said Betty Ann King, chairwoman of the local League of Women Voters.

The newer program has a broader reach, she said.

“We wanted to bring Albany to as many students as possible rather than just one person being informed,” she said. “You’re looking for students to be knowledgeable and engaged in their governments.”

‘YOUTH CRITICAL’

The student delegates agreed many young people have a different attitude toward politics than some older citizens.

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