CHEERS to Assemblywoman Janet Duprey for being one of just four female state lawmakers to be chosen as panelists for the Women Legislators and Public Policy forum, held recently at Hunter College in Manhattan. The Peru Republican joined Democrat Assemblywomen Shelley Mayer of Yonkers and Gabriela Rosa of Manhattan and Republican Assemblywoman Jane Corwin of the Niagara Falls area to speak before about 100 people at the forum, which was moderated by David Firestone, an editor at the New York Times.
They were asked about key policy areas, and among those Duprey talked about were funding and resources for special-needs children and adults and people who are mentally ill or disabled; finding a better balance between the Common Core mandates and standardized testing; continuing anti-bullying efforts in schools; economic development; and encouraging development while preserving the environment.
We asked Duprey to tell us about the experience, and here are some of the observations she shared:
“Perhaps one of the most interesting and positive reactions at the forum is that women are certainly better accepted as political candidates and elected officials versus my first years, when many people felt politics was really not a place for women. However, we also spoke about the lack of women in leadership positions in both parties and the family obligations that often prevent women from running for office.
“We all agreed that women are more likely to put partisan politics aside and just get along with each other on whatever issues arise. Given the fact the federal government was still shut down, that did generate some discussion during the open question-and-answer session.
“We talked about the diversity of our state, and as I look back at the evening, I think the audience reacted the most visibly when I talked about this Assembly district — about 3,200 square miles, one city, 37 towns, 10 villages, 16 school districts. Given that almost everyone in the audience lives in or around the greater New York City area, they were amazed by the size.
“Interestingly, it also generated questions from the audience about being more in touch with constituents as I travel around touring and visiting places, as many city politicians are relatively unknown. It’s very true that I know and talk with those I represent all the time, but I was surprised that was something they quickly picked up on.
“There was a reception after and dozens of folks waited to visit with me. I was totally surprised that almost to a person they knew about my same-sex marriage vote and my pro-choice support and thanked me for having the courage to take the votes.”
We are certain Duprey acquitted herself well at the forum. It was an honor for the North Country to have a representative on this selective panel.
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