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Why She Ran: A Conversation With Women In Politics

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Working Families Party members and others from across the Capital Region are invited to attend “Why She Ran,” a conversation set for tonight about the challenges faced by women in politics — and the importance of tackling those challenges head on.

There are some exceptions — North Country Republican Elise Stefanik is the youngest woman ever elected to the House, and New York and Massachusetts each have a female U.S. Senator — but across the country, women are underrepresented in public office.

That’s according to the Working Families Party, which says while women make up half the population, they’re just 22 percent of the New York state legislature — a trend at all levels of government.  Indeed, the “three men in a room” tradition of state budget negotiating currently under fire in Albany is aptly named.

Hence tonight's scheduled discussion, another in a series of "Why She Ran" conversations.

Among the panelists:  Vivian Kornegay. The Albany Common Council Member represents the city's 2nd Ward; she says while it can be very challenging to run for political office, even on a local level, the WFP helps clear the path.   "They have been instrumental in helping raise funds, helping you get out and pound the pavement, anything that you need to do to run successfully. So I felt it was important to be there, to give back to an organization that has given so much to me, and to let other women know that it's not impossible, it's a hard task, it is, it's very challenging, and some days you just wanna run away, throw your hands up and say 'Why am I doing this,' but when you think of all of the things that you need to do, all of the work that you can accomplish from being an elected official, it's worth it in the end."

Also serving on the panel is Schenectady City Council Member Marion Porterfield.  "I expect the audience to be people who are interested in either running for office or people who will want to support women who are running for office. And hopefully some younger women who have an interest in running for elected office at some point, and just trying to find out what it takes to get started towards that goal. Women have found it imperative that they become involved on the political level to be able to affect some of the changes that need to happen."

Porterfield is not surprised that women are ascending to new levels politically. She believes that after hearing tonight's presentation, people will be more encouraged to run for office.  "And they'll also be better equipped to know what they have to do and the beginning steps that they'll have to take. And I think they'll also walk away with the reality of knowing that it’s really not as glamorous as some people would like to think that it is."

Moderator: Antonella Pechtel - 1199 SEIU Political Director
Panelists: Patricia Fahy - New York State Assemblymember, 109th Assembly District
Vivian Kornegay - Albany Common Council Member, 2nd Ward
Marion Porterfield - Schenectady City Council Member
Leah Golby - Albany Common Council Member, Ward 10

When: Wednesday, February 25th, 7:00-8:30pm
Where: SEIU 1199 Office, 155 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12210

RSVP at: http://bit.ly/WhySheRanAlbany

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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