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Women In Office: Ranks Grow In NYS

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

In upstate New York and beyond, women have been taking more active roles in politics: running in races for elective office and winning them.  Currently, 98 women serve in the U.S. Congress; 78 in the House; 20 in the Senate, including one from New York, one from Massachusetts and two from New Hampshire. Numbers provided by the Center for American Women in Politics further show that the number of women in statewide executive posts is 75. And the proportion of women in state legislatures is about a quarter.

Saratoga Springs Mayor-elect Joanne Yepsen, a Democrat, says when the federal government shut down, it was the women in government on both sides of the aisle who came together and got things going again. In Albany, Carolyn McLaughlin serves as common council president. And Albany Mayor-elect Kathy Sheehan, also a Democrat, joined the growing number of women in political office when she became city treasurer four years ago.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner won a second term in a year when the state Democratic Party co-chair grabbed headlines for criticism aimed at fellow Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo. Voters in Rochester elected City Council President Lovely Warren in an upset victory over incumbent Thomas Richards and challenger Alex White.  Saratoga Mayor-elect Yepsen foresees alliances and collaborations.

Albany historian and former New York State Assembly member Jack McEneny believes the women’s movement has come of age.   Statewide polictics aside, a recent Institute for Women’s Policy Research study shows that at the present rate, it will take more than a century for women to reach parity in Congress. The timeline could shrink if a major party nominates a woman for president. There is considerable speculation that former New York U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton will take another shot at the highest office in the land.

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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