April 20, 2011
Running And Winning With LWVH
What does it take to run for office? What does it take to serve? And what's it like to do both of those things when you're a woman?
Last Wednesday the League of Women Voters of the Hamptons hosted its third annual "Running and Winning" daylong workshop for local high school girls at the Southampton Cultural Center. The workshop is designed to give young women in local high schools the opportunity to explore their leadership potential and consider a career in public service.
Over 40 juniors and seniors in six East End high schools had the chance to rub elbows with over a dozen elected officials from East Hampton and Southampton village and town government. They spoke about what it was like to mount a campaign and hold office. The officials include a town supervisor, town board members, town trustees, town justices, a town clerk, town receiver of taxes, village deputy mayor and village trustees.
Small groups of four or five girls interviewed the electeds, then assumed the varied roles of people involved in a successful run for office. The teens were campaign managers, candidates, speechwriters, communications directors and fundraisers. The mock campaign was founded in the question, "If you were running for office, what would you do to promote civility in public discourse, on social networking sites and in the media?"
Southampton Town Justice Andrea Schiavoni offered keynote comments, titled "Stretch Before Exercising Your First Amendment Rights."
Following a morning of interviews and brainstorming, each team presented its platform.
The event was underwritten by Bridgehampton National Bank, with in-kind donations from Jason and Theresa Belkin of The Hampton Coffee Company, East Hampton High School, Southampton Town Youth Bureau Director Nancy Lynott, Southampton Cultural Center Executive Director Kirsten Lonnie, and League member Joanne McEvoy-Samborn.
Participating students were Brooke Burnside, Dominique Clark, Ciena Quinn, Jolene Ressing, Petu Aprillina Setyawati from Bridgehampton High School; Estefany Cabrera, Jade Carroll, Allison Charde, Azaria Davis, Alexandra Hanna, Myra O'Neal, McKenna Schacher from East Hampton High School; Vanessa Alvarez, Alyssa Casciotta, Angie Delgado, Samantha Downs, Daniela Gutierrez, Alexandra Ogris, Jie-Lu Zhou from Hampton Bays High School; Katelyn Grodski, Katelyn Hand, Valeria Lemus, Marylen Leon, Cynthia Pacheco, Sandra Riczi-Tifrea, Xylia Serafy, Emily Verneuille from Pierson; Christin Aucapina, Suna Garcia-Guzman, Ajiah Jones, Isabelle Turits, Tessa Von Waldorf, Emily Watson from Ross School; and Southampton High School students Skylar Borucke, Lycha Charles, Cameron Marshall, Kelsey McCulley, Louisa McKee, Ashley Oliver, Cheyenne Vieira, Tara Watson.
"The League of Women Voters hopes that this experience will go a small way to achieving our aim of opening your horizons to the idea of a public service career at some time in your lives," wrote event coordinator, LWVH vice president, and member of the League's education committee Judi Roth in a letter to participating students. "Though women hold many elected positions in East Hampton and Southampton Towns, the statistics show that this does not hold true for other parts of the state and nation."