By Amy Rios
There is a powerful women’s movement gaining momentum in Westchester. On October 11th these women met for the first time at Grinton I. Will Public Library. Among those gathered were NYS Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer, 90th Assembly District, Judge Arlene Gordon-Oliver, candidate for Westchester County Family Court, Ruth Walter, candidate for Westchester County Legislator District 15, Maeve Scott candidate for Yonkers City Council 4th District, Aileen Dosé candidate for Pelham Receiver of Taxes and myself, Amy Rios, candidate for Pelham Town Clerk. Katherine Brezler, the event organizer, asked each candidate why they were running, what they have learned from running, and what impact their campaign has had on their community. Each woman, including Aileen and myself; spoke candidly as to why they were running and what change they sought to bring to their position.
Shelley Mayer discussed an initiative at the state level to instate a state-wide Child Care Program. This program would be for families with children 0-4 years old and is intended to bridge the gap from birth to kindergarten and make sure that all children have equal opportunities.
Judge Arlene Gordon-Oliver spoke about issues that young women encounter in the legal system. One challenge frequently encountered is the lack of resources for older teens that are displaced from their homes. There is one youth shelter in all of Westchester County and it only has twelve beds, and zero are allocated for young women.
I spoke about how I grew up in Pelham and the very real connection I have to the town and its residents. There has already been an impact on the town just by me running. Although Saturday hours have been implemented in the Town Clerk’s office, it would also serve Pelham well to have weekday evening hours. It is important for women to run in all levels of government to encourage young girls to do the same.
Aileen Dose stated that she is eager to use her client-focused financial background to make Pelham citizens’ interaction with town government simpler, while providing some long-needed diversity in the current town government. From a logistical point of view, so much about a town is related to its taxes — downtown development, school size and administration, parking, real estate, and more. Pelham is in the beginning stages of a major upgrade within the school district, this will have a direct impact on taxes. She would be happy to serve as a resource to the community and the school board during the process.
There was a working session at the end of the meeting. There will be a meeting in mid-November to discuss what progress has been made on these efforts.