Floral Park Assemblywoman Michaelle Solages was among the participants in the Major Women in Politics event on Wednesday, Feb. 12, at the Yes We Can Community Center in Westbury. The purpose of the event was to help women gain expertise on how to run for office, and also to get women excited to run for office.
In addition to Solages, other political women included Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, and Assemblywomen Michelle Schimel. Each woman shared her story on how she got involved in running for her political position.
“One of the things that helps women engage into the political process is actually sharing the experiences and hearing more what the process is like from those who have done it,” said Heather Kashnar, event moderator and political opportunities program director of EMILY’s List.
“If you’re thinking about running for office, don’t haggle over it too much,” said Rice. “Women just need to get involved.”
“Until women are 50 percent of Congress and 50 percent of the Senate, and 50 percent of CEOs and 50 percent of deans of law schools and other universities, we are not going to be fully equal,” said Rice.
Each speaker explained how she first considered being a candidate, how she became inspired to run for office and how she moved from activist to candidate.
“I love helping other people and inspiring other people,” said Solages. “Even though my fear sometimes gets in my way, I still run right through it because we have important work to do as women. You will get over your fears.”
“Once you’re talking to people and they see in your heart of heart that you believe in what you say, they will vote for you,” said Solages.
Schimel was an activist before she became an assemblywoman. She said never thought to run for state assembly until North Hempstead Town Councilwoman Lee Seeman approached her and asked her to run.
“Don’t be afraid,” said Schimel. “Lean into the fear. You have to be willing to trust others or else you will go nowhere.”
Rice explained that there are so many organizations out there to help support women. Some of organizations that are available to women who are interested in politics were hosts of the night’s event, including Working Families Party, EMILY’s List, and Eleanor’s Legacy.
Statistics of the political involvement of women in New York put the need for women in politics into perspective. New York is 32nd in the nation for the amount of women represented in politics, according to Eleanor’s Legacy Executive Director Brette McSweeney.
“There are 63 members of the New York Senate, and only 11 of them are women,” said McSweeney. “It’s time for us to agitate, and to run, and to elect women.”