New group seeks Democratic women candidates

A new political group has been formed to recruit Democratic women to run for office at all government levels in the Hudson Valley and raise campaign funds for them.

Democratic Women of the Hudson Valley is led by three officers from Orange County who have long been active in local politics: Mickey Morgano, who is the group’s president; Vanessa Tirado, the vice president; and Sonia Ayala, the secretary. The group said in a press release announcing its formation that it has been recognized by the New York State Federation of Women. It can be reached at demwomenofthehudsonvalley@gmail.com or P.O. Box 869, Goshen, N.Y. 10924.

Morgano said the new group will focus primarily on Orange County, but also has members from Rockland County.

Women of either political party represent a clear minority of elected officials in the region, most glaringly among municipal leaders. In Orange County, only one of 43 mayors and supervisors is a woman. Four of Orange’s 21 county legislators are women, and one of four countywide elected officials in Orange is a woman.

Both House members representing Orange, Ulster and Sullivan counties are men, although one – Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of Cold Spring – has a female challenger, Republican Chele Chiavacci Farley, who plans to run for the 18th District seat next year. Two of 10 state legislators representing Orange, Ulster and Sullivan are women. Three of nine Sullivan County legislators are women, and nine of 23 Ulster County legislators are women.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law on Tuesday a bill that will allow state and local candidates in New York to use campaign funds to pay for child care expenses, lifting one potential barrier for female office seekers. The law, which takes effect in 60 days, applies to child care costs “incurred in the campaign or in the execution of the duties of public office or party position.”

“Women face too many barriers when it comes to running for office and frankly child care expenses shouldn’t be one of them,” Cuomo said in a statement after signing the bill. “By signing this measure into law, we will build on the historic progress we’ve made toward gender equality and empower more parents – and mothers in particular – to seek public office to ensure the decision makers in Albany reflect the people they are elected to represent.”

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