Kudos to the Mid-Hudson Parade committee for coordinating the 37th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. Beautiful spring weather brought out record crowds for this annual tradition hosted in Goshen. It was great to see so many friends and smiling faces of all ages as I walked along the parade route.
As a nation and a county, we have a proud Irish-American heritage. The strength, spirit, and fortitude of our Irish descendants helped build this country. For many centuries, the Irish have sacrificed all that they held dear in their homeland to build a new life in America. In the process, they helped lay the foundation of our nation, brought with them values and traditions that have added to our American culture, and contributed immeasurably to the life we enjoy today.
March also recognizes Women’s History Month. New York women have long led the fight for equality. In fact, the women’s rights movement got its start in New York in the summer of 1848. Over tea at the home of activist Jane Hunt in Waterloo, NY, Jane and her guests, Lucretia Mott, Martha Wright, Mary Ann McClintock, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, discussed the inequalities women were forced to accept. These included no right to vote or own property, as well as few social and educational outlets. Not willing to accept this, the women decided it was time for a change.
Less than a week later, in nearby Seneca Falls, these same women, who became known as suffragists, launched the women’s rights movement and brought it to national attention demanding equal rights for women. It was not until 1920 and the adoption of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution and the language "the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged... on account of sex" that the goal of the suffrage movement was accomplished.
The first female medical doctor in the U.S. earned her degree in New York. English-born Elizabeth Blackwell moved to New York when she was just a young girl. She overcame adversity and prejudice in her quest for a medical education, but eventually was accepted to and graduated from Geneva Medical College in upstate New York.
My wife worked for 30 years as a school guidance counselor and I’m father to two successful, professional daughters, one who is also a working mom. So, you can bet that I’m a firm believer in women’s rights. That being said, I recognize that inequality still exists and there is still progress to be made in the area of women’s rights. I’m proud to have many outstanding and experienced female professionals holding top spots in my administration. These include: Dr. Jean Hudson, Commissioner of Health, Darcie Miller, Commissioner of Mental Health, Ann Marie Maglione, Director of Aging, Rachel Wilson, Youth Bureau Director, Historian Cornelia Bush, Susan Hawvermale, Director of Tourism, Julie Richmond, Director of Grants, Ruth Luis, Director of Compliance, and many other highly qualified professional women managers and staff members on Team Orange working to serve the needs of Orange County residents.
Last, but not least, it was my privilege to issue a proclamation marking March as Red Cross Month in Orange County in recognition of National Red Cross Month. The American Red Cross fulfills a vital role in our community, prevents and alleviates suffering in the face of hardship and disaster, and reflects our nation’s spirit of volunteerism. Our Emergency Operations team has worked closely with local Red Cross representatives in the wake of storms Irene, Lee, and Sandy. We appreciate all that they do.
Until next week, I wish you good health and happiness.