Women, consider running for office

This election had mixed results for North Country women, who are still underrepresented on municipal boards.

Patti Littlefield will become the town of Tupper Lake’s first female supervisor, and Barb Rice will be the third female Franklin County legislator. But the Franklin County’s only current female legislator (Sue Robideau of Brushton) lost, as did at least three of the Essex County board’s four women – Sue Montgomery-Corey of Minerva has to wait on absentee ballots.

We encourage you to read Jessica Collier’s in-depth report on the state of women in Tri-Lakes politics in today’s North Country Living section.

By no means do we want to cast a shadow on the men who won those aforementioned elections – we respect the people’s choices – or to pretend that women don’t hold many other positions of power in our local society. School boards are pretty even, gender-wise, and they deal with bigger budgets than towns as well as issues that probably affect people’s lives more deeply. There are also many female business and institutional leaders around here, such as Chandler Ralph of Adirondack Health, state Adirondack Park Agency Chairwoman Lani Ulrich, Wild Center Executive Director Stephanie Ratcliffe, Saranac Lake Central School District Superintendent Diane Fox and this newspaper’s publisher, Catherine Moore.

Also, there’s no reason to believe Tuesday’s election results show a cultural trend toward women being shoved out of local politics. Those who have served say they were treated with respect.

Regionally, the North Country has in recent years chosen mostly women as state senators and Assembly members. Essex and Warren counties’ female district attorneys were unopposed this election, and in St. Lawrence County the DA race was between two women.

Nevertheless, municipal and county boards have a vast predominance of men.

We encourage more women to consider becoming elected leaders in their communities. It was women in the U.S. Senate who worked across the aisle and behind the scenes on compromise deals the men were too stubborn to make, ultimately breaking the federal government shutdown and debt ceiling standoff. Whether it’s natural or learned, women do tend to behave differently than men in many ways, and we need both at the table making decisions on what’s best for the common good.