The newest member of the Assembly, Annette Quijano, spoke today at a Trenton press conference marking Women’s Equality Day, the 88th anniversary of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote. The press conference was called by Women Advocating for Good Government, WAGG-NJ, a task force of the NJ Women’s Political Caucus, whose mission is:
to increase the number of women in the legislature and other levels of government, to educate women in the political process, and to empower women to take leadership positions in the state, county, and local political organizations.
Assemblywoman-Select Quijano discussed her recent appointment and how pleased she was to have the support of women throughout the state. She talked about having a clear understanding of issues facing women and families, having been raised by a single mother.
Senator Shirley Turner reminded the audience that the year she was elected to the NJ Senate, there were only 2 women, so with her election and that of Sen. Diane Allen’s the same year, they doubled the number of women in the Senate. Today there are 9.
Former Assemblywoman Rose Marie Heck, Chair, WAGG-NJ said:
We have gone through a number of years which have tarnished the reputation of our state. Now, with women entering the chambers in greater numbers than at any time in history, we look forward to responsive representation in a bi-partisan spirit by women who have the best interests of their constituents at heart.
Founding Chair and former NOW NJ President Myra Terry noted that the number of women in the NJ legislature is now at a historic high of 35 out of 120, bringing New Jersey’s ranking among all 50 states from 15th to 14th for the percentage of women in a state legislature.
Zulima Farber, President of LUPE (Latinas United for Political Empowerment) and former NJ Attorney General, also discussed the close vote in the county committee meeting and praised State Democratic Party Chair Joe Cryan continued efforts to increase the number of women in office.
Former Assemblywoman Joan Wright, WAGG’s executive director, announced the a new WAGG initiative to sponsor Town Hall Meetings in the southern, central, and northern parts of the state featuring panels of women legislators and highlighting their work. The first of the series will be held at the
Alice Paul Institute, Mount Laurel, NJ, on Wednesday, September 24, 2008, 6 to 9 p.m.