I am Woman, Hear Me Vote...
My great-grandmother was born before women in the U.S. had the right to vote. As soon as she was legally allowed to vote, she never missed an election. She’d walk from her two-family house on Exchange Place in Clifton and pull the lever for change and progress. Change was what got her the right to vote in the first place.
My grandmother was a typical 1950s housewife. She gave up her nursing job when she married. She never learned to drive. My grandfather drove her to the grocery store on Saturday, church on Sunday, and the polls each November. “Here’s how to vote,” he would tell her on the way to the local polling place. “I voted the opposite of everything he ever told me,” my grandmother told me. “At least I canceled out HIS vote.” My grandfather voted his wallet, my grandmother voted for change and progress.
Maybe she just voted against a man telling her what to do.
This fall, we hosted a fundraiser for Mikie Sherrill, an amazing woman running for congress in NJ-11. In attendance at our home were four other women candidates for local office. Carolyn Dempsey and Jocelyn Mathiasen for Chatham Borough Council, Tracy Ness for Chatham Township Committee and Shala Gagliardi for Morris County Clerk. It is, after all, the year of the woman. My daughter is 12. She hovered in the background, and then with 100 adults present, she raised her hand for the question and answer time. Mikie called on her in a heartbeat. “I’m just a kid, so I can’t vote. What can I do to help?”
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