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State business brought to local students

Lawmakers share work with local students

— Little said her best advice to young women is to be involved and know whats going on in their community and government.

”I think women, more than men, need to know the issues and be confident in their opinions,” Little said after the assembly. “There are many more opportunities for women than there was when I was younger and they should pursue them.”

Assemblywoman Duprey said she was inspired to get involved in local politics as a small business owner. She decided to address her concerns over high taxes by taking her “money where my mouth is, go to work and see what I could do to help.”

When Duprey was sworn into her first elected position as county legislator in 1975 she was both the youngest person elected to the position and the first woman elected. She said the transition was met with resistance from male colleagues.

“The night I walked in to be sworn in as a member of the county legislator one of my colleagues walked up to me and said, ‘You don’t belong here, we don’t want you here, we will not work with you and in two years we’ll get rid of you,” Duprey said. “I said to him when you leave I’ll remind you of this conversation because I’ll still be here.”

Assemblywoman Sayward said when she first took an interest in politics in Essex, she walked into a meeting and the men told her the women were in the kitchen. She surprised them by wanting to participate in the meeting. Later to the surprise of Sayward and the male members of the board the women joined her in the meetings.

“I realized the importance of being involved,” Sayward said. “Life is politics, and it just depends on how involved you want to be."

Sayward said she realized early on the importance of bridging many different opinions to serve the community.

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