Katie Woltner, the Essex County student delegate picked to go to Albany this spring, shakes hands with the Plattsburgh League of Women Voters president Sally Sears-Mack as (from left) Betty Little, Janet Duprey and Dan Stec look on.
Photo by Shaun Kittle.
continued Assemblywoman Janet Duprey (R-Peru), Assemblyman Dan Stec (R-Queensbury) and Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury) took the podium one at a time to respond to the student delegates.
Each legislator opened by explaining how he or she got to their position.
For one of them, the event was a homecoming.
Duprey, a graduate of Peru High School, has been a politician for 38 years, and has been involved in every Meet Your Legislators program since it began.
“If you have a dream, you work at it and you can accomplish it, no matter what small town you come from and no matter who you are,” Duprey said.
Duprey has been a member of the Plattsburgh League of Women’s Voters since the 1970s, and applauded them for their research and non-partisan approach.
Lilly Sullivan, a junior at Peru High School and one of the event’s hosts, said Duprey was the guest she wanted to see most due to her history of not voting on every issue according to Republican party lines.
It is something Duprey has been applauded–and criticized–for.
“This event is a good experience to learn more about how government functions,” Sullivan said. “I think voting strictly according to party lines keeps positive change from happening.”
Rachael Wnuk, a junior at Beekmantown High School, heard about the event through her guidance counselor, who recommended it based on Wnuk’s interest in obtaining a Reserve Officer Training Corp through the Navy.
Her goal after high school is to start with nursing and work her way up to becoming a trauma surgeon.
“You’re going to save that person’s life, and that’s what I want to do,” Wnuk said. “It’s intimidating, but I work good under pressure. That’s my thing.”
Wnuk said she most looked forward to meeting Senator Betty Little, and was also inspired by Duprey’s local roots.
“It’s like the American value, where you can start so little and build yourself up,” Wnuk said.