Three female trailblazers in New York state politics will participate in a panel discussion about the challenges and opportunities for women in public service as part of SUNY Canton’s Constitution Day celebration.
State Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury), former Canton Mayor Mary Ann Ashley and Waddington Mayor Janet M. Otto-Cassada will speak at 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 18, in the Richard W. Miller Campus Center’s Kingston Theater. The panel will be moderated by SUNY Canton Adjunct Instructor and former St. Lawrence County Manager Karen St. Hilaire.
The event is co-sponsored by the St. Lawrence County Attorney’s office.
In addition to Constitution Day, which commemorates the ratification of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787, New York has also reached the centennial anniversary of signing women’s suffrage into state law in 1917, three years before the United States passed the 19th Amendment.
“The origins of the women’s suffrage movement in the U.S. can be traced back to our neighbors in Central New York,” said SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran. “So as we celebrate Constitution Day, it’s also a fitting occasion to recognize this important voting rights anniversary that was the result of a lengthy and difficult struggle by our state’s foremothers.”
There will be other events to observe the milestone, including a visit by Lt. Gov. Kathy C. Hochul Thursday, Sept. 14, in the Richard W. Miller Campus Center, Room 212.
In addition, a collection of memorabilia related to the suffrage movement will be on display at the Southworth Library Learning Commons from Sept. 18 to Sept. 22.
The college will also hold a voter registration drive from 10 a.m to 1 p.m. Sept. 19 at several locations on campus.
“One of the best ways to honor Constitution Day and New York’s women’s suffrage centennial is to encourage young people to get involved in our democracy, partularly by registering to vote,” Szafran added.
All events are free and open to the public.
About State Sen. Betty Little
Little is serving her sixth term representing the residents of the 45th Senate District, which comprises Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Warren and parts of St. Lawrence and Washington Counties. Prior to first winning election to the State Senate in November 2002, Sen. Little served in the New York State Assembly for seven years.
About Former Canton Mayor Mary Ann Ashley
Ashley served as the Mayor of Canton from 2014 to 2016. She also served three years as a village trustee and is a past member of the Canton Central School Board. She retired in 2016 from her job as a counselor for St. Lawrence-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services.
About Waddington Mayor Janet Otto-Cassada
Otto-Cassada has served as the Mayor of Waddington for more than 10 years. She also previously worked for the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office and currently works for the St. Lawrence County Department of Motor Vehicles. In 2013 Otto-Cassada was selected as “Woman of the Year” by the St. Lawrence County Chapter of New York State Women, Inc.
About SUNY Canton
SUNY Canton is Northern New York’s premier college for career-driven bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs. The college delivers quality hands-on programs in engineering technology, health, management and public service and recently received number one rankings in library resources, library services and tutoring services in the SUNY Student Opinion Survey. The college’s faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as 13 exclusively online degrees. The college’s 15 athletic teams compete at the NCAA Division III level and are conference members of the newly formed American Collegiate Athletic Association.