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The Rise of the Republican Woman


On the national political stage, our current Congress has more women in office than ever before. The number of Republican women holding a House seat more than doubled to twenty-eight Congresswomen. Read a good overview in the Washington Post on the sharp increase in women elected in 2020.

That trend is continuing in 2021, especially in Allegany County NY. The Republican primary election is June 22nd and the field of candidates has an unusually high number of smart, strong women on the ballot. While the county elections board doesn’t have gender data down to the party primary level, the fourteen women running in this cycle is clearly historical.

Here is a little bit about each young lady in the upcoming June 22nd Republican primary elections:

In District 2, a familiar face in Allegany County government and business is Gretchen Hanchett, Executive Director of the Allegany County Chamber of Commerce. At you can learn more about Gretchen, where she stands on many issues, and some of the initiatives she plans to pursue. She also introduced herself to our readers in this early April post.

In District 3, Debra Root, is seeking re-election for a third term in the legislature. Root has clearly earned the respect of her peers and has worked very hard at the job. She is the chair of the Planning and Economic Development committee and sits on four other important committees! That is a full time job for her district and the county over the last eight years.

Janice Burdick is also seeking re-election to her District 5 county seat. Burdick is also working very hard for her district with a seat on five standing committees: Human Services, Personnel, Planning & Economic Development, Budget. Janice has served as the longtime Alfred Town Clerk and has served one term as a county legislator. You can read a little more about Janice in our previous reporting on her candidacy:

At the town and village level, plenty of women are candidates that are trying to move into what has been a largely a, ‘man’s world’.

In Alma, a town with troubles mounting and still untold, Heather Trask and Michelle Staedt are vying for Town Clerk/Tax Collector Job. Paula Clayson is running this primary election for Town Justice.

Almond is the anomaly in the county with four of five candidates being Republican women! For the position of Town Clerk/Tax Collector, Shelly Stevens and Julie Philips are asking their fellow party members to decide who is best to represent them in the general election this November. For the job of Town Council Member, Jo Anne Freeland and Debra Castle Harvey are on the ballot on June 22nd.

In Birdsall, Patricia Shultz, is the lone lady on the ballot as she seeks election to the Town Council…… Deborah Aumick is also a lone female candidate in Rushford, and is a seeking a Town Council spot. Good luck trailblazers!!!

Wellsville’s Patti Graves is seeking re-election to the town board after serving four years. Graves has been a force to be reckoned with during her tenure and in the meantime serving the community with her work at Accord Corporation and as an elections inspector. Newcomer Maria Dannheim is also on the ballot for a spot on the town board.

With this many women running for their respective town seats, isn’t it time to change the official ballot from “Councilman”, to ” Council Member” ? Good luck to all the lady leaders in our county and thank you for paving the way for my little girls someday!!

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