Over the last few weeks of covering the Port Jefferson Village election, we’ve been fortunate enough to see things in person again.
Restrictions have been lifted and people are vaccinated — the world is slowly getting back to normal.
Last week, we attended the candidates’ debate at the Village Center. While sitting in the front row of the packed-out venue, we looked around at the people in the crowd.
Sitting a few seats away were trustee Kathianne Snaden’s children — three girls, ages 11, 12 and 18.
As their mother debated, answering tough and controversial questions village residents asked, they looked at her with awe. That was their mom up there, taking the initiative to try and make a difference in their community.
It was inspiring. Sure, we see strong women everywhere nowadays. There are doctors, lawyers, politicians, business owners, inventors — women do great things. But what we don’t always see is the impact this is leaving on our children. Young girls looking up to superstars who have multiple jobs — that include packing their lunches, driving them to school and doing their laundry.
And it isn’t just that trustee. Candidate Suzanne Velazquez has a daughter who’s graduating high school. That’s another young person with an idol right in her own home.
A few days later, the Unity Party held an election-result event at Saghar restaurant. Music was playing, food was being served and people danced together to celebrate another two years of the current administration.
Mayor Margot Garant’s mother, Jeanne Garant, was there. She, too, was mayor of our village years ago, and during her acceptance speech, Margot thanked — and jokingly blamed — her mom for her inspiration to become mayor. Now seven terms later, that family name is a staple in the village, and it all started with Jeanne putting her name on the ballot.
What if Jeanne hadn’t run for mayor all those moons ago? Would Margot have decided to run? Maybe having that strong matriarch setting an example to her as a kid is what planted the seed in having her eventually try it out.
Maybe Velazquez’s daughter will run one day. Maybe Snaden’s will, too.
But the fact that four out of five candidates this year were all women is spectacular and should be applauded.