Members of the Summer Leadership and Law Academy had a visit from Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther on Wednesday. The Assemblywoman – who was the 100th woman elected to New York State office and represents the 100th Assembly district – talked to the group about everything from her previous career – as a nurse, with a specialty in infectious diseases – to her entry into politics after the death of her husband, former Assemblyman Jacob Gunther III in 2003.
Gunther talked to the group of very interested high school students about the legislative process in Albany. She also talked about what she likes most about her job – getting from A to Z in passing legislation. She loves to be out interacting with her constituents, getting to know them and their needs so she can better represent them in Albany.
She took questions from the students – did she like being a nurse or politician better (she likes both actually) and what was the most important bill she has sponsored – the Safe Staffing bill that was just signed into law by the governor. This law allows committees to create plans to effectively distribute staff throughout hospitals. The need for this just exploded when the pandemic hit.
Gunther encouraged the students to be involved in their communities and get an appropriate education. She also let them know of an internship in her office that is available to college students interested in government.
“We have a great internship,” she told the students, which is paid. “It’s a great resume builder.”
Gunther talked about how divided our country is but said she was hopeful that our country would heal. Hate and discrimination will not win, she said.
We may run as republicans or democrats, conservatives or liberals, but once we are elected, we represent all of the people in our district, she emphasized.
Representatives of the Leadership and Law Academy, presented Rhianna Garmendiz and Sean Garcia Gunther, presented Gunther and her longtime friend and staffer Jean Gallagher with t-shirts and a rousing group “whoo-ah.”