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Orleans at state average for women in elected county positions at 20%

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 December 2017 at 5:13 pm

Orleans County is just about at the state average for women in elected county positions. In Orleans, three of the 15 elected officials in county positions are women or 20 percent.

State-wide there are currently 245 women in elected county offices out of 1,187 outside New York City or 20.6 percent of the total, according to the New York Association of Counties.

Kim DeFrank

The November election boosted the number of women in elected county positions to 257 or 21.7 percent, beginning on Jan. 1.

The three women in Orleans who were elected to county positions in November include Kim DeFrank as county treasurer, Karen Lake-Maynard as county clerk, and Lynne Johnson as one of the seven county legislators.

In 2017, NYSAC launched the Women’s Leadership Council for women elected to county office.

“The Women’s Leadership Council is focused on providing training, resources, and recruitment,” said NYSAC President MaryEllen Odell, Putnam County Executive. “We welcome the newly-elected women in counties throughout New York. We encourage them to take advantage of the support provided by the Women’s Leadership Council and of the many resources available through NYSAC.”

Nassau County elected its first female County Executive. In St. Lawrence and Columbia counties, women were elected to the position of county coroner. In Tompkins County, the legislature will have as many women on the board as men for the first time in its 200-year history. And throughout New York State, women were elected county legislators, town supervisors, county clerks, and county district attorneys. In all, 62 women were elected to county positions in New York State this past November, NYSAC said.

Photo by Tom Rivers: Susan Heard was honored in October by the Orleans County Republican Party, including Chairman Ed Morgan, left. Heard is retiring as Orleans County treasurer after 24 years. She is the longest-serving woman in an elected position in Orleans County.

“Across the country, women claimed victory in elections at all levels of government – many of them first-time candidates,” said Stephen Acquario, executive director of NYSAC. “The same was true in counties throughout New York State.”

In Orleans County, the elected county positions include seven county legislators, the county judge, the sheriff, district attorney, three coroners, treasurer and county clerk.

Of those 15 positions, three are currently held by women – Susan Heard as county treasurer. Heard is retiring from that position after 24 years. She was elected Gaines Town Clerk and starts the new job on Jan. 1. Heard’s deputy in the treasurer’s office, Kim DeFrank, ran for treasurer and was elected without opposition.

NYSAC wants to see more women pursuing public offices.

“The increase in the number of women running for and being elected to public office is historic,” Acquario said. “We are excited to see more women leading New York’s counties, and we are committed to supporting our newly elected members as they learn the workings of public office and the issues impacting our counties.”

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