WHAT IS YOUR PROFESSIONAL TITLE AND ROLE?

"I am the New York State Assemblymember representing Astoria, the 36th Assembly District. I took office in January 2011. I was the first woman ever elected to office in my district."

IN WHAT WAYS DO YOU STRENGTHEN YOUR COMMUNITY THROUGH THE ABOVE ROLE/POSITION?

"Public service is my passion, which I pursue in two ways through my elected position. One is providing direct assistance to constituents, whether it’s helping them navigate government services, advocating for them with a city or state agency or sponsoring a seminar, a community celebration or a rally like the recent one to support Astoria’s Muslim community and oppose discriminatory immigration policies. The second way is by sponsoring legislation that makes people’s lives better, improves the criminal justice system, and protects families, seniors and consumers. An important law that I wrote, ensures that pregnant women have full access to prenatal care, which is so important for the health of mothers and their babies."

WHAT IS THE BEST (MOST REWARDING, EMPOWERING, FUN) PART OF WHAT YOU DO?

The best part of my job is getting results for constituents, helping my community and being able to share the joy of public service with young people, whose classrooms I visit throughout the school year.

ANY ADVICE FOR WOMEN AND GIRLS LOOKING TO RUN FOR OFFICE, WORK IN GOVERNMENT, OR INTERESTED IN PUBLIC SERVICE?

For those girls and women who are thinking about a career in public service, I have a few pieces of advice based on what I’ve learned over the years as a woman in elected office. First is understanding the value of persistence and perseverance. Never give up and always show up, so that you’ll be there when opportunities arise. Second is to never forget the community that you are from. Third is to do what makes you most happy. Especially if you are still in school, spend your energy on things that make you happy and you will become successful. Finally, always be there for others and lend a helping hand. By taking the time to help others, whether it’s a small act of kindness or something big, it enriches your life too. As Mahatma Gandhi said, "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others."

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ARAVELLA SIMOTAS

First woman to be elected as New York State Assemblymember of 36th Assembly District

©2017 BY HEARTS ACROSS QUEENS

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