On April 17, 2005, ten women from around the county gathered at the Boiceville Inn and decided to reconstitute the old Ulster County Democratic Women’s Club–moribund since the 80s. In attendance were March Gallagher, Saugerties; Otia Lee, Shandaken; Joan Authenreith, Saugerties; Allison Lee, Hurley; Meryl Kramer-Harrison, Olive; Patti Candelari, Denning; Doris Bartlett, Shandaken; Joy Schluter, Hardenburgh; Janet Klugiewics, Shandaken; and Julie McQuain, Hardenburgh. All attendees were personally invited by the Ulster County Democratic Party Chairman John Parete.
Chairman Parete addressed the assembly about the important role the new group would play in Ulster County politics and that the President or Chair would be an Executive Committee member at the County level, serving with the Town Chairs. He indicated his hope that this group would help move the County Democratic Party to be more party-driven in its endorsement of candidates. The Chairman also indicated that this should be a group not only of professional women, “elites” as he said, but that we should also reach out to young moms, “soccer moms,” pink and blue collar Democrats. Then the Chairman closed the door and left the assemblage to their discussion.
At subsequent organizing meetings the evolving group was joined by Margaret Armento-McDowell, Gardiner; and Susanne Herl, Town of Kingston. Through discussions a consensus emerged to reconstitute the old Club. No bylaws from the old Club were discovered, so the Organizing Committee formulated them under the leadership of attorney March Gallagher, using bylaws from the Orange County and Dutchess County women’s groups as a template for the new bylaws.
Through group discussions it became clear that an independent voice for women and their issues was missing in Ulster county. The group surmised in order to be truly independent they could not be dictated to by committee or by checkbook.
On July 19, 2005, a powerful voice was created as UCDW held its Inaugural Meeting, attended by over 70 people and the press (press links below). Founding members were surprised and pleased to be presented with the minutes from the original Club by its last Secretary, Anne Cardinale. Some 40 new members, and even more interested friends of UCDW, discussed and identified local, county, state and national issues of greatest concern to them.
On August 5, 2005, Congressman Maurice Hinchey attended a UCDW fundraiser at Le Canard Enchaine in Kingston with over 120 guests that generated a line down the block, a great deal of excitement and gave a boost to the campaign for Ulster County Legislature and Family Court Judge. The money raised allowed UCDW to make important contributions to the campaigns, and the boost in excitement galvanized Democrats. We knew we could win!
September, October and November 2005 UCDW hosted a Leadership Development brunch for women candidates featuring Legislator Jeanette Provenzano and former Supervisor Bea Havranek; a breakfast for Silda Spitzer; outreach events in Legislative Districts 1 and 2; co-sponsored the enormous Hillary Clinton luncheon at Mohonk; the Annual Dinner with State Committee Chair Denny Farrell and the Democrats took the majority in the Ulster County Legislature!
UCDW members are proud of the many accomplishments since those first heady days. With your help we will continue to grow our membership, contribute to the advancement of our Party, develop more women leaders and elect Democrats to office up and down the ballot.
Democratic women should be seen AND HEARD. Join us.