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I’m not a big fan of politics. I don’t like watching the debates on TV, unlike my CNN addicted husband. I guess I’m not unlike the majority of people who wonder if their voice even matters to candidates once the elections are over. Despite my misgivings, I was pleasantly surprised by a visit from Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther at my daughter’s Girl Scout troop meeting this week.

Aileen Gunther with Girl Scout Troop 767

Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther spoke with Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson Troop #767 about her job and what it means to make your mark on the world.
Top row from left to right: Morgan Degraw, Hayden Marie Herrera, Alexia Clark, Lilly Betancourt, Angelina Alvarado, Hannah Johnson, Sara Gagnon, Alyssa Velazquez, Dalila Dixon. Bottom row left to right: Adryana Kozachuk, Brin Degraw, Carissa Ciorciari, Sierra Velazquez, Addison Alvarado, Jordyn Wall-Carty, Maya Ballard

I Work For YOU

She was so friendly and open with the girls. She answered their questions, said she would put up their posters in her office in Albany, and spoke to them on their level about what it is that she does as an assemblywoman. My hands down favorite quote of hers:

“I work for you! Did you know that?” she asked the girls. Imagine being a six or eight year old girl listening to an adult in power saying that to you. It was incredible.

I think it’s a sentiment I often forget when mired in the political rhetoric on TV. It’s true though. We tend to forget, that while they have the power to make laws, we (the voters) are in fact the ones who gave them that power.

When the girls asked if people thought she was amazing, Assemblywoman Gunther smiled warmly and said, “I don’t know if people think I’m amazing, except perhaps my grand-kids, especially during the holidays.”

International Dot Day

In addition to telling the girls how she helps people, much like she always did in her position as a nurse, she told them about International Dot Day. Based on the wildly popular children’s book The Dot, by Peter H. Reynolds.

According to

“The Dot is the story of a caring teacher who dares a doubting student to trust in her own abilities by being brave enough to ‘make her mark’. What begins with a small dot on a piece of paper becomes a breakthrough in confidence and courage, igniting a journey of self-discovery and sharing, which has gone on to inspire countless children and adults around the globe.”

Make Your Mark

All children should be inspired to “make their mark” in this world. In honor of that lesson, I gave my daughter Hannah the opportunity to write about what she learned from Assemblywoman Gunther. Hannah is my mini-me, always a nose in a book or writing furiously some new work of fiction. I wanted to give her a little taste of what it means to be a writer and also let her know that what she thinks matters to me and the world.

Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther

Assemblywoman Gunther and Hannah Johnson of Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson Troop #767

Hannah Writes

Hannah writes: “At Girl Scouts I learned a lot of stuff. Some of the stuff I learned Is: Aileen Gunther is an Assemblywoman. Her co-worker is really nice and shares a lot, and invited our troop to go visit her office in Albany. I had an awesome time and it was really fun. She also answered a lot of questions we had. The questions we had were usually about her job and lifestyle. It was a lot of fun at Girl Scouts with Aileen Gunther. She is nice and kind and sweet!”

Assemblywoman Gunther talked about doing what she calls “The Diner Tours,” stopping to speak to seniors at local diners to hear their suggestions and frustrations with government. She said that since they can’t come to her, she goes to them. She spoke with the humility and gratitude of a true public servant; one who just “loves helping people,” as she said.

So perhaps now I’ll pay a little closer attention to politics, especially when it concerns the County I live in. Maybe our voices do matter after all. If nothing else, I hope my daughter has learned both by this visit and through her guest appearance on this post that her voice does matter.

Is there really any better lesson we can teach our children?

Erin Johnson a.k.a. The No Drama Mama can be found blogging at Hudson Valley Parent Magazine and when she’s not wiping poop or snot off her otherwise three adorable kiddos. This frugal, “tell it like it is” mama has NO time for drama, so forget your perfect parenting techniques and follow me on Facebook or Twitter for my delightfully imperfect parenting wins and fails.





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