Listee Features — Politics

JUDITH E. DAY

A second-generation Irish immigrant, the family of Judith E. Day, PhD, valued education, which prompted her to pursue a career in education as a teacher. It is her belief that education is the most important thing in the world. She had encouragement not only from her mother, but from her kindergarten teacher who would take the time and sit with her one-on-one reading so she could always be ahead. Her second-grade teacher also helped her know the importance of education. Dr. Day began her career as a special education teacher in Hampton, New Hampshire, in 1978, remaining in this position for a decade before teaching reading and working in student support services at the University of New Hampshire. Years later,

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Lauren Book

LAUREN BOOK

A survivor of childhood sexual abuse, Sen. Lauren Book recalls that she had trouble finding a coping method after revealing the abuse to her family. She would go to school and come home to cry. Eventually, her mother revealed to her that she too had been sexually assaulted. She said that these were “regular occurrences” for women, and that they simply had to get over their trauma and live their lives. From that moment on, Sen. Book decided she would do everything in her power to be stronger. She now challenges herself every day to help young survivors. She learned that working through legislature and shaping the laws that protect those who are vulnerable can be an effective way to

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Rebecca Vigil

REBECCA D. VIGIL

Drawing influence from her parents, Rebecca D. Vigil’s father was a small businessman in Taos, New Mexico. He was her inspiration in showing people to respect a person the way that you would want to be respected. He also influenced her that no one is better than her in the world and she is no better than anyone, so Ms. Vigil had an equal foundation when she started creating her life, learning the rules on how to live her life. Her mother and father were very instrumental in giving her the talents that she was able to explore and create. Ms. Vigil began her professional career as a secretary, project monitor and customer service representative for the Public Service Co.

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LORI WHITNEY

Accruing 28 years of professional experience in her field, Lori Whitney began her career as a messenger for the Wisconsin State Assembly in Madison in 1991, remaining in this role for four years before moving up the ranks to postal clerk from 1995 to 2003 and postmistress since 2003. In congruence with her primary trade, she has also contributed much of her time to several civic endeavors. Ms. Whitney served as a campaign volunteer for numerous political candidates between 1992 and 2014, including Al Gore and Barack Obama. Additionally, she was a fundraiser and volunteer with the American Diabetes Association from 1993 to 2004, a member of Amnesty International from 1991 to 2005 and the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Hoop Troop

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EMILIE F. MILLER

Born and raised in Chicago, Sen. Emilie F. Miller found politics to be like a sport. She first became interested in her field because of her uncles, who ran a barbershop that politicians frequented. They would always talk about the political climate in the city and the different policies they were or wanted to enact. Ms. Miller was also inspired by her neighbor, who had a polling station in her basement, and by the representatives who stood outside to greet voters. She began to think about all the good she could do with a little bit of power. Instead of going straight into politics, however, Ms. Miller decided to first focus on her interest in business. She thus obtained a

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Sara Myers

SARA ALICE MYERS

Although Sara Alice Myers initially began her career in teaching, as was expected of the women in the era she grew up in, her real passion lay in politics. She slowly began to branch out according to her own interests, and when she was drafted by her neighbors to run for City Council, she was thrilled. Ms. Myers won the race, thus beginning a long career in government. During Ms. Myers’ time in local politics, she was heavily involved with the passing of environmental ordinances on open spaces and trails. This was very important to her and the community because of the rush of urban development. Another cause important to her was education; she was especially in tune with the

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MARGARET DALY HAYES

Renowned as an expert in Latin American politics and security issues, Margaret Daly Hayes can trace her interest in the field back to her study abroad program in Spain. She went during a time when the country was transitioning to a democratic government, and found the whole situation fascinating. Dr. Hayes proceeded to apply for and receive the National Defense Foreign Language Title VI fellowship, propelling her to a fulfilling career in political science. The first job Dr. Hayes obtained in the industry was senior associate in the Policy Science Division of CACI, Inc. She then transitioned to roles like associate director of the Center of Brazilian Studies at the Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies, senior professional

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MARY VAIL

Coming from a family of attorneys, Mary Vail developed an interest in politics and public service at a young age. She didn’t want to pursue law for personal gain, however; she wanted to use it toward charitable or governmental service to help her community. To make her goals a reality, Ms. Vail obtained a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1971 and a JD from the University of the Pacific in 1974. That year, she also became admitted to practice in the state of California. With the conclusion of Ms. Vail’s academic journey came the start of her professional one. She joined Volunteers in Service to American Attorneys and the San Francisco

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MARGARET JEAN MCKEE

Devoted to the future of the country, Margaret Jean McKee spent nearly five decades in the political arena. Her first real taste of the field came while she was in college, when her uncle volunteered her to work for Prescott Bush’s Senate campaign in Connecticut. The feeling of sitting in his headquarters with her fellow staffers was phenomenal; she felt like she was really making a difference, and knew it was what she was meant to be doing. Upon graduating Vassar College with a Bachelor of Arts in 1951, Ms. McKee immediately joined the Business and Professional Division of the New York Finance Committee of the Eisenhower for President Campaign as a staff assistant. She stayed there for a year

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SYLVIA S. KERCKHOFF

Dedicated and hardworking, Sylvia S. Kerckhoff was thrilled to make history as the first female mayor of Durham, N.C. The post wasn’t initially part of her life plan, but it ended up being the highlight of a long and fruitful career. She was previously high school teacher, through which she garnered experience obtaining and presenting facts and getting her way, and a member of the city council for 12 years, through which she garnered experience figuring out what was asked for and what was needed. She was also a long-time board member and vice president of the League of Women Voters of Orange-Durham-Chatham and the League of Women Voters of North Carolina, to whom she attributes her political success. The

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