Four Democratic women who have begun serving two-year terms on the Monroe County Legislature have formed a Democratic Women’s Caucus.
A statement from the group says that by working together, they hope to amplify the voices of women on the legislature, and in the community.
The members of the caucus are all freshmen legislators. They include Sabrina Lamar (LD-27) and Rachel Barnhart (LD-21), who were appointed to fill out terms last year before going on to be elected.
The other two lawmakers are Yversha Roman (LD-26) and Linda Hasman (LD-23), who were also elected last year.
With the recent elections, the ranks of Democratic women on the Legislature are going up by one, from three to four.
Barnhart says this is just an effort to make sure they have a voice on some key issues.
“All of us are freshmen, and in order for us to have a voice, we decided to form a women’s caucus to make sure that we have a seat at the table, to make sure that we’re involved in decisions and to really have a voice when it comes to policies and advocacy in the community," Barnhart says.
She says the four lawmakers hope that forming their own caucus will give them greater clout in discussing certain kinds of issues, including social services.
“Monroe County is our human services provider and it provides services to vulnerable women, whether it comes to domestic violence, women who need shelter, women who are in poverty. Clearly, we have a lot to do in that area,” Barnhart says.
Republicans have four female lawmakers on the Legislature, although they do not have a specific women’s caucus. However, they do have a woman in a leadership position. Tracy DiFlorio of Chili is one of the two assistant majority leaders.
All 29 county lawmakers took part Thursday afternoon in a swearing-in ceremony at the Monroe County Office Building.