As part of his efforts to commemorate the centennial of women’s suffrage, Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C,I-Batavia) took some time to reflect on his family’s personal connection to the events in Seneca Falls that led to women gaining the right to vote in New York State 100 years ago today.

Hawley’s paternal great aunt, Ella Hawley Crossett of Warsaw, was also active in the suffrage movement throughout her entire life, worked alongside Susan B. Anthony, and is honored for her efforts in a commemorative plaque in the state Capitol in Albany (photo pictured above). On his mother’s side of the family, Hawley’s grandmother, Tusanelda Nusbickel Simpson, spoke at the Seneca Falls Convention held 100 years ago. On that historic trip, she brought along her daughter, the assemblyman’s aunt, Mary Simpson Smart. Now 101 years old from Lyons, Mary Simpson Smart was among the speakers in Seneca Falls this summer commemorating the centennial of women’s right to vote in the state.

“My aunt was not even 2 years old when she joined her mother, my grandmother, at Seneca Falls. Earlier this year, my aunt herself, now at 101 years old, spoke at the anniversary events held this summer in Seneca Falls,” said Hawley. “My family’s personal connection to the women’s suffrage movement highlights the fact that this part of our nation’s history is still living.”

Hawley said, “Whether I am working to pass legislation that protects women and children from domestic violence or human trafficking, or provides female entrepreneurs more opportunities in business, my family’s role to help establish women’s right to vote in our state is something that stays with me. It helps remind me that by working together in Albany, we can accomplish historic achievements. I am very proud of my family’s efforts to gain women the right to vote 100 years ago, and our ongoing efforts to improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers since. I hope all citizens will join me in taking some time to think about and appreciate the role of the suffragettes and the historic significance our state played in changing the course of our nation’s history.”

To learn more about women’s suffrage in New York State or find celebratory events near you, Hawley recommends the following online resources: www.nywomenshistory.com and www.ny.gov/programs/new-york-state-womens-suffrage-commission. Additionally, you can visit the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls (www.nps.gov/wori/index.htm) or view an exhibit on women’s suffrage at the New York State Museum in Albany (on display through May 13, 2018: www.nysm.nysed.gov/exhibitions/votes-for-women).


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