Senate Republicans form Women’s Caucus

Sen. Betty Little will serve as the chair of the new Senate Republican Women’s Caucus. Gazette file photo.

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan announced Tuesday the formation of the Senate Republican Women’s Caucus and appointed Senator Betty Little as its chairwoman.

Following the November elections, Senate Republicans now have seven women members — more than either the Democrats or the IDC.

Little, a former teacher with more than 20 years of experience in the state Legislature, is the mother of six children, including an active duty combat veteran, and grandmother of 17 who has won various leadership and community service awards.

“I was a stay-at-home mom for 19 years.” Little said in a statement. “That experience is central to who I am and influences my approach to governing. As a state legislator, I’m proud of the work we’ve done to ensure equal pay for equal work, end pregnancy discrimination, and fight for quality schools. With the addition of two new women to our Senate Republican conference this year, our voice and our influence on public policy continues to grow.

Other members of the Caucus include: Catharine Young, chairwoman of the Senate’s powerful Finance Committee and a key player in setting the state’s budget priorities; Patty Ritchie, a former county clerk; Kathy Marchione, who once served as president of the New York State Association of County Clerks; Sue Serino, an entrepreneur; Elaine Phillips, a mother of three daughters and former mayor of the village of Flower Hill; and Pam Helming, the former Canandaigua town supervisor.

The Senate Republican Women’s Caucus will focus on ways to increase economic opportunities for women, including obstacles they face in the workforce, review the state’s efforts to support victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and rape, and examine solutions to make child care more affordable and to help families achieve a better work-life balance.

The Caucus will also address a wide array of public policy matters including making New York more affordable for women and their families, creating career paths and job opportunities for young women and new college graduates, and promoting entrepreneurship and business ownership for women throughout the state, among many other issues.

In addition, the newly created caucus will also hold women’s leadership forums and other public events across the state to encourage young women to pursue careers in public service and inspire the next generation of women leaders here in New York.