On Monday, April 30, Bristol Town Administrator Diane C. Mederos was recognized for her outstanding work as a woman in political office.
Mederos, one of six women from Rhode Island chosen to receive the Isabelle Ahearn O'Neill Award, received her proclamation by the YWCA at Bryant University during the fourth annual awards ceremony. The award is provided to selected women in Rhode Island who have previously or are currently holding office and are doing incredible things in their field.
Mederos was honored at the Women Holding Office Celebration along with General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, Former East Providence School Committee Member Nancy Stevens, State Senator Donna Nesselbush, former State Senator Myrth York, and former US Representative Claudine Schneider.
Below is Mederos' award statement.
I cannot believe it has been close to thirty years since I decided to run for town clerk in Bristol. Back then only men had held the office and the idea of a woman in the position was met with some resistance. Ironically, though I had a good number of supporters, it was women that came to me during the campaign and asked me if I really thought I could do the job. It makes me think just how difficult it was for Isabelle Ahearn O'Neill in 1922, when her decision to run for office was no doubt looked upon with disapproval by many at a time when there was no women predecessors to reach out to for counsel.
Much has changed in those years, and women have proven to be not only formidable candidates but excellent political leaders. Women tend to be measured and logical in our response to problems and adversities. Women understand the notion that it is sometimes necessary to compromise to further a solution, though we have figured out that we do not have to compromise our principles in the process. And most important, women's participation in government tends to add an aura of civility in an arena that doesn't always lend itself to being civilized.
We must continue to encourage women to seek political office, to tell them "Yes, you can certainly do the job." We need them to represent all of us, our daughters and granddaughters. Much work has been done, but there is so much more to do to ensure that we have a sufficient number of female voices supporting all of us.