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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Pearls of Wisdom and Humor

The Evening with Gov. Madeleine Kunin was attended by more than 30 guests at the South Burlington Senior Center last Friday evening. Guests schmoozed amid delicious cheese, fruit, salsa and crackers, hors d'oeuvres, and hot and cold beverages provided by Catering by Dale as they waited for the program to begin.

Representative Jason Lorber kicked off the program as he introduced Gov. Kunin, Rep. Gaye Symington, VDP Executive Director Jill Krowinski and a number of other legislators in the audience. He quickly transitioned into humor-mode as he told about his first run for political office. Before introducing standup comedian Josie Leavitt, he called on several members of the audience to select the winning tickets for a number of door prizes including a gift basket, a copy of Gov. kunin's first book, Living a Political Life, and an Eco-Bag.

Josie Leavitt, co-owner of the Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne Village, gave a 15 minute performance of her renowned comedy act. Leavitt has performed not only in Burlington-area nightspots, but in New York City clubs as well. She delved into some political humor as well as environmental humor as she recounted incidents in her personal experiences. Her humorous tales left the audience laughing and smiling.

Gov. Kunin said she initially had some misgivings about following a couple of comedians, but thought back to her days in the legislature and felt it wasn't such a stretch after all. Introducing her newly published book, Pearls, Poltics & Power, she talked seriously about her research into the roles of women in politics across the globe as well as in the United States and came up with some pretty interesting statistics. 16% was a number that kept cropping up over and over again. It represents the percentage of women in the U.S. Congress, the percentage of women in top corporate positions, and the percentage of women in the lower houses of Parliament worldwide.

She also talked about the factors women take into consideration when deciding to run for office and how we can encourage more women to take part in public life. Among the many national and international figures she spoke about, she included several local women including Representatives Helen Head, Rachel Weston and Speaker Gaye Symington, all of whom are mentioned in the book.

A question and answer period followed, providing audience members an opportunity to share their views. The evening ended with everyone feeling their time was well spent, and those who purchased copies of Gov. Kunin's book were able to have their copies autographed by her. You can view photos of the event here.

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