Put Me In, Coach!
A minivan mom runs for office (and thinks you should, too).


Susan Konig

Here in New York, we are expecting a Cuomo coronation following the Paterson meltdown (which was preceded by the Spitzer meltdown). In Albany, you just can’t get good help these days.

This has spawned a wealth of discussion on the perennial New York topic: With all these Democrats falling over themselves to lose the governorship, why are there no Republicans waiting on the bench?

There are. You might have to squint a little to see them, but they’re there. There are commonsense Republicans stepping up all over the state. I know. I’m one of them.

Six years ago, I had coffee with an elected local official near my small Hudson River village in Westchester County. There was a waste company running roughshod over our community, and the entrenched (Democratic) politicians were letting it happen. I told her what I thought she should do about all this. In the nicest possible way she said, “Why don’t you run for office?”

At the time, I thought I was the last person who should run for office. I wasn’t a politician. I was a writer (not even a political writer — a humor writer), a mom with three young kids. What would make me a good candidate? Besides, who has that kind of time?

She explained that I’d been following the issues and listening to what my neighbors were saying, and that I could see the current administration was not representing the best interests of its constituents.

I gave it some thought. Then I got pregnant with my fourth child. Pass the ginger ale and crackers. I stopped giving it some thought.

Until the sewage hit the fan. Literally: The village sewer backed up into my house. Not once. Not twice. But three times. I went to see the village manager, who threw his hands up, shrugged, and told me I could sue the village.

That was it. I stopped thinking, “Someone has to step up and fix this.” I realized that “someone” could be me.

So I ran for the board of trustees with two other Republicans in a village that’s two-to-one Democrat. And we won. How? By having a strong, commonsense message of limiting spending and controlling taxes, and remembering that we were asking our neighbors to let us represent them. Democrats as well as Republicans voted us in.