Women’s Equality Day – Monday, August 26th 2013

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Celebrating 93 years of voting rights for women and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington

Ninety-three years ago, women did not have the right to vote. Today, women choose our nation’s leaders at every level of government. On August 26th we celebrate the legacy created by the fierce hope of American women nearly a century ago, who dreamed of an America where women would have a seat at the table. Remarkably the very first drafting of a women’s declaration of rights was at a convention that happened almost spontaneously. A social visit brought together Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Stanton, Martha Wright, Mary Ann McClintock and Jane Hunt. New York had just passed the Married Woman’s Property Rights Act, a piece of legislation they saw as significant but far from ideal. The fight began at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848, These women were fearless, and committed, fighting for more than 30 years before earning the right to vote nationally in 1920. As of today 293 women have served in the U.S. Congress, 36 women have served as governors in state houses across the country, and countless others have served as state and local legislators and county officials like myself. What an achievement! In every presidential election since 1964 the number of women voters has exceeded the number of male voters, and hopefully it won’t be long before we have a woman in the White House too! Ratification to the 19th Amendment in 1920 was the result of their efforts, giving women for generations to come a voice and expanding opportunities. Empowered to achieve greatness, women have exceeded all expectations. We make up nearly half our country’s workforce and the majority of students in our colleges and universities. We are running companies and providing convoy security in our military. We have more women doctors, lawyers, accountants, nurses, teachers – you name it – than at any time in our history. The path paved by those women who marched on Washington 50 years ago has inspired millions to dream bigger, push open doors, and demand a commitment to equal pay, equal opportunity and equal rights. The right to vote is one of our country’s most cherished. The strides made have been enormous, but more can be done. To honor the legacy left by those women who wouldn’t take no for an answer, let’s rededicate ourselves to eliminating the inequalities that still exist and demand that leaders whom we played such a huge role in electing have our interests in mind when making policy decisions. We owe it to our mothers and grandmothers to continue to challenge the status quo and to inspire our daughters and granddaughters to dream without limits. Very Best, Anne M. Gannon Tax Collector, Palm Beach County About Anne M. Gannon Anne serves as the Palm Beach County Constitutional Tax Collector. Elected in 2006, she saw an opportunity to revamp an antiquated bureaucracy into a top notch customer focused service agency. Anne is the first woman to hold this office. Anne is responsible for the collection and disbursement of more than 3 billion dollars in tax revenues and the issuance of Real ID compliant driver licenses for Palm Beach County. She actively fights for legislative changes to the tax code to improve efficiencies, protect tax payer rights and achieve cost savings. Anne is the Chair-elect of the JFK Medical Center Board of Directors for the term beginning January 2014 and is the Honorary Chair of the 2013 Brain Cancer 5K Run. Anne was elected to the Florida Legislature in 2000 and served through 2006. She quickly rose to the position of Deputy Leader which required consensus-building on key votes. She is most proud of her role in creating and funding domestic violence centers, the Center for Brain Tumor Research at the University of Florida and her bill making Human Trafficking a crime in Florida. Anne also served on the powerful House Health Care Appropriations Committee where she secured funding for many women and children’s health and safety programs. Her long-standing commitment to combating violence against women and children is evidenced in her fundraising and volunteer service to Aid Victims of Domestic Abuse (AVDA), Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies, and both the Statewide Task Force on Human Trafficking and the Palm Beach Human Trafficking Coalition. She recently worked with WXEL and produced a PSA about the need for advocacy to stop Human Trafficking. Anne started her business career as a Systems Analyst for Dole, a fortune 100 company. Employment with Dole gave her a strong background in cost controls, fixed-asset and budget management and operating budget analysis. She was a partner in Applegarth Designs, Inc., a furniture and lamp manufacturing business. Her responsibilities at Applegarth were overseeing sales and marketing operations, accounting and finance departments. After selling the business, Anne decided to open her own public policy firm with offices in Delray Beach and Tallahassee. She successfully represented clients on a broad spectrum of issues, ranging from economic development, HIV/AIDS and women’s reproductive health care, family law, business, environmental, transportation, disability, business regulation and insurance issues. Anne was a major player in negotiating the landmark Everglade Cleanup settlement.