AP NEWS

Kosierowski’s Historic Winenergizes Area Women

March 14, 2019
1 of 2
Kosierowski’s Historic Winenergizes Area Women

As Bridget Malloy Kosierowski prepares to represent the 114th state house district in Harrisburg, supporters hope her historic win puts more women on the ballot. Kosierowski is the first female Lackawanna County resident to win election to the state House since veteran state Rep. Marion Munley won her final re-election bid in 1962. “I feel lucky. I feel humbled,” Kosierowski said Wednesday. “I feel energized and motivated to do a good job and be available and accessible.” In Tuesday’s special election, the 46-year-old registered nurse and political newcomer from Waverly Twp. defeated Old Forge Republican Frank Scavo, 56, a real estate investor and Old Forge school director. Kosierowski received 62 percent of the vote, while Scavo received 37 percent, according to unofficial results. The victory comes as a growing number of women seek local, state and federal offices. Women legislators make up about 25 percent of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, more than ever before. “People are getting tired of old-time politics,” said Jean Wahl Harris, Ph.D., political science professor at the University of Scranton. “Bridget did a good job in her campaign. She was really out there. Women are paying attention. ... you don’t have to be a lawyer or a businessman to be in government.” In the fall, Kosierowski attended the Ready to Run campaign training program, held at the University of Scranton in collaboration with the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. Soon after that experience, Kosierowski, who had always had an interest in politics and government, decided she was ready to seek the 114th state House seat. The seat had been left vacant after Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich died in October. His name remained on the ballot, and he won election in November. Kosierowski will fill the remaining time of his two-year term. Kosierowski, the mother of four children between the ages of 9 and 17, worked three days a week as a nurse while she campaigned. She surrounded herself with people who understood political campaigns and what it took to win. As a full-time legislator, she’ll travel to Harrisburg with goals of improving health care, strengthening communities and supporting women. Using nursing skills such as compassion and decision-making, she said she hopes to mend partisan divides. Progressive Women of NEPA supported Kosierowski in her campaign. The group started in response to the 2016 presidential election, with area women concerned what a Donald Trump victory meant for issues affecting women and families. Some of those women decided to pursue elected office. “Women from a variety of backgrounds are deciding it’s time to run,” Harris said. Samantha Maloney, a board member of the Progressive Women group, said she was thrilled with the “overwhelming support” for Kosierowski. Some people feel that in Lackawanna County, if you’re not intricately involved with the political parties, you don’t have a chance of winning, Maloney said. “Everyone has a good chance if you’re a good candidate,” Maloney said. “I hope this encourages young people, especially women, to give it a try.” Katie Gilmartin, who successfully ran for Scranton School Board two years ago after receiving the endorsement of Progressive Women of NEPA, said she hopes people are energized by Kosierowski’s victory. Men often have the ability to “compartmentalize” situations, while women are more likely to understand ripple effects of decisions, Gilmartin said. “We need both perspectives at the table,” she said. Kosierowski has advice for other women who want to seek office: “Don’t think about what you won’t be able to do. Think about what you can do. Think about your skill set, what you can bring and don’t be afraid.” Contact the writer: shofius@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9133; @hofiushallTT