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March is Women’s History Month, a time to celebrate the contributions of women in all aspects of our society. WhatsUpNewp reached out to successful women in several professions, asking just a few questions. We will run their responses throughout the month.

Sen. Dawn Euer, District 13 – Jamestown and Newport

What one, two or three women have inspired you? Please also tell us why these individuals have been important to you.

My Mom, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Michelle Obama

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I was fortunate enough to have a Mom who was able to stay home with my siblings and I while I was growing up. She always volunteered at school and with community projects and served as our Girl Scout troop leader. She showed me how to love and care for people other than ourselves and how important it is to speak out for others. 

Ruth Bader Ginsberg is an amazing and eloquent jurist who has had a groundbreaking career due to her intelligence, charism, and grit. I have enjoyed the pleasure of hearing her speak publicly on a number of occasions and was able to meet her briefly when she was in Rhode Island. She also can hold a plank longer than most people half her age!

Michelle Obama is a graceful, funny, and strong leader who has championed so many important policies. I just started reading her book “Becoming” and can barely put it down. Her famous quote: “When they go low, we go high” is especially pertinent in these political times.

What have been some of the obstacles you have encountered, and how you overcame them?

For my undergraduate degree, I didn’t qualify for grants and my parents were unable to help me afford tuition. I had to work full-time while going to school part-time. It took me seven years to get my degree, but I finally did it. Unfortunately, the cost of tuition has skyrocketed and it’s incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to be able to do this now. Now that I’m serving in a public policy role, this life experience makes me constantly aware of the donut hole gaps that exist in so many safety net programs and inspires me to work hard for as many comprehensive programs as possible.

What advice would you give to a young woman starting out on her career?

Be confident in what you know and who you are because you have a unique perspective that you bring to the table. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Life is learning: no one knows everything, and you won’t know unless you ask.

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