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Intern-turned-lawmaker returns to her roots

by jmaloni
Tue, Oct 4th 2011 04:10 pm
Legislator Brittany Catchpole addresses student interns before a meeting of the Niagara County Legislature. The 18-year-old county lawmaker was only recently an intern herself, before being selected to replace Legislator Danny W. Sklarski in county government when he resigned to take a seat on the Niagara Town Board.
Legislator Brittany Catchpole addresses student interns before a meeting of the Niagara County Legislature. The 18-year-old county lawmaker was only recently an intern herself, before being selected to replace Legislator Danny W. Sklarski in county government when he resigned to take a seat on the Niagara Town Board.

Catchpole urges new class of interns to get involved                     

Niagara County's youngest legislator, who only months ago was a participant in the Legislature's popular high school internship program, went back to her roots to meet with the newest class of interns prior to Tuesday night's Legislature meeting.

Brittany Catchpole, who, at age 18, made history when she was asked by members of both the Republican majority and the Democratic minority to succeed long-time Town of Niagara lawmaker Danny W. Sklarski, told high school students from throughout Niagara County that they have a chance to make a real impact on their communities.

"You don't have to go on to serve in the Legislature, but serve as you can," Catchpole told the newest class of interns, participants in a program administered by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County. "You are our county's future - and, as my own experience shows, you never know how soon that future might arrive."

Catchpole, who has already authored several resolutions in the Legislature, had not yet graduated from Niagara-Wheatfield High School when she was selected by a bi-partisan panel from a field of applicants seeking to succeed Sklarski. The 18-year-old was then approved by a nearly unanimous Legislature.

"Whether you ask your neighbors to put their trust in you as their representative in government, or you ask a business leader to put their trust in you as an employee, you will make an important contribution to your community," Catchpole said. "Take as much as you can from this internship experience, and don't be afraid to take on challenges to help your neighbors."

The interns will follow the legislative process closely for the remainder of the fall semester. The internship is offered in lieu of required classes at area high schools.

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