In a four-part series that started Thursday, Patch examines the impact on Rockland County of four female political leaders who are being honored by the Rockland Women’s Political Caucus on Sunday for their roles in the community.
These women often keep a low public profile and do not get their names in the news very often. However, their common goals are working on issues that impact the residents of their areas and helping their party’s candidates get elected to office. They are all honored to be recognized together. Patch finds out what motivates them.
Today: Meet Kristen Zebrowski Stavisky, chairwoman of the Rockland County Democratic Committee.
Kirsten Zebrowski Stavisky, chair of the Rockland County Democratic Committee, is no newcomer to politics. In fact it has been part of her entire life. “I joke that I was born a Democrat,” says Stavisky. “I became a Democratic Committee person on my 18th birthday as soon as I was eligible.”
“We were really raised in a household that emphasized the importance of giving back,” Stavisky said.
Her father, the late assemblyman and longtime County Legislator Kenneth P. Zebrowski, died away in 2007. Her brother, Kenneth Zebrowski, D-New City now holds their father’s assembly seat. Like his father, the younger Kenneth Zebrowski is also a New City lawyer.
Stavisky was elected to her new post in February when she replaced longtime Rockland County Democratic chairman Vincent Monte. Previously, the lifelong Rocklander spent several years as its second vice chair and at-large member of the executive committee. Those were not her first experiences in an elected position. While attending Skidmore College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology, she was the vice president of the student body.
Although she does not rule out the future possibility of running for public office, Stavisky, 40, has very specific plans for the immediate future and they revolve around the county committee.
“My goal has always been to be the behind-the-scenes person to strengthen Democratic candidates in Rockland,” she explains. “I should be out there talking for the candidates and helping them to get the message out.”
She attends almost all town committee meetings across the county. “My goal right now is to strengthen the county committee so it works as a central apparatus to assist town committees,” says Stavisky adding, “My job is to listen to people and put them together.”
It is fortunate that she works for a family business that gives her lots of flexibility. Stavisky is the director of special events and marketing at Matterhorn Nursery in Pomona, which is owned by her aunt and uncle.
She hopes for continuing the momentum from the November elections, when her brother, state Sen. David Carlucci and state Supreme Court Judge Linda Christopher won office. Stavisky ran her brother’s campaign and coordinated the three campaigns. She expects a similar approach will be in place for this November’s contests when all county legislative seats are up for election along with the offices of district attorney and sheriff.
“We have to utilize all methods available,” she says. “For younger voters this is a way for them to understand. It’s an opportunity to empower young voters.”
She says it is essential to get out and speak to the voters so they can learn about the strengths of the Democratic candidates and also to get them to volunteer. Additionally, she plans to utilize technology especially social media to reach people.
Although Democrats hold an overwhelming majority in voter registration in Rockland County, local voters don't always cast their ballot along party lines — such as in the case of Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef, an Orangetown Republican, and Sheriff James Kralik, a Republican from Sloatsburg. And, before Carlucci's election, the state Senate seat representing Rockland was held by state Sen. Thomas Morahan, R-New City, who died July 12, 2010 at age 78.
Stavisky and her husband live in West Nyack. She earned a law degree from Pace University and a master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from Teachers College, Columbia University. For six years, she managed the accreditation efforts and daily administration for the Graduate School at the Bank Street College of Education in New York City. She is a vice president of the Board of Trustees of the Holocaust Museum and Study Center in Spring Valley.
The female political leaders are being honored at the Quisqueya Sports Club in Haverstraw from 3 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For more information about the event, which also features keynote speaker CBS Correspondent Nancy Giles, or to make a reservation contact Emily Dominguez at email@example.com or 845-947-8532.
Coming up next, a look at:
Saturday — Toni Fallon of Orangetown
Sunday — Mona Montal of Ramapo