— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) September 29, 2014
Sunday night’s Adult School of Montclair (ASM) and Watchung Booksellers free community event in the Montclair High School auditorium brought over 800 attendees to listen to Senator Gillibrand of New York and New Jersey’s Senator Booker share personal and professional stories meant to inspire as well as entertain. Gillibrand has been making the rounds on behalf of her new book Off The Sidelines: Raise Your Voice, Change the World.
Dr. Susan Cole, President of Montclair State University, gave a warm and welcoming introduction to the Senators replete with reasons why Senator Gillibrand’s book is important as an inspiration and push to get more girls involved in their communities.
The conversation between Gillibrand and Booker revealed the great respect and friendship between the two senators. Touching on topics related to Senator Gillibrand’s new book, Off The Sidelines, the conversation covered work/life balance, mentoring, role models, and the importance of a varied and consistent female voice in politics.
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) September 29, 2014
To emphasize the need for this balance, Senator Gillibrand pointed out the different kinds of questions that her male and female colleagues ask in committee hearings. One example concerned military readiness. She said that the men asked “important questions about equipment and the number of tanks,” while she and Congresswoman Giffords asked about the injuries of soldiers and whether the men were mentally ready to return to the battlefield. Both types of questions are important, the senator emphasized, because we need all perspectives and experience represented.
The friendly crowd laughed at jokes and applauded mentions of senatorial accomplishments during the conversation, although political issues took a backseat to what was clearly a mutual admiration between the two US Senators.
Senator Gillibrand did mention her disappointment at the filibustering of her bill regarding sexual assault in the military, and Senator Booker alluded to working towards breaking down the blocks which keep Congress from accomplishing more.
Jon Bonesteel, the Board of Trustees President for the ASM, said, “It was a pleasure to be able to partner with Watchung Booksellers and the Montclair Board of Education to present such a great free event, and we look forward to many more like it with them and our other partners in town.”
Margot Sage-El, from Watchung Booksellers, received a warm welcome from the audience, and reminded the audience that copies of Off the Sidelines were for sale in the lobby. And for those who missed the event, signed copies of Off The Sidelines are available for sale at Watchung Booksellers.