Westchester County Board of Legislators Celebrates Women’s History Month

On March 18, the Westchester County Board of Legislators celebrated Women’s History Month with an inspirational ceremony lauding Dr. Suzanne D. Phillips, a prominent longtime educator and Elmsford School Board member, and Elizabeth Rotfeld, Deputy Clerk and Senior Citizen Coordinator for the Village of Rye Brook.

Board Chair Vedat Gashi said, “I am pleased to say that eight of our 17 outstanding Legislators are women, which is reflective of the demographics of our country and the world. This is a positive and significant step forward. It is heartening to see women holding positions of power and influence in Westchester County, as mayors, supervisors, lawyers, doctors, district attorneys, commissioners, and judges. We have come a long way from the days when women were confined to traditional roles.”

“Tonight, we have the pleasure of honoring two exceptional women – Dr. Suzanne Phillips and Elizabeth Rotfeld. Their contributions to our communities are immeasurable, and we are deeply grateful for their efforts.”

Legislator Jewel Williams Johnson presented the first proclamation to Dr. Suzanne D. Phillips. She said, “I am grateful to gather this evening, to pay tribute to an individual with unwavering dedication and tireless advocacy who has left an indelible mark on our community, and on numerous students across our nation. It is with great honor and deep admiration that we recognize Dr. Suzanne Phillips, a true pillar of strength, compassion, and leadership.”

The Board declared March 26, 2024 “Dr. Suzanne D. Phillips Day” in Westchester County.

Legislator Nancy Barr presented the second proclamation to Elizabeth Rotfeld, saying, “They say if you want something done, give it to a busy person. And nine times out of ten, that person will be a woman. And no one is more busy and more committed to helping people than Rye Brook’s Senior Citizen Coordinator and my friend, Elizabeth Rotfeld. She is always putting others before herself, and residents in Port Chester and Rye Brook are the beneficiaries. Currently, she is the Senior Citizen Coordinator for the Village of Rye Brook. In that capacity, she organizes and implements a comprehensive set of programming to engage and nurture the Senior residents. If not for Liz and the programs she organizes, hundreds of people would have lives that were less fulfilling, less social, less healthy, and less enlightened.” 

Ms. Rotfeld shared, “As a woman, I believe it is very important to lift other women up and give them a chance, just like the Village of Rye Brook did with me. They took a chance on me when they hired me and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t feel thankful and appreciative. My Village Administrator and Elected Officials believe in me and in our seniors program and because of that, I feel very valued. Not everyone can say that – I am truly blessed. I will never be complacent in my position, as I constantly strive to go even further and make a greater effort.”

“In Rye Brook, we focus on healthy aging, lifelong learning, and friendships. We have members from age 55 on up, from all walks of life. In 2019, we opened up our membership so that non-residents can join as members. When I see the way our members interact and care for one another, I realize that we are a model for all Senior Centers.”

“To paraphrase Fred Rogers, ‘Look for those helpers – they are out there and do your best to be a helper.’ This has been a guiding principle in my life. Thank you for recognizing me tonight!”

The Board declared March 23, 2024 “Elizabeth Rotfeld Day” in Westchester County.

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