Assemblywoman is guest speaker at Duke University lecture series
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-C-Bay Ridge-Staten Island) will be traveling south, not to escape the cold winter weather of New York, but to be a guest lecturer at Duke University in North Carolina on Feb. 18.
Malliotakis, 33, who is considered a rising star in the Republican Party by party leaders, has been invited to speak at the university’s Connect2Politics series, in which elected officials and other government workers are asked to share their experiences with students and encourage young people to become politically active in their communities.
The lecture series is presented by the university’s Hart Leadership Program.
As part of the Connect2Politics series, Duke University has invited four elected officials from around the country under the age of 40 to talk about government and leadership.
Along with Malliotakis, the guest speakers include San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, South Bend Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim.
“I’m excited about it. The idea is to speak to students and young people and give them an idea of what to expect in government,” Malliotakis told the Brooklyn Eagle.
Malliotakis said she plans to talk about her experiences, how she became involved in politics, and her life as a Republican politician in a state dominated by Democrats. She was first elected to the state assembly in 2010 and was re-elected in 2012.
“I got involved in politics because I thought as a young person, ‘I’m going to inherit the decisions made by the government.’ I felt it was important to have a seat at the table when decisions are made,” she told the Eagle. “I think it’s important or young people to become active and involved in politics.”
Part of her mission, she said, is to look out for constituents’ pocketbooks. “I’m a fiscal conservative,” Malliotakis said, describing herself. She routinely votes against tax increases and tries to raise awareness of hidden taxes and fees, she said. “I you look at your utility bill, you’ll see all sorts of taxes added on. The government is making more off your electric bill than Con Edison is,” she said.
The lecture series will have a theme, according to Alma Blount, director of the Hart Leadership Program. The guest speakers in the series were selected as part of the program’s effort to “interact with young politicians at the state and municipal levels, because many of them are stepping up to tackle issues Washington has left unsolved,” Blount said.
Malliotakis said her remarks will be in keeping with that theme. “I will be talking about the things we have been able to accomplish at the state level that Washington has no done,” she said.
The State Legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo have worked together to lower the state’s deficit, according to Malliotakis. “In 2010, when I came into office the same time as Governor Cuomo, the state had a $10 billion deficit. Now might have a $2 billion surplus,” she said.
This isn’t the first time Malliotakis has been asked to speak at a large forum. Last year, she took part in a panel at the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) conference in Washington DC.
“Assemblywoman Malliotakis has a unique perspective on what it’s like to represent the residents of a large city at the state level. Nicole certainly made her name for herself through leadership in her district after being hit so hard by Hurricane Sandy. She has a bright future and we’re excited to hear her views,” Blount said.
Previous participants have include, U.S. Senator Cory Booker, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and New Jersey State Senator Jennifer Beck.