State Sen. Elaine Phillips (R-Flower Hill) announced last week that she had received the endorsement of the Nassau County chapter of the National Women’s Political Caucus.
“Throughout my professional and public service career, I have been a strong advocate for women at home and in the workplace, for better career opportunities and better access to health care, child and family care, and for every woman to be treated fairly,” Phillips said in a statement. “It’s never easy to balance the demands of motherhood, career and community service, and I am committed to supporting every woman who wants the opportunity to succeed, and to help inspire the next generation of woman leaders.”
The organization is the local chapter of a nationwide group founded in 1971 by Gloria Steinem. The goal of the group is to support women running for office at all levels of government. The Nassau County chapter began operations in April of last year, and has supported both Democratic and Republican candidates.
Phillips, who formerly served as the mayor of Flower Hill, is running for a second term in the Senate. She is being challenged by Democrat Anna Kaplan, who currently serves as a Town of North Hempstead councilwoman.
The endorsement comes on the heels of a controversy for the Phillips campaign, which held several fundraisers at Wheatley Hills Golf Club in East Williston. According to a 2013 lawsuit, the club does not allow women to be full members and they are not permitted in the men’s grill, the card room, a section of the bar and certain staircases and doorways.
The club’s policy, first reported by the New York Daily News, drew swift condemnation from several local women’s groups, such as the National Organization for Women in Nassau. But Phillips said in a statement that she was unaware of the policy.
“This event was booked not by my campaign, but by a longtime member of that club who was unaware that, while it DOES admit women members, certain membership levels are not available to women,” Phillips said. “Once I learned of this fact, I asked the club to change its policy and informed them that I would not participate in future events until it did so.”
Reach reporter Luke Torrance by email at [email protected], by phone at 516-307-1045, ext. 214, or follow him on Twitter @LukeATorrance.