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Honoring Judge Sharon S. Townsend

Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds

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Mr. Speaker, it is with great pride that I rise today to honor a respected jurist, a dedicated public servant and a trusted friend upon the occasion of her selection as recipient of the Susan B. Anthony Award from the Interclub Council of Western New York.

Judge Sharon S. Townsend is most deserving of this award, as she exemplifies the spirit and character of Susan B. Anthony by her record of professionalism, community service and achievements. Judge Townsend was the first woman in the Eighth Judicial District to be appointed Administrative Judge, a position she assumed in January 2003.

This fine judge's career is marked by her election to the New York State Supreme Court in November 2003, and she was previously elected to the Family Court in 1992 and re-elected to a second 10-year term in November 2001. Judge Townsend's community service also includes seven years as Justice in the Village of Williamsville.

Mr. Speaker, Judge Townsend's involvement in a variety of civic and community organizations have made their mark on the community. She serves on the Board of Trustees and was a model court lead judge for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. In 1995, she was appointed a member of the Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children. Since 2003, she has served as a member of Chief Judge Kaye's Adoption Now Task Force, and she served as chair of the Family Court Advisory and Rules Committee for the New York State Office of Court Administration for four years.

Her community activities reflect this dedication to Western New York. Her activities, among others, include, YWCA Public Leadership Alumnae Network, Governor's Commission on Child Abuse and Neglect, Bryn-Lyn Community Hospital Advisory Board, Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital and Gates Circle Operating Boards, Erie Community College North Advisory Board, and served as an adjunct professor at Medaille College.

Her efforts have not gone unnoticed. Judge Townsend was recipient of the Erie County Court Appointed Special Advocates Light of Hope Award, the Outstanding Jurist of the Year Award from the Erie County Judges and Police Conference, and the Erie County Bar Association named her Jurist of the Year in 2001. In March 2004, she was recognized as one of the Women Making History in Erie County, and the next year she received from the Women's Bar Association of the State of New York, Western Chapter, the Lady Justice A ward, named in memory of Judge Townsend's mentor, the Honorable M. Dolores Denman.

Mr. Speaker, in recognition of and in gratitude for her service, leadership and patriotism, I ask that this honorable body join me in honoring Judge Sharon S. Townsend upon receiving the Susan B. Anthony Award from the Interclub Council of Western New York.