I attended the “Citizens Fair” on Thursday, May 25th at the Community Arts Center in Hornell. It was a spirited gathering that reflected the growing engagement of area residents in public life and governance.

The event’s purpose was to provide information on how recent federal budget proposals would affect the day-to-day lives of our residents through possible funding cuts to healthcare, public education, environmental protection, special needs and children’s support programs, among others. Organizers were members of Indivisible Hornell and PRO Allegany, two citizen groups recently formed to learn, organize and act together on issues of political concern to individuals and communities.

Many thanks to those who planned and presented this timely event for our citizens. More than 80 persons gathered in the festively bannered and balloon-filled hall to hear and speak with representatives from such public service organizations as Health Care Access Coalition, Planned Parenthood, Southern Tier Library System, Accord Corporation, Concerned Citizens of Allegany County, the Sierra Club, the Veterans Service Office, AIM Independent Living Center and more. Attendees could register to vote and learn how to join local action groups.

There was a “just for kids” area with stories, crafts and face-painting activities. Emma Tyme, local composer and performer, added fine music to the day and door prizes were won in generous number.

This was the first Steuben-Allegany “Citizens Fair.” We hope for more to come.

Virginia Rasmussen