Delhi's Mario is top Delaware Dem

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Delhi — The Delaware County Democratic Committee has selected a lifelong Democrat as its “Peg Pandick Woman of the Year” for 2013. Katherine “Kathy” Mario of Delhi has served as chair of her town committee, as a vice chair of the county committee, and is now a member of both the New York State Democratic committee from the 101st Assembly District, and the state’s Democratic Rural Caucus.

She will be presented with the award at the county committee’s annual dinner, which this year will be held on Saturday, June 1 at Hanah Mountain Resort and Country Club near Margaretville. Tickets for the event are available from county committee members.

She and her partner Peter Cowan, moved to Delhi in 2004 from Margaretville. “We love the Catskills. We have hiked here for 20 years,” she said.

Her involvement in Democratic activities in Delhi began in 2008, when her friends, Susan and Roger Hillstrom, had an extra ticket to the county dinner at SUNY Delhi, and invited her to use it, which she did. She soon accepted a spot on the town committee, which led her to attend county committee meetings, and immediately became an important contributor to those meetings.

Mario next volunteered to coordinate the 2009 county dinner, and helped make it one of the most successful in recent years. She also continued to be active by accepting the county vice chair position, before relinquishing that in favor of her state committee position.

She also has been in the forefront of the “Delhi Destiny” organization, which helped to build a full Democratic ticket for town office positions in 2011. “It was the first time that Democrats had a full ticket. We had incredibly qualified candidates, and Al Perkins won one of the council seats.

It’s a new era
“It is a new era, and 2011 was only the beginning! ” she remarked. “Citizens deserve a choice, and I believe that partisan competition keeps everyone on their toes.”

This year’s honoree credits her maternal grandfather, a farmer, for leading her to become a Democrat. “I grew up in a part of Indiana that was not much different from here. It was a small town that was the county seat, like Delhi, and it was a farming community,” she said.
After high school, she worked for the Navy in Washington, D.C., and was there for many tumultuous events — the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King’s march on Washington and delivery of his “I Have a Dream” speech. She was called to join the Peace Corps, and served in the Republic of the Philippines.

Mario is a member of the Public Employees Federation, AFL-CIO. She holds a master’s degree in social work from SUNY Stony Brook. A certified vocational rehabilitation counselor, she is a retiree from the New York State Education Department’s vocational rehabilitation program. She is a certified vocational rehabilitation counselor.