Manassas Journal Messenger | Mongolian women visit local leaders

A dozen Mongolian women paid attention and took notes while Prince William Chairman Corey A. Stewart, R-at large, gave them a rundown on local politics at the old courthouse in Manassas.

They wanted to know how local roads get built and how local elections work.

They asked Stewart how county government was structured and its responsibilities.

Stewart told them.

They seemed surprised that the county paid for its roads, intrigued at the concept of eminent domain and interested in the structure of federal, state and local government.

The women, members of the Democratic Women’s Union of Mongolia, were visiting on a trip to learn about democracy, said Ann Granados. She coordinated the trip as the U.S. representative for the group, which started its nearly month-long trip in Maryland earlier this week.

Granados said most of the women were running for local offices in Mongolia’s capital city of Ulaanbaatar and were supremely interested in how local politics work in a democracy.

“They copy us,” Granados said.

Stewart said the visit was flattering.

“They’re obviously very interested in our system,” he said.”It’s good to see that people still look up to America as a model of how to run a government.”

Mongolia has been a democratic state since 1990. A new law for the country’s 2008 election requires that 30 percent of all candidates shall be women, Granados said, adding that’s one of the reasons the Mongolian women chose to come to the U.S..

“They wanted to get some information on how we women have run for years and been successful,” Granados said.

Julie Lucas, the Neabsco representative on the Prince William County School Board, gave the women pointers on how to get elected.

Lucas, who has been elected to the School Board twice, told the women that to be elected they had to know why they were running, give voters a reason to vote for them and tell voters what they were going to do if they get elected.

Lucas also gave the women pointers on fund-raising, which also seemed to interest them.

Oyuntsetseg Davaasambuuo led the group and translated for Stewart, Lucas and other officials that included Michele B. McQuigg, recently elected Prince William Clerk of the Court, and Manassas City Council member Jonathan L. Way.

“The USA democracy system is really good,” Davaasambuuo said.

The women will try to use what they learned in Prince William County when they return to Mongolia, Davaasambuuo said.

“Our women are really impressed with how the county works,” she said. “They’re just really trying to use democracy in our city,”

Granados, who is also the past president of the Maryland Federation of Republican Women, said she was impressed with the commitment of the Mongolian women.

“These gals are very conservative and very passionate about democracy,” Granados said.

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