The Race for the State Turtle Heats Up

Assemblyman Dinowitz tours local schools to gain input on legislation to select official New York State reptile

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz visited local schools to oversee student voting for the state reptile. The Assemblyman distributed informational booklets on the different turtle candidates and a voting ballot. Students not only had an opportunity to learn some biology and express their choice for the state’s reptile, but learned first hand how democracy works.

New York State, unlike many other states, does not have an official state reptile. Many of these states have designated an official reptile emblem that represents their region. In considering co-sponsoring legislation to select New York State’s official state reptile, Assemblyman Dinowitz wanted to submit input to the Assembly from students in his district.

Assemblyman Dinowitz asked fourth and fifth graders to vote for a particular species of turtle as an emblem for New York State. The informational booklet consisted of a list of four turtles found in New York State: Eastern Box, Wood, Common Snapping, and Painted. This short list was provided by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Assemblyman Dinowitz will submit the results to the Assembly as part of a larger campaign conducted by other assembly members and their students to decide on the official state reptile.

Assemblyman Dinowitz said, “Similar to the Back-to-School Legislators Week, in which I participate in each year by going around to schools, it’s a pleasure to engage students in my district on how democracy works. The students were excited to cast their vote and to know that it will count. This turtle election was also an opportunity to get students more interested in biology. May the best turtle win!”