Training program for Democratic women sees increase in applications

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Hillary Clinton spoke to the nation in a heartfelt concession speech the day after the election on Nov. 9. She spoke of unity and inclusion, and asked for voters to give President-elect Donald Trump a chance to lead with an open mind.

Towards the end of her remarks she made an impassioned plea to “little girls watching this” she said, “never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”

Emerge Wisconsin is working to ensure Hillary Clinton’s vision becomes a reality for women and girls across the state. Executive Director Erin Forrest began her role with Emerge in Oct. 2014. She’s been involved in political circles before as a volunteer, and had worked in the housing industry, but is her passion.

“Emerge is the perfect combination of everything that I love – supporting and elevating women – especially women’s who’s voices we don’t hear enough and using elected office and politics as a path to change the world.”

Emerge Wisconsin is part of Emerge America. Emerge America is a network of 16 states that provides an intensive six-month training for Democratic women giving them the tools, knowledge and confidence necessary to run for elected office and elevate women’s political power.

Forrest recently announced Emerge Wisconsin is accepting applications for the 2017 Class. The current application process ends on Nov. 18.

In the days following the election, Forrest saw a spike in applications. Forrest explained, “We’ve seen a huge increase in applications since the election. We’re working on increasing capacity for the 2017 class, we want to work on additional programming so that we’re not turning women away.” Emerge accepts 20-25 women each year in the class.

Emerge Wisconsin was started in 2007, and has seen results. Alumnae include former state Sen. Nikiya Harris Dodd, current Milwaukee County Supervisor Marcelia Nicholson, state Sen.-elect LaTonya Johnson and state reps Melissa Sargent and JoCasta Zamarripa.

Forrest, being familiar with elected office herself and engaged in the political community in Wisconsin, knows what it takes for applicants to be successful in the program.

“We like to see demonstrated leadership, but it doesn’t have to be political. A lot of women don’t see politics as their first path to change. We like to see a desire to run for office and something they wanted changed in their communities,” Forrest said.

The main classes are held in Madison and Milwaukee. For more information or to apply visit www.emergewi.org/apply or to nominate a women for the program see www.emergewi.org/nominate.