Emerge Oregon 2016 In Review - Much to Celebrate!

Since 2009, Emerge Oregon has been building for a year like 2016. We had a record number of alumnae run, a record number win – and we hit several milestones along the way:

  • Our first elected to tribal council: Kathleen George, Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde
  • Our first mayor: Lucy Vinis, Mayor of Eugene
  • Our first state senator: Kathleen Taylor, Senate District 21
  • Our first county commissioners: Jessica Vega Pederson and Dr. Sharon Meieran both will serve on the Multnomah County Commission
  • Our first city councilors elected in: Lake Oswego (Theresa Kohlhoff), Milwaukie (Angel Falconer), Oregon City (Renate Mengelberg) and The Dalles (Darcy Long-Curtiss)
  • And Teresa Alonso Leon, elected in House District 22, is the first Latina to represent that district (and the second Latina Emerge alumnae elected to the legislature)!

But that’s not all.

Emerge Oregon now has seen 11 alumnae run and win a seat in the Oregon House. For the first time in Oregon history, at 54%, women hold the majority of seats in the House Democratic Caucus.

To quote our second alumnae to hold the position of House Majority Leader, Rep. Jennifer Williamson said, "At a time when less than a quarter of all legislative seats across the country are held by women, I'm proud that Oregon's House Democrats are working hard to close this troubling gender gap." [The Oregonian, November 16, 2016] 

We are proud to have contributed to this success and have proven that what we are doing works:

Recruit women, train women – and they will run!

In 2016 we also had a record number of applicants for the Class of 2017:

Because of the increased demand and the impressive pool of applicants, we have made a decision to increase our programming. We will be training 20 more women in 2017 than we do in a typical year. This means that one year from now, we will have nearly 200 Emerge alumnae in the state. 

As we've always said, Emerge Oregon isn’t just about gender equality. It’s also about changing the perspective and priorities of our elected bodies. And we couldn’t be more proud of all 143 of our alumnae who are contributing to our state. Of the 143 women trained by Emerge Oregon:

  • 13% identify as LGBTQ
  • 26% are women of color
  • 38% of our women have run for office
  • 64% have run or have been appointed to a board/commission/PAC 

A total of 145 different elected, appointed or political positions have been sought. Our alumnae are engaging in politics and public policy by serving in elected office, on political action committees, on city, county or state commissions, as leaders within state or local Democratic Party chapters, as precinct committee persons or leading advocacy organizations that push progressive policy agendas.

One alumna, Jessica Vega Pederson, former state representative and now Multnomah County Commissioner, recently received national recognition and was awarded Emerge America’s Political Ambition to Action Award. “Jessica exemplifies everything that Emerge America and our network stand for and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to recognize her accomplishments,” said Andrea Dew Steele, Founder and President of Emerge America. 

If you like all that we have accomplished and want to see us achieve even more, we ask you to help us continue our mission and meet the increased demand for our candidate training. Emerge is a national model on how to see that more Democratic women run for elected office. We know how to do this and we need your help to serve the outpouring of women wanting to make a difference in the lives of our families and communities. 

Thank you for the support! And here we come 2017 and beyond!!!

Put Yourself On The Ballot

Learn about the Emerge program and how to apply:

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Emerge Oregon needs your help to expand our training.