Meet Felicita, Jodi and Erika


Below is our fifth and final email to highlight our 15 alumnae running for office this May! You can read the other emails on our website

And read this opinion piece by Emerge America President Andrea Dew Steele about recent Emerge wins from a few of our states. Highlights: 

"Just this week, Emerge Massachusetts alumna Maureen Butt was elected to the Wakefield Board of Selectmen, winning her seat in a crowded field of six people. The only person of color in the race, she is the first female Muslim-American selectman in Massachusetts and the third Muslim-American elected to office in the state.

"Emerge Colorado alumna Yolanda Avila pulled a huge upset in conservative Colorado Springs when she won her city council race, unseating an incumbent. A legally blind advocate for the disabled, Yolanda campaigned with her guide dog Puma by her side and won despite being heavily outspent in a three-way primary.
"Voters in Wisconsin also elected Emerge Wisconsin alumnae Paula Phillips to the Milwaukee Public School Board. The daughter of Filipino immigrants who taught her the value of public education and public service, Phillips ran for the Milwaukee School Board because she believes strong schools can be a safe haven and unlock a student’s potential."
Emerge Oregon
P.S. Ballots are due by May 16th. Vote today! 

Meet Felicita Monteblanco, Class of 2017, a first-time candidate running for the Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District (THPRD) Board of Directors - the largest special district in Oregon and and it just happens to be entirely male.  

Why are you running? 

From classes as a child, to games on the soccer fields, to my first job at age 15 and now, weekly visits to our nature parks, I know first-hand that THPRD is a vital community asset to Beaverton and the surrounding unincorporated areas. And as a young woman of color, I will offer a fresh voice not currently on the all-male Board.
I want to ensure long-term success for THPRD and that requires serving all families from every part of our district equitably though greater engagement of community partners, engaging younger adults in programming, stronger partnerships with other government entities
 and keeping programming affordable. Let’s ensure everyone can participate

What advice would you give another woman thinking about running for office?

Take a deep breath, talk to your support system (and your boss) and jump in - you got this! 

Meet Jodi Ballard-Beach, Class of 2015, a first-time candidate running for Multnomah Education Service District Board, Position 4, Zone 4.

Why are you running?

Since both my parents were educators, my childhood was spent in schools, not just in the classroom during the day, but also in the offices and staff rooms before and after school. My first job the summer I turned 13, was working for my Mom who oversaw the summer camp programming for the district's students. In high school, all the teachers and administrators knew who I was because my Dad was the principal. I had the good fortune to grow up immersed in the educational ecosystem raised by two people who are very passionate about delivering world class education to all students. 
I had three considerations when I decided to run for MESD school board: 1) I believe that we need to protect free and public education because it is the cornerstone of our democracy, 2) Access to quality public education needs to begin with early childhood development and continue through college 3) Educational equity needs to be top of mind for all educational leaders. The moment we stop thinking about schools as cornerstones of our community, is the moment that our commitment to the idea that each generation will have a better life than the previous one expires.

What advice would you give another woman thinking about running for office?

Go stand in front of a mirror, look yourself in the eye and say firmly: "The question isn't if I can represent my community in an elected position, the question is when will I?" And then, get out there and do it - knowing that you are not alone in your boldness. We are here, too, and together we are mighty.

Meet Erika Lopez, Class of 2017, a first-time candidate running for the Hillsboro School Board, Position 1. 

Why are you running?

Our community needs to see themselves reflected in our leadership. I want to empower parents and students to be the agents of change in their community. Students are the future of our community, and I want to make sure their learning foundation is strong and prepares them for a world of possibilities.
I believe it takes a village to raise a child, and all of the social and economic structures we have in our community can help our future generations be successful. Nurturing and teaching children goes beyond the classroom. All of the things that have to come together for children to be successful academically go beyond the school and I want to foster collaborative relationships with our community, non-profits, government and businesses to achieve that goal.

What advice would you give another woman thinking about running for office?

Start getting involved now! I encourage you to consider serving on boards and/or committees. The future is female and we need to be prepared to serve.

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