We’re proud to be highlighting Sara Coffey next in our series of Emerge Alumnae who are running for office! Sara is the founder and Director of Vermont Performance Lab, a community-based organization that links art-making with civic engagement. You can read more about Sara here.
I’m running for a seat in Vermont House of Representatives to represent Guilford and Vernon because as a mother, small business owner and dedicated community volunteer, I care deeply about the future of our small rural communities. I believe that finding solutions to our shared challenges requires more people who can build bridges, not fences, and I want to help our communities find the common ground needed to build a bright future for all of us.
I love how our small rural towns bring so many diverse people together – multi-generation farming families and recent transplants, digital workers and trash haulers, hippies and veterans – and we all participate in our community. We have imagination and a collaborative spirit where folks are able to come together, putting aside differences to tackle big projects and work for the benefit of everyone. We often view the small size of our communities a challenge, but I think it is one of our greatest strengths because we can all be seen, have a voice and make a difference.
What role has Emerge played in your candidacy?
Emerge expanded my world by connecting me with a network of smart, funny, accomplished, and creative women. It also gave me a mechanism to redirect my anger from the 2016 presidential election and turn it into productive action. The program gave me tools and demystified the process so that I could run an organized campaign. Emerge was also important to me because it was a supportive environment where I could find my voice and build the confidence to take this bold step. I feel forever changed and forever connected to this sisterhood.
What advice would you give another woman thinking about running for office?
Don’t wait for an invitation to run. We need more choices and more women’s voices at every level of government. I have found that running for public office has expanded my universe and deepened my community connections, and that the process has given me hope. If you are thinking about it, get the Emerge toolkit and run like a girl!