Emerge Vermont Announces Local Candidate Training

  • Oct 24, 2023
  • Elaine Haney

Emerge Vermont, the state’s premier organization for recruiting and training Democratic women to run for office, today announced several dates for its regional training program for women interested in running for local office.

Emerge Vermont Local is a half-day training that provides skills and tools to enable Democratic women to run successful campaigns for school boards, selectboards, city councils, and village trustee boards on Town Meeting Day.

“We are excited to once again offer this training program for women who want to serve in local office, and we’re excited to expand the number of sessions. Fewer than a third of selectboard members in Vermont are women. This training will help improve women’s representation in local government,” said Elaine Haney, executive director of Emerge Vermont. “Our selectboards and school boards are the connection between our communities and the decision making that affects our daily lives,” Haney said. “But with so few women serving on these boards, it’s clear we need better representation at the tables of local government.” 

The first three locations and dates for the training are Woodstock on November 4th, Essex Junction on November 18th, and Manchester on December 16th. Additional trainings in Brattleboro, Rutland, and the Northeast Kingdom are planned and will be announced soon. The training will focus specifically on campaigning locally. Participants will develop practical knowledge in areas such as voter contact, messaging, fundraising, campaign strategy, and others. 

Emerge Vermont Local is different from the organization’s more comprehensive candidate training program. “Local elections typically involve fewer registered voters and smaller geographic areas than legislative campaigns. They generally occur on Town Meeting Day each spring, and so the campaign season is also relatively short and requires less fundraising,” Haney explained. “The Emerge Vermont Local program will offer campaign training suited to the comparatively smaller local election cycle.”

Emerge Vermont’s deeper focus on local elections is intended to address not just representation of women in local government, but also the issues that are discussed at the table. “Women—moms, young women, women of color, and LGBTQ+ people—are not participating nearly enough in the decisions that affect our communities and our lives,” said Haney. “It’s not just representation. Important issues like our school curriculums, homelessness, addiction, public safety, spending, and so much more are topics of discussion for both selectboards and school boards. It’s essential that Democratic women are at the local government table.”

“Emerge is the gold standard in campaign training in Vermont. I’m thrilled to see them expanding their program to support candidates for municipal office,” said Jim Dandeneau, executive director of the Vermont Democratic Party. “At a time when races are being increasingly politicized, it’s essential that women have the tools to win local election and be able to stand up for their neighbors and communities.”

The training will happen from 11 AM – 3 PM in Woodstock on November 4th, and from 1 – 5 PM in Essex Junction on November 18th and in Manchester on December 16th. Registration is open for all three sessions and additional locations and dates will be added soon. The cost of participation is $35 per person. Those interested can learn more at https://vt.emergeamerica.org/emerge-vermont-local/