Emerge Vermont Announces Local Candidate Training

  • Oct 25, 2022
  • Elaine Haney

Emerge Vermont, the state’s premier organization for recruiting and training Democratic women to run for office, announced today that it will offer a new regional training program for women interested in running for local office.

Emerge Vermont Local is a half-day training that will provide 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 launch this new training program for women who want to serve in local office. 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 training will be offered in St. Albans on November 19th, in Greensboro on December 10th, and in Brandon on January 14th and 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+ women—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 1-5 PM in St. Albans on November 19th, in Greensboro on December 10th, and in Brandon on January 14th. Registration is open for all three sessions. The cost of participation is $35 per person. Those interested can learn more at https://vt.emergeamerica.org/events/emerge-vermont-local/.

About Emerge Vermont

Since its launch in 2013 Emerge Vermont has trained hundreds of Vermont women how to run for office. Over a third of alums of their Signature Training program have gone on to run for political office or been appointed to local boards or commissions. Currently 55 alums serve in elected office throughout the state, 25 of whom serve in the Legislature or statewide office. 92% of all alums running in the August primary won their races, and there are 59 alums on the November ballot.