Emerge Vermont Announces Next Class of Aspiring Women Political Leaders

  • Dec 14, 2023
  • Elaine Haney

Emerge Vermont, the state’s premier organization that recruits and trains Democratic women to run for office, announced today that it has selected its 2024 class. This year’s chosen group of 18 future women and non-binary political leaders hails from all parts of the Green Mountain State and from diverse backgrounds, and spans the spectrum of races, sexual orientation, socioeconomic levels, and professional experiences. 

“Emerge Vermont is thrilled to welcome our Class of 2024,” said Elaine Haney, Executive Director. “We selected exceptional applicants who will seize political opportunities once they have the tools necessary to run an effective campaign. Democrats need to maintain and build the power and success they have had over the last few cycles, and now, more than ever, these women’s voices are needed in our government.”

Emerge Vermont’s training program offers Democratic women who want to run for public office a unique opportunity. Cohort members receive 70+ hours of in-depth education over five months that inspires them to run for office and gives them the tools to win. The program’s trainers are an elite team of campaign consultants, advisors, and staff from Vermont and all over the country who have been involved in some of the most successful campaigns and initiatives seen in recent election cycles. Participants learn from these experts and develop practical knowledge in areas such as public speaking, fundraising, campaign strategy, voter contact, media and messaging, and others. Candidates also meet an array of dynamic women who hold elected and appointed office and become part of a supportive network that includes a statewide and national association of Emerge alums and Emerge cabinet members. 

“It has never been more important for women to increase their representation in politics at all levels—local, state and federal,” said Dee Gish of Sharon. “I’m excited to be a part of the Class of 2024 and I’m looking forward to expanding my political skills and experience. I hope that my fellow cohort members and I will emerge to become knowledgeable, compassionate, and effective public servants in our respective towns and at the state level in Vermont. Women deserve an equitable seat at the table.”     

Emerge Vermont has a proven track record for getting Democratic women elected. Founded in 2013 by former Governor Madeleine Kunin, the program has equipped 189 women with the skills needed to bring change to their communities. Sixty-eight percent  of alums have gone on to run for political office or been appointed to local boards or commissions, and of those who have gone on to run for an elected position, 56% have won. Forty-two Emerge Vermont trained women currently serve in the Legislature, and Vermont’s first woman US Representative, Becca Balint, is an Emerge Vermont alum, as are Secretary of State Sarah Copeland Hanzas and Attorney General Charity Clark. 

Emerge Vermont’s commitment to diversity also means that the women selected for the program come from a multitude of different backgrounds and all walks of life. In fact, 39% of the Class of 2024 are LGBTQ+, and 61% represent the New American Majority—young women, unmarried women, women of color, and LGBTQ+ women. 

“As a young Vermonter who grew up in the Northeast Kingdom, I’m all in for my community and my neighbors,” said Molly Moore of East Haven. “Emerge will help sharpen my skills and aid in one of my goals: to ensure every community is represented at the table. I’m excited to be a part of this work and believe it will enable me to further support those who step up to lead and represent their neighbors.”

Criteria for selection into the class included evidence of political leadership experience or potential; meaningful involvement in workplace or community; interest in pursuing political office; demonstrated ability to bring together disparate groups to achieve a goal; ability and desire to build effective networks; ability to articulate a personal political vision; demonstrated ability to inspire others; and commitment to full participation and attendance requirements of the trainings. Applicants had to be registered Democrats. Women of all ages, races, nationalities, marital status, religious affiliations, sexual orientations, and physical abilities were encouraged to apply. 

Emerge Vermont’s Class of 2024:

Erin Barry, Marshfield
Agnes Barsalow, Waterbury
Wendy Beinner, South Burlington
Lisa Cannon, Burlington
Kate Cooper, Pownal
Lydia Diamond, South Burlington
Deidre Gish, Sharon
Jaimie Martin, Waterbury
Kiana McClure, Rutland
Ashley Messier, St. Albans
Molly Moore, East Haven
Eliza Novick-Smith, Waterbury
Lisa Peluso, Brandon
Lonnie Poland, Milton
Emily Reynolds, Graniteville
Kate Seaton, Shaftsbury
Amanda Vincent, Hinesburg
Shayla Zammuto, Colchester

To learn more about Emerge Vermont and its training programs for Democratic women, visit https://vt.emergeamerica.org