Emerge Vermont Announces Next Class of Aspiring Women Political Leaders

  • Dec 14, 2022
  • 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 2023 class. This year’s chosen group of 16 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 2023,” said Elaine Haney, Executive Director. “Our organization 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. 

This is an inspiring time for women in politics. I am honored to be part of the 2023 Class of Emerge Vermont,” said Julie Hulburd of Colchester. “Together, our class will deepen our understanding of the political process and chart a course for inclusive and effective policy making in the future.”  

Emerge Vermont has a proven track record for getting Democratic women elected. Since the organization launched in 2013, the program has equipped 174 women with the skills needed to bring change to their communities. Dozens 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, 44% have won. In the 2023-24 biennium, 42 Emerge Vermont trained women will serve in the Legislature, and Vermont’s first woman US Representative, Becca Balint, is an Emerge Vermont alum. 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, 19% of the Class of 2023 are women of color. 

“In order for legislation to truly impact citizens, it is imperative everyone has a place at the table. Representation matters in all levels of government,” said Nakuma Palczewski of St. Albans. “I did not see anyone with my background and life experiences in our state government so I decided to put my name on this summer’s primary ballot. I applied to Emerge Vermont to prepare myself to run again.”

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 2023:

  • Ellen Arrowsmith, Underhill
  • Kate Gehring, Williamsville
  • Izzy Gogarty, Middlebury
  • Audrey Grant, Hardwick
  • Joanna Grossman, Burlington
  • Amanda Gustin, Barre City
  • Sarah Hadden, Montpelier
  • Alex Hilliard, Poultney
  • Julie Hulburd, Colchester
  • Erin Jacobsen, Burlington
  • Amanda Janoo, Burlington
  • Pelin Kohn, Montpelier
  • Erin Malone, Burlington
  • Ashley Messier, Jericho
  • Nakuma Palczewski, St. Albans
  • Olivia Taylor, Burlington