Emerge Michigan Announces Next Class of Aspiring Women Political Leaders

March 8, 2017
CONTACT: Beth Kelly
202-431-9407; beth@emergemi.org


Emerge Michigan
Next Class of Aspiring Women Political Leaders

Detroit, MI—Emerge Michigan, Michigan’s premier organization for recruiting and training Democratic women to run for political office, announced today that it has selected its 2017 class. This year’s chosen group of 25 future political leaders is larger than the organization’s inaugural 2016 class, an increase that is largely due to the unprecedented surge in applications and interest in Emerge Michigan’s training after the 2016 election. The women hail from all parts of the Great Lakes State and come from diverse backgrounds, spanning the spectrum in terms of race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic level and professional experience.

“Emerge Michigan is thrilled to welcome our class of 2017,” said Beth Kelly, Executive Director of Emerge Michigan. “Our organization selected exceptional applicants, who will seize on political opportunities once they are given the necessary tools to run an effective campaign. Given the results of the November election and the need for Democrats to regain power they’ve lost over the last few cycles, these women’s voices are critically important in our government, now more than ever.”

Emerge Michigan’s training program offers Democratic women who want to run for public office a unique opportunity. Women who are accepted receive 70 hours of in-depth training over five months that inspires them to run for office and gives them the tools and support network to win. The program’s trainers are comprised of an elite team of campaign consultants, advisors and staff from 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 a part of a supportive network, which includes a national association of Emerge alumnae, the Emerge board and advisory council members.

“I’m proud to be a part of Emerge Michigan’s 2017 class and am looking forward to learning how to use my skills and experience in a new capacity,” said Kelly Rossman-McKinney. “It’s time for more women to learn, lead and run. I hope my classmates and I will go on to grow Michigan’s female political leadership.”

Emerge Michigan has a proven track record of recruiting and inspiring women to run. Since the organization launched in 2015, the program graduated its first class of 16 women. Four of them appeared on the ballot last fall. Sommer Foster was elected to the Canton Township Board of Trustees and is the first African-American to serve on the board. Emerge Michigan’s commitment to diversity also means that the women selected for the program come from many different backgrounds and all walks of life. More than half of the program’s graduates are women of color.

“I have always been a grassroots organizer, and always felt that the most effective change can come from the ground,” said Fatima Salman, a 2017 class member from Bloomfield Hills. “After this election cycle, and having had the privilege of attending the Joint Congressional Speech in DC this past week, I recognize even more than ever that change comes from the top just as well as the bottom. If we do not have the right leaders in positions of influence, there is only so much the grassroots can accomplish....and vice versa. I look forward to being part of this year's class.“

Criteria for selection of 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 must be registered Democrats. Women of all ages, races, nationalities, marital status, religious affiliations, sexual orientations and physical abilities were encouraged to apply. Emerge Michigan is an affiliate of Emerge America, a national organization currently working in 18 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

2017 Emerge Michigan Class:

Melody Arabo, West Bloomfield

Joey Combs, Novi

Amy Davis-Comstock, Saginaw

Sheri Divers, Detroit

Jenny Byer Elgin, Huntington Woods

Rachel Fuerer, Kinross

Veronica Gracia-Wing, Lansing

Elizabeth Hammond, Troy

Kyra Harris, Southfield

Sheril Kirshenbaum, East Lansing

Megan McAllister, Northville

Mallory McMorrow, Royal Oak

Carolyn Miller, Oak Park

Belem Morales, Royal Oak

Amanda Page, Royal Oak

Heather Roe, Ypsilanti

Emilie Rohrbach, Madison Heights

Teresa Roscoe, Bloomfield Hills

Kelly Rossman-McKinney, Lansing

Tifani Sadek, Detroit

Fatima Salman, West Bloomfield

Katie Scott, Ann Arbor

Missy Stults, Ann Arbor

Kate VanHorn, Ann Arbor

Antionette Wilson, Farmington Hills










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