News Articles

Jul 10 2017

First-time candidate Deborah Kalina, who won her May 2017 primary election, is vying for a seat on Southern York County school board.

Kalina, 54, is president of the York County Democratic Federation of Women. She said women should be engaged in politics.

"I think the conversation is so divisive," the Codorus Township resident said. "We all have to understand what it's like to govern. It's by and for us."

Kalina participated in a six-month program called Emerge Pennsylvania, meant to support and train female Democrats who might be interested in running for office.

Kalina said not only did she learn organizational skills as an Emerge Pennsylvania graduate, but she also learned how to collect petition signatures for the ballot, craft a fundraising plan, write media messaging and develop a campaign strategy.

Jun 9 2017

Among its Pennsylvania graduates was Natasha Taylor-Smith, an attorney who was a teenager when her son was born. She had soured on Democratic politics after running unsuccessfully for a judgeship in 2015 in a race where she saw little enthusiasm among the party machine for reaching out to voters from backgrounds like hers.

May 15 2017

After Donald Trump was declared the president-elect on Nov. 9, many American women felt discouraged by the election. After the country came so close to having its first female president, many wondered when the next opportunity for one would be. However, since Trump's inauguration, it has become clear that women are pushing harder than ever to earn the equal political representation they deserve. As of late April, EMILY's List, a group that works to train women to run for office, has reported 1000 percent increase in the number of women running for office since the election.

Bustle featured several women from Pennsylvania including Emerge Pennsylvania alumna, Paige Strasbaugh. 

Mar 15 2017

Emerge Pennsylvania, a two-year-old affiliate of the national organization Emerge America, operates with the belief that change can start by getting more Democratic women into office. The org hopes to achieve that by both encouraging and training a cohort of women to run through its seven-month training program.

Emerge PA just had its first cohort last year and there was at least one big result — Carolyn Comitta, the current mayor of West Chester, Pa., unseated Republican Dan Truitt as the new state representative in the 156th Legislative District. (Cohort member Diane Cornman-Levy ran unsuccessfully for state representative in Delaware County but is now leading the charge for women and gender equality as the new executive director of Women’s Way.)

Mar 4 2017

"We went from our usual level of 30 to 35 applications to 65," said Wakabayashi, on the phone from her Harrisburg office. "Three-quarters of those applications came after the election. The women are coming into the training session fired up. They are angry at what they are seeing and channeling it into doing something good for their community."

Feb 14 2017

The fundraising event was organized my Kutztown couple Derek and Karise Mace, along with their three daughters, Julia, Evie and Meredith, to fundraise for Emerge Pennsylvania, a national recruitment organization that trains and mentors Democratic women to run for office at the local, state and federal levels. The family had originally booked the hall to host an inaugural ball for Hillary Clinton, had she been sworn into office Jan. 20.

“After Hillary Clinton lost, I realized that for some reason, our country isn’t quite ready for a woman president, I wanted to do this for my daughters, for my mother and for women everywhere,” said Karise.

Jan 26 2017

Natasha Taylor-Smith is one of 25 women who recently spent their weekend sitting around long tables in a plumber's union hall in Northeast Philadelphia, listening to back-to-back presentations about the ins and outs of running for office. 

These women are the second class brought together by Emerge Pennsylvania, the state chapter of a national organization devoted to helping Democratic women run.  It offers an intense, six-month training in every aspect of campaigning from door-knocking to fundraising.

Executive Director Anne Wakabayashi said more than 100 women applied to this year's program and the timing was notable.

Dec 16 2016

Carolyn Comitta [Emerge Pennsylvania alumna] can now officially call herself state Representative Comitta after a hearing Friday afternoon determined she would represent the 156th Legislative District in Harrisburg.

Comitta, a Democrat and the mayor of West Chester, had challenged Republican Dan Truitt, R-156, of East Goshen for his spot in the state House of Representatives.

Nov 15 2016

A disappointing election night for Emerge Pennsylvania and Democratic women in Pennsylvania has had an upside: Wakabayashi said there’s been a surge in applications, from 30 before the election to 78 in the few days since.

Those accepted will go through 70 hours of training over several months, with an emphasis on public speaking, messaging, fundraising and communications. 

Jun 10 2016

Right now, their names are on graduation plaques.

Soon, they could be on ballots.

"Let today be remembered as the day we started our campaign," said Pittsburgh resident Nikki Lu.

She was one of the 22 women in Emerge Pennsylvania's inaugural class, which graduated Thursday evening in Harrisburg.

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