21 Emerge Pennsylvania women running for office in 2018

Philadelphia - Emerge Pennsylvania, the state’s premier organization for recruiting and training Democratic women to run for office, announced today 21 of its program’s alumnae and current program members will be running for Congress and the State Legislature this cycle, in addition to 12 women running to become members of Democratic State Committee. This year’s group of Emerge Pennsylvania candidates is their largest ever and marks a major step towards the organization’s goal of changing the face of power in government and politics. 

“Since November of 2016, we’ve seen a movement sweep the country and women have stepped up to lead the resistance,” said Anne Wakabayashi, Executive Director of Emerge Pennsylvania. “Women have decided that they are no longer accepting the status quo and have set out to make the government reflect their values and ideals. Emerge is proud to have trained 21 of these women to run for office, and win.”

“After 100 percent of our alumnae on the ballot in 2017 won their elections, we are excited about the group of Emerge women who have stepped forward in 2018, ready to make a difference in their communities, Harrisburg and Washington,” continued Wakabayashi. “Women are an unstoppable force in politics in 2018 and we look forward to watching this movement turn into a real change in the percentage of women in office in Pennsylvania.”

The Emerge Pennsylvania women running for Congress and the State Legislature in 2018 include:





Shavonnia Corbin-Johnson



Laura Quick



Mary Ellen Balchunis



Maria Collett

State Senate


Linda Fields

State Senate


Emily Best

State Senate


Lindsey Williams

State Senate


Katie Muth

State Senate


Pamela Hacker

State House


Michele Knoll

State House


Liz Hanbidge

State House


Mary Auker-Endres

State House


Amy Cozze

State House


Sara Johnson-Rothman

State House


Melissa Shusterman

State House


Jennifer O'Mara

State House


Claudette Williams

State House


Kristin Seale

State House


Christa Caceres

State House


Kristine Howard

State House


Carolyn Comitta

State House



Emerge PA’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 education over 6 months. The program’s trainers are comprised of campaign consultants, advisors and staff from Pennsylvania and across the country. Participants develop skills in public speaking, fundraising, campaign strategy, labor and political endorsements, voter contact, media and messaging and more. Candidates also meet dynamic women who hold office and become a part of a network, which includes a national association of Emerge alumnae, the Emerge board and advisory council members.



Since the first Emerge state was launched in 2002 Emerge has trained more than 3,000 Democratic women to run for office to date. Fifty-two percent of Emerge alumnae have run for office or been appointed to local boards or commissions. Of those who have run for office, 70 percent won. Additionally, Emerge has a strong record of diversity - forty percent of alumnae are women of color. Emerge Pennsylvania started in 2015, graduated its first class of women in 2016, and elected 100% of it’s alumnae on the ballot in 2017. Follow Emerge Pennsylvania on Facebook for more updates on the program. 

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