Emerge Pennsylvania Graduates Second Class

Twenty-three aspiring female politicians completed more than 70 hours of intensive training

HARRISBURG – This past Monday, 23 diverse women representing areas across the Commonwealth graduated from Emerge Pennsylvania’s intensive political training program. The cohort met for one weekend per month for more than 70 hours of training on how to successfully run for public office.

The graduation ceremony took place at the Crowne Plaza in downtown Harrisburg and included guests such as recently elected State Representative and Emerge Pennsylvania graduate, Carolyn Comitta.

Applications to the program were at an all-time high after the November 8th election, a trend that the organization hopes will continue. “We had over 100 people reach out to us about applying to the program this year. Many of the applicants were inspired by the election to take matters into their own hands and run for office,” said Executive Director Anne Wakabayashi.

Now, many of the 2017 Emerge graduates are planning to run for office for positions such as school board, city council, and state representative. Several recent graduates are on the ballot in 2017, including Janet Diaz (Lancaster City Council), Susan Henderson-Utis (Rose Tree Media School Board), Deborah Kalina (Southern York School Board), Kristin Seale (Rose Tree Media School Board), and Paige Strasbaugh (Woodland Hills School Board). All of the Emerge Pennsylvania participants and alumni on the ballet this year were successful in the Democratic Primary.

“You will definitely be hearing more from Emerge graduates,” said Wakabayashi. “We train democratic women to run for every level of public office. Our graduates have been training to be the best candidates possible regardless of whether they are seeking higher office in their hometown or state-wide.”

The next cohort of Emerge Pennsylvania women will begin training in January of 2018. Members of the community can nominate a woman to participate in the Emerge program by going to www.emergepa.org.


Since the first Emerge state was launched in 2002 Emerge has trained more than 2,000 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 and graduated its first class of women in 2016. Follow Emerge Pennsylvania on Facebook for more updates on the program.

MEDIA CONTACT: Anne Wakabayashi, 717-480-0149, anne@emergepa.org

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