from the inbox:
Today the Board of Emerge Pennsylvania announced it has named Anne Wakabayashi as the organization’s new Executive Director.
Wakabayashi comes to Emerge after having spent years working on campaigns across Pennsylvania. Before joining Emerge Pennsylvania, Wakabayashi served as the Campaign Manager for Allan Domb’s campaign for Philadelphia City Council and Anne Lazarus’ campaign for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. She also has extensive experience working on legislative races, serving first as the Political Director and later the Communications Director for the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Campaign Committee. Wakabayashi will serve as Emerge Pennsylvania’s first Executive Director.
"While more than 50 percent of the state's population are women, women make up less than 18 percent of our legislature,” said State Rep. Tina Davis, Co-Founder and Co-Chair of Emerge Pennsylvania. “Having a democracy that is not representative of the people is holding our state back. I'm tired of it, and it is time for a change. We're so excited to have Anne join Emerge Pennsylvania as our first Executive Director and kick-start the program to train more Democratic women to run for public office - and win public office!"
"Emerge America has a fantastic track record of success in 14 other states where hundreds of alumnae are now in office. Pennsylvania absolutely needs this program,” said State Rep. Mary Jo Daley, Co-Founder and Co-Chair of Emerge Pennsylvania. “Emerge has changed the culture of other state legislatures, and Harrisburg demonstrates time and time again that it is desperately in need of an evolution. Anne is a great addition to our Emerge team and we're thrilled that she's bringing her statewide political experience to our program."
"I am thrilled that Anne will join the Emerge network as the founding Executive Director of Emerge Pennsylvania. Her experience working on state and local campaigns across the state, as well as her fundraising and communications background, will be critical to advancing the Emerge mission in Pennsylvania," said Andrea Dew Steele, Founder and President of Emerge America.
“I’m excited to work with Reps. Daley and Davis and entire Emerge Pennsylvania Board to bring this much-needed program to Pennsylvania,” said Emerge Executive Director Wakabayashi, “I’ve worked across the state and I’ve seen firsthand the importance of electing smart, qualified women to every level of government. Women bring a unique and essential voice to public service and we need to do more to ensure that voice is heard across the Commonwealth.”
Wakabayashi continued: “It’s worth noting that when the federal government shutdown in 2013, it was the women in the Senate that got our nation back on track. I think we can all agree that Harrisburg, which has now gone 160 days without a budget, could benefit from more women.”
Pennsylvania is ranked 39 out of 50 for the percentage of women elected to its state legislature. While Pennsylvania has voted for the Democratic candidate in the last six presidential campaigns, it has never elected a female governor or U.S. senator, something Emerge Pennsylvania will work to change. The Emerge program will bring an intensive 70-hour training curriculum to a cohort of Democratic women who want to run for office. Applications are open now and can be found here. Women of all ages, backgrounds, and communities across Pennsylvania are encouraged to apply.
Since the first Emerge state was launched in 2002 Emerge has trained more than 1,500 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. Follow Emerge Pennsylvania on Facebook for more updates on the program.