MONTCLAIR—Politics is a world that is still considered a male-dominated landscape but that familiar landscape is beginning to change with Emerge New Jersey, a training platform that supports and helps to train women to run for political office.
Emerge NJ is changing the face of the state’s politics by identifying a pool of highly qualified Democratic candidates, a resource that has gone virtually untapped.
The program is a six-month training platform that focuses on breaking down the barriers to entry into the political scene. In a state that has not elected a lot of women, those barriers can be foreboding. Emerge levels the playing field by de-mystifying the process of engagement and connecting women to the knowledge, resources and networking needed to win office.
Emerge NJ graduated their fourth class this past June,with 16 graduates that have a goal to run for local and state office positions.
Emerge NJ spokesperson Sarah Smith said that the organization is looking for the next group of courageous women to take the next training session in the spring.
"Too often, women do not see themselves running for office-they assume they aren't experienced enough or they don't know where to begin," Smith said. "Our program gives them the tools, training experience, and endless support to change the future of politics in New Jersey,"
In the four short years that Emerge NJ has been in existence, 12 women from the program have run for political office and seven have been elected.
Kim Keyes, 2017 Emerge NJ graduate, who is currently running for Middlesex Town Council.said, “Emerge has provided information to fill the gaps in knowledge regarding how to get elected, as well as creating opportunities and a safe environment to practice skills such as door knocking,debating, and stump speeches. I'm excited to feel confident heading into my first campaign and to know that I have a network of strong women supporting me.”
Emerge NJ currently has 13 alumnae on the ballot in 2017.
In the 235 years since New Jersey achieved statehood, it has elected one woman as the state's governor, one woman as lieutenant governor, a total of five women to the U.S. House of Representatives and no women to the U.S. Senate. Of the 120 state legislators, only 35 are women, according to the Center For Women In Politics at Rutgers University.
For more information about Emerge New jersey, contact Truscha Quatrone at (973) 541-9595 or visit http://www.emergenj.org/training/application