TOWACO, NJ - Emerge New Jersey, the premiere political training organization for Democratic women in the state, held its First Annual Women of Achievement Gala on Thursday, October 1 at The Palace at Somerset Park in Somerset, New Jersey.

The Women of Achievement who were honored at the gala were: Marie Blistan, Jeannine LaRue, Maggie Moran, Shawn Kathryn Laurenti, Tricia Mueller, Arlene Quinones Perez, Mary Knowles, Donna T. Pepe and Emerge New Jersey’s Honorable “Men”tor, John Currie.

“Each honoree has a proven record of achievement in New Jersey’s political world. We owe them a great debt of gratitude,” said Emerge New Jersey Board Advisory Chair, Celia King. “They are committed to fulfilling Emerge New Jersey’s mission of ensuring Democratic women are trained and prepared to run successfully in New Jersey.”

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The Women of Achievement Gala drew a crowd of more than 150 Emerge New Jersey supporters from around the state, including:


Congressman Frank Pallone
Senator Linda R. Greenstein
Assemblywoman Mila M. Jasey
Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty
Clinton Mayor Janice Kovach
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop
Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz
Essex County Freeholder President, District 3, Britnee Timberlake
Essex County Freeholder, District 5, Cynthia D. Toro
Bergen County Democratic Committee Chair, Lou Stellato
Essex County Democratic Committee Chair, Leroy Jones
Hudson County Democratic Committee Chair, Jim Minella
Monmouth County Democratic Committee Chair, Vin Gopal
Morris County Democratic Committee Chair, Chip Robinson

Attendees enjoyed hors d'oeuvres during the cocktail hour prior to the gala starting and were treated to Emerge New Jersey’s exclusive new recruitment video, “Are You Ready To Emerge?” when the gala began. After the video was shown, King spoke to the crowd of attendees, followed by Emerge New Jersey Executive Director, Truscha Quatrone, who spoke about the organization’s efforts throughout the state and introduced the gala’s emcee, Tara Dowdell, founder of the Tara Dowdell Group.

Dowdell kicked off the honoree ceremony, where each honoree was called to the stage and acknowledged for their efforts and the Democratic difference they’re making throughout the state. Honorees also received personalized letters of congratulations from U.S. Senator Cory Booker, who was not able to attend the gala in person. In addition to Proclamation Letters from the New Jersey State Senate congratulating them and their accomplishments.

Each honoree is a supporter of Emerge New Jersey and its efforts to change the face of New Jersey politics by identifying, training and encouraging Democratic women to run for office. “All of the honorees have inspired, empowered and uplifted so many individuals throughout the state, and it was an honor to recognize each of them,” said Quatrone. “We’re also so grateful to our donors, sponsors and supporters, whose generosity enabled us to host such a successful event and further continue our efforts of building a pipeline of women leaders for a Democratic future.”