Last month, The Incline included me in their list of “Who’s Next” in Pittsburgh politics. I was honored to be included with so many impressive young people working to make a difference in our city (and big thanks to The Incline for the free party, that was a very nice touch!). It was a joy to spend time with such an impressive group of fellow honorees, including many truly inspiring women—some of whom I have been lucky enough to get to know well through my work on the board of Emerge Pennsylvania. Emerge is an organization, currently operating in almost 20 states, that trains Democratic women to run for office – a topic that is potentially resonating now more than ever before.
Since I moved back to Pennsylvania in 2015, the lack of women in office here has been a topic that is on my mind daily. While we have an incredible amount of work to in the state, the fact is that I’ve met a fabulous group of smart, talented, and driven women in politics and through our Emerge Pennsylvania program. Our initial cohort, which graduated in 2016, our current class, and our board is full of some of the best women the state has to offer. I look forward to going to many swearing-in ceremonies for these women in the future. For now, I want to share just a little bit about a few of them:
- Representative Carolyn Comitta, a member of Emerge Pennsylvania’s first class and former Mayor of West Chester, now represents Pennsylvania’s 156th District in the State House after winning election last year by just 18 votes! Her race is a testament to the fact that every vote really does count.
- Lindsay Williams, another alumna of Emerge Pennsylvania’s first class, is the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers’ Communications and Political Director and was recently named Allegheny County’s Young Democrat of the Year. During her acceptance speech, Lindsay said she plans to run for office in the future—I look forward to supporting her run whenever it may be!
- Megan Winters, Data and Western Region Director for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party and one of my colleagues on the Emerge Pennsylvania board, was named one of PoliticsPA’s 30 under 30 for 2016. Megan is truly one of the most impressive young women I know and I look forward to following all that she does in the coming years to help elect great candidates to office.
- Marian Moskowitz is a real estate developer, the Treasurer for Emerge Pennsylvania, and was appointed in 2015 by Gov. Wolf to the board of the Delaware River Port Authority. Marian was a Democratic candidate for Pennsylvania’s 157th District in 2014. Read a recent interview with Marian where she discusses Emerge, her career, and much more.
- Nikkilia Liu (below) is the Western Pennsylvania Political Director 32BJ SEIU, a graduate of Emerge Pennsylvania’s first class, and one of my fellow honorees. I have been lucky to get to know Nikki and I know she works tirelessly to support the working people of Western PA. She will make an excellent candidate and even better elected official one day.
Emerge Pennsylvania is an essential resource for training the next generation of our state’s leaders. Our first class is clearly already leading the way and our second class—selected from over 100 applicants—has already been receiving some great press attention. Emerge relies on donations to fulfill it’s important and necessary mission, if you would like to support that mission, you can donate here.
Finally, I would be remiss not to mention a young Democratic women whose run for office you can support right now! Ashleigh Deemer (group picture, front, third from right) is running for City Council District 4 in South Pittsburgh—the seat Councilwoman Rudiak is vacating. Ashleigh would make an excellent addition to City Council and I urge you to support her candidacy!