Emerge Massachusetts, the state’s premier organization for recruiting and training Democratic women to run for office, announced today that Congressman Joe Kennedy III has joined its Men’s Leadership Council. As a member of the council, Congressman Kennedy will use his political experience and expertise to assist with the organization’s expansion goals and class recruitment efforts and contribute to Emerge’s mission to get more Democratic women elected to office at every level.
“Despite a reservoir of exceptional female leaders across our public and private sectors, women remain sorely underrepresented in elected office in Massachusetts,” said Congressman Kennedy. “Across the country, Emerge has a proven track record of remedying that shortcoming. I look forward to working with them to encourage and support women running for office at every level of our Commonwealth's government."
Nationwide, women make up just 19.4 percent of the U.S. Congress and a mere 24.4 percent of state legislatures. In the 227 years since its statehood, Massachusetts has only elected five women to the U.S. House of Representatives and one woman to the Senate. What’s more, women make up only 25 percent of the state legislature and Massachusetts has never had a female governor.
Emerge Massachusetts’s training program offers Democratic women who want to run for public office a unique opportunity. Women who are accepted to the Emerge program receive 70 hours of in-depth education over six months that inspires them to run and gives them the tools to win. Candidates also meet an array of dynamic women who hold elected and appointed office and become part of a supportive network, which includes a national association of Emerge alumnae, the Emerge board, advisory council members and the men’s leadership council.
The organization has already achieved significant success in getting Democratic women trained, on the ballot and in office. Since it was founded in 2008, Emerge MA has trained 151 aspiring female candidates. Of those women, 61 have run for office and 41 have won. What’s more, Emerge is committed to having a diverse group of women go through its program. Forty-three percent of this year’s class are women of color.
“I’m thrilled to have someone of Congressman Kennedy’s stature and experience joining our Men’s Leadership Council,” said Ryanne Olsen, executive director of Emerge Massachusetts. “Congressman Kennedy’s experience as a legislator and steadfast commitment to Democratic values will be an invaluable asset to our organization as we try to engage and inspire more women to apply to our training program and jump into the political arena. We look forward to seeking his counsel and using his knowledge on a number of critical issues facing women seeking office in the Bay State."
Emerge Massachusetts is a part of Emerge America’s 16-state network of organizations that recruit and train Democratic women to run for office. To date, the Emerge America network has trained more than 2,000 Democratic women to run for office. About half those alumnae have gone on to run for political office or have been appointed to local boards or commissions, and of those who have gone on to run for an elected position, 70 percent have won.