Announcing the 2017 Class of Emerge Virginia

Richmond, VA—Emerge Virginia, the state’s premier organization for recruiting and training Democratic women to run for office, announced today its 2017 class. This year’s group of 25 political leaders comes from the largest pool of applicants Emerge Virginia has seen in four years of running the program due to the incredible uptick in interest after the 2016 election. The women hail from all parts of the Commonwealth; and are diverse in region, background, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic levels and professional experience.

“Emerge Virginia is thrilled to announce our class of 2017,” said Julie S. Copeland, Executive Director of Emerge Virginia. “Our organization selected exceptional applicants, who will seize on political opportunities once they are given the tools necessary to run an effective campaign. Given the results of the November election and the need for Democrats to regain influence they’ve lost over the last few cycles, these women’s voices are needed in our government now more than ever.”

Emerge Virginia’s training program offers Democratic women who want to run for public office a unique opportunity. Women who are accepted receive 70 hours of in-depth education over seven months that inspires them to run for office and gives them the tools to win. The program’s trainers are comprised of an elite team of campaign consultants, advisors and staff from all over the country, who have been involved in some of the most successful campaigns and initiatives seen in recent election cycles.

Program members learn from these experts and develop practical knowledge in areas such as public speaking, fundraising, campaign strategy, voter contact, media and messaging and others. Candidates also meet an array of dynamic women who hold or held elected and appointed office and become a part of a supportive network, which includes a national association of Emerge alumnae, the Emerge board and national advisory board.

Emerge Virginia has a proven track record for getting Democratic women elected. Since the organization launched its first class in 2014, the program has equipped 75 women with the skills needed to bring change to their communities. Twenty-four alumnae have gone on to run for political office and 12 have won. Emerge Virginia’s commitment to diversity also means that the women selected for the program come from a multitude of different backgrounds and all walks of life. In fact, 54 percent of the program’s alumnae are women of color.

2017 Emerge Virginia Program Members

Heather Allen, Fredericksburg
Candice Bennett, Lorton
Elizabeth Bennett, Alexandria
Allison Byrne, Richmond
Liz Carter, South Riding
Lauren Colliver, Blacksburg
Melissa Dart, Henrico
Tricia Dunlap, Richmond
Janelle Guest-Bakker, Fairfax
Larysa Kautz, Alexandria
Irina Khanin, Winchester
Dania Matos, Woodbridge
Linda McCray, Leesburg
Selonia Miles, Dumfries
Caryl Quinn, Chesterfield
Kate Ranta, Alexandria
Chelsea Savage, Richmond
Sara Steinberger Shapiro, Arlington
Brittany Shearer, Norfolk
Johanna Shin, Oakton
Abigail Spanberger, Glen Allen
Lindsey Davis Stover, McLean
Kat Wallace, Bentonville
Jacqueline Wilson, Arlington
Michelle Woolley, Arlington


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