News Articles

Apr 8 2017

Watch this clip from Up Front with Mike Gousha and hear from Paula Phillips, newly elected Milwaukee Public School Board member, who is in the Emerge Class of 2017, about her and other candidates success in the program! 

Apr 7 2017

How underrepresented are women in elected offices in Wisconsin?

"Horrifyingly underrepresented," says Erin Forrest, executive director of Emerge Wisconsin, which helps Democratic women run for office. "Seventy-five percent of the town boards in Wisconsin," Forrest claimed, "have no women on them at all."

Apr 3 2017

The gubernatorial race isn’t the only election on Democrats’ minds. Erin Forrest, a guest on the the talk show “Capital City Sunday,” argued for the importance of local elections.

“We also talk about the local level, because a lot of things that, from our perspective, need to be protected, that’s the only place we can do it right now,” she said. “A lot of important things happen on your city council or village board.”

Mar 27 2017

Emerge Board of Directors Chair and Alumnae Diane Odeen is running to serve a third term on the River Falls City Council.
"My parents taught me that you should work to make things better than how you found them, and I'd like to continue to help do that for the city so that other families can build a great future here."

Mar 23 2017

Fifteen women who participated in candidate training programs administered by Emerge Wisconsin are on April 4 ballots in the state. Emerge Wisconsin is considered the premiere training program for Democratic women in the state.

Mar 8 2017

Emerge Wisconsin Alumnae Analiese Eicher and Briana Schwabenbauer both took part in the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. and are working to continually engage others after the march.
Analiese and her coworkers have even started an online tool. Subscribers can receive an email once a week to inform them on how they can take political action every week.

Mar 7 2017

Madison, Wisconsin (CNN) Alyson Leahy remembers sobbing as election results came in...While the result of the election infuriated her, it also sparked something much greater inside her.

"It also made me realize that everyday involvement is key, and that I couldn't afford to sit around anymore sharing Facebook posts and avoiding real work," Leahy says.

For Leahy, and many other women, it is an incredibly personal choice after the election, says Erin Forrest, executive director at Emerge Wisconsin. The group is part of Emerge America, founded in 2002 to identify female community leaders and train them to run for office…

Charisse Daniels knows the importance of community. She is currently a part of the Emerge Wisconsin Class of 2017. As an early childhood-community liaison she trains professionals and advocates for Head Start, which promotes child development and education beginning at a young age...

She marched in Madison, Wisconsin, and realized she cared about the same things her Republican neighbors care about: manufacturing jobs disappearing, wages stagnating, communities like Watertown disappearing.
"We care about the same issues," Daniels says. "We can fix them together."...

So she made a decision. She'd like to run for mayor of Watertown. Daniels knows it's an uphill climb as a young woman of color in a conservative district...

"Women are more than half the population and only a quarter of elected officials. That's a problem," says Emerge's Forrest. "It's not breaking into the old boys' club, it's creating the new girls' club.


Feb 16 2017

Erin Forrest, executive director of the Wisconsin arm of Emerge America, another group that supports Democratic women candidates, said in a statement, " We talk about online harassment as an unfortunate reality. Much like other forms of sexism you don't necessarily get to avoid it if you don't run for office."


Jan 29 2017

Donald Trump's surprise win in November lit a fire under Carolyn Clow, a county purchasing agent in Madison, Wisconsin. On Saturday, she attended her first in a series of classes on how to run for office.

"If we learn anything as a liberal community, I'd hope that it's time to stop thinking 'I'd like to do something,' and time to take that action," said Clow, 43, who is running for the village board in her town outside of Madison in the April election with the help of an organization that recruits Democratic women candidates.

Blog Posts

Dec 2 2014

You've done Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday.

Aug 6 2014

Emerge Wisconsin Executive Director Job Description BACKGROUND Emerge Wisconsin is a political leadership training program for Democratic women in Wisconsin. The Emerge mission is to identify, educate, and inspire Democratic women who want to run for political office at the local, state, and national level in Wisconsin. Emerge is dedicated to making a long-term investment in these future leaders by developing their political and media skills and expanding their knowledge of state and local issues.

Jun 11 2014

Emerge alumna and State Assembly candidate Margo Miller recently sat down Steve Walters at Wisconsin Eye to talk about her upcoming primary.


Check it out!

Apr 4 2014

Emerge alumnae across Wisconsin were on the ballot Tuesday. Congratulations to ALL of them for their commitment to serve their community as an elected official. We know all of the hard work they put in leading up to April 1.

Mar 28 2014

Emerge Wisconsin Executive Director Wendy Strout sat down with Citizen Action of Wisconsin's Battleground Wisconsin podcast to discuss Women's History Month and some of the emerging women leaders in Wisconsin politics.


Check it out!

Apr 3 2013

Dear Friend;

Tuesday night was a big night for Emerge Wisconsin Alumnae!  Thirteen of our alums were on the April 2nd ballot!  As of today, the majority won their elections!

We are proud of all of our alumnae who stepped up to say "Yes, I will run."  We look forward to great things from all of the alumnae!  You can learn about all of our alumnae who ran by clicking on the picture below.

Jul 18 2018

In June, the Emerge Class of 2018 celebrated the end of an amazing training together. Let's look back with them!

Nov 8 2012

Emerge Wisconsin is extremely proud of the Emerge Wisconsin alumnae who stood up and said "Yes, I will run."  Thank you to every single one for running and working to serve your community in elected office.

Sep 3 2012

Today, we celebrate and honor the workers who have fought for and continue to fight for the rights that, until now, have been taken for granted: the right to bargain a fair contract; the right to provide a comfortable living for our families; the right to join a union and speak out about our rights without fear and intimidation; and the right to be part of the middle class.  Emerge Wisconsin proudly supports a worker’s right to organize.  

On Labor Day and every day, Emerge Wisconsin continues to stand with our friends and partners in organized labor.  We are proud that our training includes the history and appreciation of organized labor and all that we have because of the fights unions have taken on.

We are proud that Emerge continues to recruit and train women from labor to run for elected office - several of whom are seeking elective office this year.    

Emerge Wisconsin believes that the pathway to winning back the stolen rights of workers includes the recruiting and training of more Democratic women to run for office.

Emerge Wisconsin proudly stands in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in labor and wish you a very happy and peaceful Labor Day.

Press Releases

May 30 2017

Emerge Wisconsin just made a big announcement!

Jan 6 2016

Milwaukee, WI: Emerge Wisconsin is excited to announce their tenth class of Democratic women. The 2016 Class will follow in the footsteps of current and former elected officials, including Senator Nikiya Harris Dodd ‘11 (Milwaukee), Representative Dianne Hesselbein ’09 (Middleton), County Board Chairwoman Tara Johnson ‘10 (La Crosse) and Alderwoman Jackie Moore ’14 (Ashland).

The Emerge Wisconsin Class of 2016 members are:
Alice Belcher (Brown Deer), Marianne Bloch (Westport), Rebecca Bonesteel (Hudson), Kathryn Carley (Green Bay), Catherine Emmanuelle (Eau Claire), Sarah Gaskell (Verona), Joyce Hall (Hudson) , Kara Hawes (Janesville), Arkesia Jackson (Milwaukee), Kimberly Lawton (Washburn), Lindsay Lemmer (Madison), Autumn Linsmeier (Manitowoc), Angela McManaman (Milwaukee), Marcelia Nicholson (Milwaukee), Stephany Pruitt (Milwaukee), Kaeleen Ringberg (Ashland), Caroline Russell (Madison), Jeanine Schneider (Madison), Briana Schwabenbauer (Holmen), Shonita Skinner (Madison), Inrgid Wadsworth (Poynette), Angeline Winton (Springbrook)

Oct 20 2014

MILWAUKEE – Emerge Wisconsin is pleased to announce the hiring of Erin Forrest as the new Executive Director.  In her role, Erin will represent Emerge Wisconsin throughout the state and direct the curriculum for the next generation of Emerge leaders.

Jul 28 2014

MADISON, WI: This past Sunday, twenty-one women completed the Emerge Wisconsin training program and stepped out armed for success as future candidates. The graduation ceremony, held at a private residence in Madison, featured a keynote address from Emerge Advisor Peg Lautenschlager, the first women elected as Wisconsin Attorney General.

See full release here:


Jul 25 2014

Milwaukee – Emerge Wisconsin welcomes five new members to its 2014-2015 Board of Directors:

  • Carmen Cabrera (Milwaukee), Centro Hispano MKE Latino Round Table Director
  •  Analiese Eicher (Sun Prairie), Emerge Alumna and former Dane County Board Supervisor
  • Katy Phillips (Eau Claire), Democratic Party leader and activist
  • Diane Odeen (River Falls), Emerge Alumna and City Council member
  • Rep. Melissa Sargent (Madison), Emerge Alumna and State Assembly Representative

See full release here

Dec 9 2013

Madison – Congratulations to Emerge Wisconsin Board Member Carousel Bayrd on being elected to the Emerge America board.  Carousel was selected by a coalition of several states' representatives to represent their interests on the national board.

Jul 22 2013

Madison- Emerge Wisconsin congratulates the newest graduates of their training program. On Saturday, June 20th, twenty-two Democratic women joined the growing ranks of Emerge Alumnae. Emerge participants complete a seven month course covering topics from campaign messaging to fundraising and public speaking.

Jan 18 2013

Emerge Wisconsin Introduces their 2013 Class

Madison – Emerge Wisconsin is excited to announce their seventh class of Democratic women ready to run for elected office.  The 2013 Class follows in the footsteps of current and former elected officials, including Senator Jessica King ‘07 (Oshkosh), Representative JoCasta Zamarripa ’10 (Milwaukee), County Board Chairwoman Tara Johnson ‘10 (La Crosse) and Alderwoman Kelly Westlund ’11 (Ashland).

Jan 6 2013

Madison – Emerge Wisconsin is proud that as of today, there are eight Emerge Wisconsin alumnae serving in the State Legislature.  Five alumnae - Senator Nikiya Harris (Class of 2011), Representative Dianne Hesselbein (Class of 2009), Representative La Tonya Johnson (Class of 2012), Representative Melissa Sargent (Class of 2012) and Representative Mandy Wright (Class of 2012) – join returning alumnae - Representatives Penny Bernard Schaber (Class of 2007), Jill Billings (Class of 2011) and JoCasta Zamarripa (Class of 2010). 

See full press release here.

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