Nine Emerge Louisiana graduates on November ballot

Nine alumnae of Emerge Louisiana, an organization recruiting and training Democratic women to run for office, have qualified for 2018 elections across the state.

And at least 15 more are mulling over a run for the state Legislature in 2019, says Emerge Louisiana Executive Director Melanie Oubre.

The organization, an offshoot of Emerge America, launched last year and trained a class of 25 women—including lawyers, engineers, doctors and educators—throughout the state in its inaugural six-month program in 2018. Twenty-two additional women participated in a three-day boot camp in July.

Emerge Louisiana’s goal is to not only get more Democratic women involved in government but to ultimately change the face of Louisiana politics. The organization has been well-received so far, with more than 100 women applying for the training.

“Many of these women never thought about running before and didn’t know where to start,” Oubre says. “We decided to have the boot camp because we had so many women coming up to us wanting to participate. We’re expecting a lot to apply next year.”

The organization offers two training opportunities: a 70-hour, in-depth training program over six months and a three-day intensive boot camp. Trainers include campaign consultants and political advisors, who coach the participants on public speaking, fundraising, campaign messaging and more. Emerge Louisiana also provides a national and statewide support network of female colleagues, mentors and elected officials.

“Running for office is overwhelming, to say the least, but the training gave me confidence and a new village of like-minded ladies,” says Teri Johnson, an Emerge boot camp graduate and candidate for state representative, in a statement.

The following Emerge alumnae will appear on the 2018 ballot:

  • Michelle Charles, Jefferson Parish Juvenile District Court, Section B
  • Sumer Cooner, Caddo Parish School Board, District 8
  • Teri Johnson, state House of Representatives, District 33
  • Wanda Johnson, St. Martin Parish School Board, District 2
  • Laura McLemore, Shreveport City Council, District B
  • Chelsey Richard Napoleon, Orleans Parish Clerk of Civil District Court
  • Theresa Rohloff, Scott City Council At-Large
  • Tammy Savoie, U.S. Congress, District 1
  • April Williams, Jefferson Parish School Board, District 2

Applications for the 2019 Emerge Louisiana program open Aug. 3. Read a recent Business Report feature on the new organization.