To increase the number of Democratic women leaders from diverse backgrounds in public office all across the state and in all offices through recruitment, training, and providing a powerful network.
Emerge Washington is changing the face of politics by recruiting, training, and providing a powerful network for Democratic women who want to run for office.
Our program’s trainers are comprised of an elite team of campaign consultants, advisors, and staff from all over the state of Washington, who have been involved in some of the most successful campaigns and initiatives seen in recent election cycles. Participants learn from these experts and develop practical knowledge in areas such as public speaking, fundraising, campaign strategy, voter contact, media and messaging, and more. Candidates also meet an array of dynamic women who hold elected and appointed office and become a part of a supportive network, which includes a national association of Emerge alumnae, the Emerge board, and advisory council members.
Emerge WA has trained 92 women and 27 Emerge WA alumnae are currently in elected office.
Karen Besserman is Emerge Washington’s inaugural Executive Director. She comes to Emerge Washington with a long history of managing and advocating for women candidates. Before moving to Seattle, she managed the campaign of Sharon Sayles Belton in Minneapolis, the first African-American woman elected as mayor of a major city. She also worked in Seattle on Maria Cantwell’s campaign for the Senate in 2000.
In 2001, Besserman started Besserman Associates, a consulting firm specializing in local candidate and issue campaigns, individual fundraising, and public affairs and advocacy. The firm helped with the Women’s Bioethics Project launch of a national book club program, and the World Association for Children and Parents (WACAP) develop a program to feature adoptable children on the news each week with the goal of finding them families, among other major projects. Her other clients included the State of Washington, the Committee for Children, the Minority Executive Directors Coalition, and the Refugee Women’s Alliance.
Besserman has served on the board of directors for a reproductive health clinic and currently serves on the board of directors of Win with Women.
You can reach Karen at email@example.com
Emerge Washington is a state affiliate of Emerge, which has trained more than 4,000 women to run for office since 2002. Emerge alumnae across the country have won more the 1,000 elections to date and hold office at every level of government. There are currently Emerge affiliates in 26 states — Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin, with plans to expand to more soon. Emerge has trained women in 44 states and territories. Women who graduate from Emerge Washington’s training program are plugged into both the state network of Emerge Washington alumnae, as well as the national network of Emerge alumnae across the country.