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Emerge New Jersey Launches First Class On Politics 101 For Democratic Women In Nj

Twelve women will participate in six-month long training program
Emerge New Jersey, the premier political training organization dedicated to giving Democratic women who want to run for office the necessary skills to win, is pleased to announce that the inaugural training class began in January and will run for the next six months. The training course will include sessions ranging in topic from public speaking to campaign strategy and fundraising. “Emerge makes a long-term investment in candidates by building their leadership skills, providing campaign training and building a network of Democratic women to help them run for – and win – elected office, “explains Emerge New Jersey’s Executive Director Karen Hartshorn Hilton.


After a rigorous application process, twelve women were selected. Marlene Baldinger, Shelly Bell, Maureen McLaughlin Byrne, Rosa Farias, Kimberly Hurdman, Sadaf Jaffer, Diane Murray, Sara Pena, Carol Rizzo, Erin Sweeney, Britnee Timberlake and Catherine Wilson will be the first women trained to change the face of politics by gaining greater representation in government in their local communities and on the state level and beyond.
Each woman selected comes to Emerge New Jersey with unique qualifications and skills. Marlene Baldinger of Lebanon has more than 20 years of healthcare quality experience. Shelly Bell of Newark has more than 10 years of experience in local and state government affairs, and with nonprofit organizations. Maureen Byrne of Madison has organized numerous events and fundraisers to aid in the city’s downtown development. Rosa Farias of Newark is the former Deputy Chief of Staff to then Newark Mayor, now US Senator Corey Booker, currently sharing her passion for government with students at Rutgers University, where she teaches urban development. Kimberly Hurdman of Morristown was responsible for all field operations for BlueWaveNJ during the 2012 presidential campaign.
Sadaf Jaffer of Princeton is currently pursuing a PhD from Harvard University, where she is focusing on international women’s rights and social justice. Diane Murray of Hillside is currently working toward a master’s degree in communications, with past experience in insurance, real estate, public relations and marketing. Sara Pena is a lifelong resident of Newark, where she is currently working towards a master’s degree in public administration from Rutgers University. Carol Rizzo of Ocean Grove specializes in business technologies that help improve customer relationships. Erin Sweeney of Newark describes herself as a cross-cultural leader with unwavering commitment to community. Britnee Timberlake of East Orange is an experienced entrepreneur who founded a cookie dough line aimed at helping parents save for their children’s college education. Catherine Wilson of Morristown spent more than 20 years as an educator and district administrator.
Shifting the Paradigm in New Jersey Politics
Throughout the course of the program, the 12 program members will be trained on how to effectively communicate their message and unique political views. The course will also focus on the fundamentals of campaigning, including fundraising, filing to run for office, understanding key constituency groups and gaining endorsements. Other aspects will include the importance of diversity and the structure of the Democratic Party in New Jersey. The final few sessions will focus on refining a campaign plan, recruiting volunteers and ethical leadership within a campaign. “By the end of the program, our candidates will have the knowledge and practical experience to apply the lessons from Emerge to their political careers,” Hilton said.
Emerge New Jersey is one of 14 states in the Emerge America network that boasts remarkable results: 43% of the program’s graduates have run for office with a 60% success rate. The underrepresentation of women is especially prominent in the state of New Jersey. In the 235 years since its statehood, New Jersey has only elected two Democratic Congresswomen, no US Senators, and no New Jersey governors. Of 120 current State Legislators, only 23 are women.
About Emerge New Jersey

Emerge New Jersey is poised to become the premier political leadership training program for Democratic women in the state. Our mission is simple: inspiring women to run and honing their skills to win. Our goal is clear: to increase the number of Democratic women in office. To learn more about us, visit www.emergenj.org.

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