Calling all civic-minded women leaders!

women of Emerge Oregon

By Daniel Neill
WashCo Dems Communication Committee Member

Women are proving more and more that they have always been on par with men in leading and governing,  but,  have not always been given the training and development they need to maximize their chances to win the office. A local program, Emerge Oregon, has been preparing future women leaders since 2009 with an annual class on how to run for office and win.

Co-Executive Director Jillian Schoene revealed that much of the value of the signature program is learning how to:

Do the right things before the campaign even begins.

Candidates often need to build a resume of community involvement.

The program teaches candidates some good ways to match their values and talents to programs in the community so they find the best way to contribute, learn about the challenges facing local groups, and how they will interact with government. It can also lead to greater visibility for the candidate before the campaign.

Speaking values first is another strategy that candidates learn.

GOP think tanks and marketers have long known that people think at a moral level first, which tells them what to focus on. For a long time, Democratic campaigns have focused on policies and facts, assuming people would make the most logical decision while ignoring what actually makes people vote – their morals.

Emerge Oregon teaches candidates how to frame issues in terms of their values so voters know what drives them and to connect at a deeper level.

Following from values, Emerge Oregon also asks candidates to define what they specifically want to protect or change about Oregon before the campaign begins. This will be different for each candidate and for each geographical area, but serves to inform voters what they can expect to happen should the candidate win the election, and lay the basis for accountability and achievement.

These are the biggest things that the program offers, but the specific tactics and skills needed to run campaigns and win are also taught. Often a candidate has the resume and charisma but no experience in political races, so the program provides a knowledge boost from talented coaches, which includes program alumnae and other political professionals. Social media has become a major tool in winning elections and candidates are taught how to use those outlets.

Alumnae of the Emerge Oregon signature program are a veritable Who’s Who in Oregon progressive women candidates and elected in the last 10 years.

The first class of the program saw Val Hoyle graduate, and within a year run her first campaign and win as State Representative (OR-14) race. She would go on to become the House majority leader for a term, and was recently elected the commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries.

The program begins January 2019 and trains one weekend a month over seven months, but the deadline for submission of the written application is October 12, 2018.

For those who are interested in running in May 2019, there is also a 2.5-day boot camp program that will be run September 22-23, 2018 that goes over many of the topics of the signature program. Candidates committed to effective leadership and are interested in running in elections are encouraged to apply. More information is available on the Emerge Oregon website!

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