BRATTLEBORO -- Madeleine Kunin, who was governor of Vermont from 1985 to 1991, will be in Brattleboro Thursday evening, to introduce Emerge Vermont to Windham County. The organization's mission is to recruit, train and mentor female Democrats to run for political office.
While currently 41 percent of the Vermont Legislature is female and half of the 96 Democrats in the House are women, the 30-member Senate only has nine women -- seven Democrats and two Republicans. And, noted Kunin during a press conference in Burlington on Sept. 23, the state has had only one female governor.
"It's about time for another," Kunin said at the time, as reported by the Burlington Free Press.
Even though Vermont's neighbor, New Hampshire, has two federal senators and two members of the U.S. House of Representatives who are female, the Green Mountain State has never sent a woman to Washington, D.C.
On Thursday night, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Catherine Dianich Gallery in the Hooker Dunham Building at 139 Main Street, Kunin will discuss Emerge Vermont and the importance of encouraging more women to run for political office. Vermont is the fourteenth state to join Emerge America, which was founded in 2002.
In addition to Kunin, Rep. Valerie Stuart, D-Brattleboro District 2-1, will be in attendance.
"To solve the challenges that pose a threat now and for future generations, we need to empower more women to run for public office," said Stuart. "Women have the intelligence, the insight, the values, and the pure grit necessary to solve the challenges facing our children and our grandchildren. Ranging from our dysfunctional Congress to the ongoing degradation of our planet, from the lack of sane gun control laws to sexual assault in the military, getting more women elected to our school and select boards, our corporate boardrooms and state legislatures, and the United States Congress is the brightest beacon of hope for our future. We need to work together to get more women into positions of power and leadership, starting right here, right now."
The event will also be hosted by Becca Balint, Ann Braden and Catherine Dianich Gruver.
Donna Macomber, a member of the Brattleboro Selectboard and an Emerge alumna, will speak about how she benefited from the training.
"Emerge was a potent combination of naming the barriers women face when running for public office, and expert guidance on how to overcome these barriers," said Macomber. "We received extraordinary training on public speaking, how to run a successful campaign and we were given the space, safety and tools to practice."
The event is free and open to the public. Appetizers will be provided and there will be a cash bar.
For more information, visit www.emergevt.org.