Emerge Kentucky 2017 Participants Selected

The Commonwealth’s premier training program for Democratic women welcomes largest class yet


Contact: Blair Haydon, Executive Director



Louisville, KY: Emerge Kentucky, a non-profit organization that has recruited and trained 140 Democratic women to run for public office since 2010, has announced the participants for its 2017 training program.

Twenty-six Democratic women from across the Commonwealth will acquire 70 hours of candidate training over the next six months to prepare them to run effective and winning campaigns for local, state, and federal office.

“Emerge Kentucky’s results speak for themselves. In 2016, despite the national Republican trend, 61 % of Emerge alumnae won, with 9% of those wins women of color. Since the Election, a record number of women applied for Emerge fired up to make a difference. We are capturing this energy of Kentucky women to change the current political system by providing a path for more women to run for office. For too long, women’s voices have not been heard. Emerge is here to change that,” states Jennifer A. Moore, founder and board chair.

This year’s class includes the following 26 women from 17 different cities:

  • Abbie Barnes, Paducah
  • Dr. Karen Berg, Louisville
  • Ashley Bland, Russellville
  • Ellen Cartmell, Maysville 
  • Crystal Chappell, Drakesboro 
  • Elizabeth Davis, Mt. Sterling
  • Chris Dennis Myers, Cold Spring 
  • Carolyn Dupont, Lexington
  • Leigh Ann Dycus, Paducah 
  • Stefanie Ebbens Kingsley, Williamsburg 
  • Beth Fiss, Franklin
  • Liz Fossett, Covington
  • Denise Gray, Lexington
  • Victoria Golden-Thompson, Bowling Green 
  • Tanisha Hickerson, Louisville
  • Janet Humphrey Cole, Nicholasville 
  • Shayla Johnson, Lexington
  • Lilith McGhee, Louisville
  • Devon Oser, Louisville
  • Jenny Noe, Crestwood
  • Lynn Pryor, Hopkinsville 
  • Margaret Ridley, Henderson 
  • Christine Salameh, Louisville
  • Julie Tennyson, Paducah
  • Lauren Tussey, Cattletsburg
  • Tyra Walker, Louisville

Emerge Kentucky offers Democratic women leaders the opportunity for top-notch candidate training and mentoring, giving women the skills, confidence, and network to run effective and successful campaigns. Emerge Kentucky’s curriculum includes training in public speaking, fundraising, campaign strategy, field operations, labor and endorsements, networking, media skills, messaging, and ethics in politics. Participants complete seven sessions over a six-month period. As a statewide program, classes are held at various locations around Kentucky.

Emerge Kentucky has trained more than 140 women since its founding in 2009. Alumnae include current elected officials State Representatives Attica Scott (District 41 - Jefferson) and McKenzie Cantrell (District 38 - Jefferson), Mayor of Paducah Brandi Harless, Louisville Metro Council Member Cindy Fowler, and Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council members Angela Evans and Kathy Plomin. For a complete listing of Emerge Kentucky alumnae and current class members, please visit www.emergeky.org.

Emerge Kentucky’s Advisory Board includes the following members: former Governor Martha Layne Collins, former Auditor Crit Luallen, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, First Lady Jane Beshear, Senator Denise Harper Angel, The Late Senator Georgia Davis Powers, Senator Robin Webb, Reps. Kelly Flood, Joni Jenkins, Mary Lou Marzian, Sannie Overly, Ruth Ann Palumbo, and Susan Westrom, Councilwoman Vicki Aubrey Welch, Hon. Linda Belcher, Hon. Leslie Combs, Hon. Martha Jane King, Hon. Rita Smart, Audrey Haynes, Ashley Judd, Carolyn Belcher, Jennifer Chandler, Hon. Teresa Isaac, Hon. Eleanor Jordan, The Late Betsy Nowland Curry, Hon. Pam Miller, Leah McCormick-Adkins, Lillian Press, Hon. Kathy Stein, Mary Karen Stumbo, Dottie Sims, Lois Combs Weinberg, Linda Breathitt, and Virginia Woodward.

Board members from across Kentucky include: Jennifer A. Moore, Susanna French, Linda Cowan, Heather Dearing, Lori Flanery, Rene Heinrich, Penny Hendy, Priscilla Johnson, Virginia Johnson, Lindy Karns, Caitlin Lally, Linda Marquette, Carole Register, Wanda Mitchell-Smith, and Mary Ellen Wiederwohl.

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