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Emerge Kentucky celebrates five years
The Emerge Kentucky Board of Directors, Jennifer Moore front row center.
Alison Lundergan Grimes was the featured speaker at Emerge Kentucky's birthday party
Former Auditor Crit Luallen introduces Rep. Sannie Overly.
Jerry Lundergan at Emerge Kentucky event.
Alison Lundergan Grimes and West Kentuckians at Emerge Kentucky banquet.
Governor Martha Layne Collins
Col Owens and Donna Moore Campbell
Emerge Kentucky Chair Jennifer Moore and Executive Director Elizabeth Sawyer give last minute directions to volunteers.
Bill Londrigan, center, and labor leaders at Emerge
Lil Press, in black, greets friends.

(Louisville, KY) - Emerge Kentucky had a very big birthday party last Saturday night. Helping celebrate Emerge’s fifth birthday were 450 supporters who showed up for cocktails and the $125 a plate dinner at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage in Louisville.

Emerge Kentucky trains Democratic women to run for elected office. The year long program teaches skills in fundraising, public speaking, organizing and running a campaign. Emerge has trained 85 women since its beginning. The 2014 class has 22 members.

One member of the class was absent. Djuan Trent, a former Miss Kentucky was in New York for Up with Steve Kornacki, an MSNBC Saturday morning news program. Trent had just come out as a gay woman and she was taking part on the show to discuss the recent judicial decision on Kentucky recognizing same sex marriages.

Emerge Kentucky operates with both a board (see list below) and an advisory board made up by some of the best known women in Kentucky politics, business and media.

Emerge Kentucky is chaired by Jennifer Moore, a Louisville attorney, who served as state Democratic Party chair. Moore, a Louisville attorney, is a Paducah native. Her political future has been the subject of speculation. But Moore confirmed Saturday night that she is putting off her political career to expand her law practice.

Democratic officials, led by Congressman John Yarmuth and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, greeted old friends and pressed the flesh with new ones. Women politicians were especially in evidence. Former Governor Martha Layne Collins was honored. In her remarks, Collins said that during her term in office, “four short years“ she tried hard not to do anything that would make running for office hard for women.

Featured speaker Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes spoke of watching the change of command at Ft. Knox. Brigadier General Peggy Combs became the first woman commander of Ft. Knox. Grimes’ speech centered around a quote from Combs. “I am not here to stay. I am here to make a difference.”

Grimes is currently leading Senator Mitch McConnell in polling. Both candidates have a primary in May. Grimes’ primary challenger is much less a threat to her than tea party supported Matt Bevin is to McConnell.

Potential 2016 gubernatorial candidates Jack Conway, Crit Luallen and Adam Edelen also were at the celebration. Luallen introduced the evening’s other honoree.

Rep. Sannie Overly was honored as Emerge Kentucky’s Woman of Courage. Overly is the first woman to serve in Kentucky House leadership as Majority Caucus Chair.

Emerge Kentucky women are running and their winning average is impressive. Of the 43% that have filed for office, 60% have won their races. This year, Emerge Kentucky has thirty one alumni on the ballot.


In an interview, Rep. John Yarmuth said he would be proud to have a woman sit in the seat in Congress he currently occupies.

Just not yet.


Emerge Kentucky Board of Directors

Jeanie Embry Network Design Engineer
Lori Flanery Secretary of Finance and Administration
Cabinet Priscilla Johnson Kentucky
Court of Justice Virginia Johnson
Retired Teacher Lindy Karns
Caitlin Lally
Kathleen Lape Attorney,
Former Judge Linda Marquette
Wanda Mitchell-Smith Political Director, AFSCME
Hon. Elaine Walker Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Parks
Mary Ellen Wiederwohl Chief of Strategic Initiative,
City of Louisville Susanna French Board Vice-Chair

Emerge Kentucky Advisory Board

Hon. Carolyn Belcher, Representative Linda Belcher, First Lady Jane Beshear, Jennifer Chandler, Governor Martha Layne Collins, Representative Leslie Combs, Representative Kelly Flood, Senator Denise Harper Angel, Hon. Teresa Isaac, Representative Joni Jenkins, Hon. Eleanor Jordan, Ashley Judd, Representative Martha Jane King, Hon. Crit Luallen, Representative Mary Lou Marzian, Leah McCormick-Adkins, Betsy Nowland-Curry, Representative Sannie Overly, Representative Ruth Ann Palumbo, Hon. Georgia Powers, Lillian Press, Hon. Dottie Sims, Representative Rita Smart, Senator Kathy Stein, Mary Karen Stumbo, Senator Robin Webb, Lois Combs Weinberg, Representative Susan Westrom, Virginia Woodward


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