Yesterday our kick-off Emerge Virginia event marked the beginning of a new chapter for women’s political representation in Virginia. At pivotal moments like these, it is useful to take time and reflect on what lies behind us and take stock of the work that is yet to come.
We have come so far and achieved so much since 23 of us gathered at former Attorney General Mary Sue Terry’s farm in Critz, Virginia, in September 2008. I look forward to watching the effects of a new injection of energy, perspectives, and passion into the ongoing project that started with The Farm Team and that now partners with Emerge America in forming Emerge Virginia.
In the past 4 and ½ years, we have endorsed over 45 competent, committed Democratic women who ran for political office in Virginia. We have helped beat back Reverend Jerry Falwell’s attempt to intimidate and unseat Lynchburg’s Mayor, Joan Foster. We helped defeat Eric Cantor’s Republican junta in Richmond with our support and work for Shannon Taylor in her victory as Commonwealths Attorney in Henrico.
We will continue to stand up for representation of the majority of Virginia’s citizens – women. Many of you have heard me repeat a Gov. Granholm quote – “If we (women) are not seated at the table, than we are on the menu”. And, we will change that.
I am so grateful for the hard work of so many dedicated women on this journey.
Emerge Virginia will subsume many aspects of The Farm Team. New friends and hard workers are joining us and stepping into the breach to help carry on the work that the founding 23 have done to transform the politics of our Commonwealth.
While The Farm Team will maintain its candidate endorsement function (PAC) to assist and promote Democratic women, Emerge Virginia will take on the vital work of training candidates with a seven month in-depth training program. Emerge Virginia will shortly begin the process of accepting applications for the program so stay tuned.
Speaking for myself, and I know my fellow current and future Board Members, we are all looking forward to the effects of this innovative collaboration reaching all parts of Virginia.
Many new and very talented women have joined us to help lead the charge we started with The Farm Team, and I am thrilled with the involvement of many of our most accomplished women elected officials – Senators, Delegates and local elected officials across the Commonwealth.
We have shown that women bring many skills, including diplomacy and a willingness to collaborate, to politics. In a time of partisan gridlock, this is why women’s voices need to be heard.
This has been the work of The Farm Team for the past four and a half years and will continue to be the work of Emerge Virginia, as we move towards a Virginia in step with history, where women have full control over their own medical choices and are considered equal in their personal and professional lives.
Susan S. Platt
Founding Member, The Farm Team