Emerge Maryland accepts 23 women to train to run for office

Emerge Maryland, the organization that trains Democratic women to run for office, announced its 2017 class Wednesday.

The 23 candidates from eight Maryland jurisdictions including Baltimore represent the largest class of the training program, which is in its fifth year.


Past graduates include state Del. Brooke Lierman of Southeast Baltimore and Baltimore City Councilwoman Shannon Sneed of East Baltimore.

"After the 2016 elections, where we saw Hillary Clinton defeated for president, and no women elected to Maryland's federal delegation, more women than ever are expressing interest in Emerge Maryland's
training program and saying they are motivated to run," Martha
McKenna, president of Emerge Maryland's board, said in a statement.

The Emerge Maryland training program includes nine sessions and 75 hours of training over six months from December through May.

Among the 23 new members is Robbyn Lewis, a Baltimore community activist who works at the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange. She is a candidate to fill the vacancy created in Baltimore's 46th legislative district after Del. Pete Hammen joined the administration of Mayor Catherine E. Pugh.

Lewis has been endorsed by incumbent lawmakers in the district, including Lierman.

Other local members of the Emerge Maryland class include: Lenora Dawson, Ellie Mitchell, Stephanie Smith and Dea Thomas of Baltimore, Marisol Johnson of Baltimore County, Shaneka Henson, Deborah Ritchie and Lisa Rodvien of Anne Arundel County, and Debra Jung and Christiana Rigby of Howard County.

Thomas ran for the Baltimore City Council's 11th District seat this year, finishing second to Councilman Eric T. Costello.

The organization is hosting a fundraiser reception on Thursday, Dec. 8 at 6:30 p.m. at the Open Works studio at 1400 Greenmount Avenue in Baltimore.