Emerge America Calls on More Women to Run for Elected Law Enforcement Positions as Part of “Follow Hillary’s Lead” Campaign

  • Jul 9, 2015
  • Allison Abney

San Francisco – July 9, 2015 — Emerge America (www.emergeamerica.org) launched a national effort to identify, recruit, train and support Democratic women to run for key law enforcement positions in the 2016 election cycle. The push is part of Emerge America’s “Follow Hillary’s Lead”  (http://followhillaryslead.org) campaign to increase the number of women candidates in 2016 by 20 percent by focusing on down-ballot elected law enforcement positions like district attorney. These are positions that often go unchallenged.

“There are nearly 400,000 female lawyers in this country, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Many of them should be running for offices in law enforcement, especially since 85% of incumbent prosecutors go unchallenged year after year,” says Andrea Dew Steele, Founder and President of Emerge America. “Prosecutors make decisions that impact women’s lives every single day, from domestic violence, to abortion rights to child abuse and beyond.  Women should be at the table making these decisions.”  

California Attorney General Kamala Harris, one of only a tiny fraction of women of color who are serving in key elected prosecutor positions nationwide and the only woman of color serving as a state attorney general, strongly endorsed Emerge America’s effort:

“I applaud Emerge America for working to get more women in law enforcement positions. Having served for eight years as San Francisco’s District Attorney and now as the Attorney General of California, I can tell you that women’s voices are desperately needed in the criminal justice system. So many of the issues and cases I have pursued have directly impacted women and their families. We need the best and the brightest in these law enforcement positions and I would love to see more women putting their names on the ballot.” 

Just this week the Women Donors Network (WDN) released a report entitled “Justice for All*?” that highlights the lack of diversity in law enforcement offices.  Women make up only 17% of prosecutors nationally, with women of color comprising only 1%.  Most surprising, was the recognition that 85% of incumbent elected prosecutors run unopposed. 

Emerge America’s “Follow Hillary’s Lead” effort around law enforcement positions will seek to target those races, with an effort nationally and among its 14 state affiliates to recruit Democratic women to run for the 2,437 elected prosecutor positions in the US.

Emerge America’s efforts will include:

  • Follow Hillary’s Lead Recruitment Webinar on August 5th, 2015:  Emerge America will host a webinar with Brenda Choresi Carter, Director of WDN’s Reflective Democracy campaign, and Maeghan Maloney, an Emerge alumna and district attorney in Maine, who will share their insight into why we need more women in these offices, and how you can run for them.
  • Targeted State-by-State Recruitment Efforts: Emerge America’s affiliates will carefully identify seats that are up for re-election in 2016-2017 and actively recruit competitive Democratic women to run for those positions. Emerge America will initiate targeting in July 2015 and release targeted positions before January 2015.
  • Hands On Law Enforcement Campaign Training: Emerge America will add a special law enforcement module to its candidate trainings — the law enforcement focus will distill advice and strategy from Emerge America alumnae to share with prospective candidates.  This specific training will be developed in the fall of 2015.
  • National Network of Support for Women Challengers: Emerge America will redouble its outreach and coordination with groups in law enforcement and associations representing women attorneys to encourage more women to decide to run.

In addition, Emerge America will continue to encourage women to run through its Follow Hillary’s Lead website (http://followhillaryslead.org) and social media campaign aimed at helping women take that first critical step: “making the decision to run and believing they can win with Emerge America at their back.”