By Lisa Gauthier, East Palo Alto City Councilmember and Emerge California Class 2013
Recently I received a congratulations greeting card with a handwritten note from a lady I met months ago during a luncheon honoring women in Berkeley, CA. During our brief conversation, we chatted about my candidacy, platform, and strategy. After offering some advice and encouragement, she said she would keep in touch and wished me the best with the election. In her handwritten message, she congratulated me on being elected to the City Council and my entry into local politics.
Why was I surprised by this kind act? Women have been supportive and encouraging from day one. Starting with my mother, a single mother of six who constantly reminded her child that we could accomplish nearly anything we set our hearts on, through hard work and dedication. To a high school teacher who convinced me that I would be a good leader for a popular club on campus, to my daughter and other women who gave me the courage to enter an already crowded council race. And last but not least, the Emerge California collective for providing the building blocks for democratic women.
I am not discounting the assistance that I received from some of the men, I had a great team
and I appreciate the collective efforts of everyone. But I salute the women who made it possible for women to run and be successful in public office, who are tireless in giving of their time, advice, and precious resources. I stand on the shoulders of the women who held this position before me and I aim to a part of the support system for the women coming to come.
Emerge is making a difference in so many lives, not only does the program prepare democratic women to run for public office, the program is producing a group of women who are succeeding in other areas of life. Thank you Emerge for your encouragement and support, for reminding the class of the importance of a handwritten note, and for introducing me to the most amazing group of women ever. I am proud to be a member of the 2013 Emerge California class.