Washington, D.C.—Today, Emerge America, the nation’s leading organization that recruits and trains Democratic women to run for office, announced that Oregon State Rep. and Multnomah County Board of Commissioners member-elect Jessica Vega Pederson will receive their 2016 Ambition to Award. The accolade, which recognizes a leader that turns her Ambition to Action by taking on the tough fight and pushing until she has accomplished her goal, is one of three Emerge America bestows to its alumnae each year as part of its Ambition to Action Awards. Vega Pederson was one of five women nominated for the honor out of Emerge’s more than 2,000 alumnae. The winners were chosen through an open voting period, in which the public voted for their favorite nominee.
“Jessica exemplifies everything that Emerge America and our network stand for and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to recognize her accomplishments,” said Andrea Dew Steele, Founder and President of Emerge America. “Our country is seriously lacking in women’s representation at all levels of government, and our decision-making bodies desperately need more of the unique talents and perspectives women like Jessica bring. We hope that more women will see her hard work and uplifting story and be inspired by it to run for office.”
Vega Pederson, a 2012 graduate of Emerge Oregon, is a mother, a technology professional, a progressive Democrat, a proud resident of East Portland and the first Latina elected to the Oregon House of Representatives. As Chair of the Energy and Environment committee in the House, Jessica carried to passage Oregon’s Clean Fuels Standard and the Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan, both of which reduce pollution and create good-paying jobs. As Majority Whip, she helped lead the fight for universal paid sick time, a higher minimum wage, stronger equal pay laws and stable funding for Oregon’s schools. In May 2016, Jessica was elected to the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners, District 3, where she will begin serving in January 2017. Before being elected to the State House, Jessica worked in the tech sector, helping start-ups, small businesses and Fortune 500 companies to grow their business.
“I’m honored to receive Emerge America’s Ambition to Action Award for my work on groundbreaking laws I helped passed to improve the quality of our air and water, protect immigrants and lift working moms and children out of poverty,” said Vega Pederson. Like many of the women who go through Emerge’s program, I ran for office because I saw pressing challenges in my neighborhood and I knew I had to do more than talk about making things better. I needed to get in the game and win for my community. My advice to other women is simple: Inspiring leaders who can get things done for your community are much closer than you think—just take a look in the mirror.”
The voting and awards will culminate with Emerge America’s annual Ambition to Action Post-Election Conference and Luncheon in San Francisco on Nov. 16. Pederson will be a guest of honor at the event and receive their award on stage. More information about it is available here: http://www.emergeamerica.org/content/ambition-action-celebrating-historic-year-women-politics
CONTACT: Allison Abney