Emerge South Carolina Announces the Class of 2020

  • Jan 13, 2020
  • Melissa N. Watson
  • Emerge South Carolina

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                   

January 13, 2020


Melissa N. Watson




Emerge South Carolina Announces the Class of 2020

Prominent Democratic Women’s Organization Announces its Largest Class in Organization History 


Columbia, SC — Emerge South Carolina, the state’s premier candidate training program for Democratic women, announced today the Class of 2020 – it’s largest class ever in the organization’s history.

Twenty- seven women makeup the Emerge South Carolina Class of 2020. In its third year, this year’s class is made up of women from nine counties in the state; Anderson, Charleston, Dorchester, Florence, Greenville, Orangeburg, Richland, Spartanburg, and York.

“We know from our recruitment and selection season that 2020 is going to be a landmark year,” said Melissa N. Watson, Emerge South Carolina Executive Director. “We had an amazing pool of applicants following our 2019 wins. Some have questioned if the 2018 Year of the Woman was a moment or a movement. It’s actually neither – 2020 is going to mark a new era that will elect a leadership that reflects our communities across the state.”

Emerge South Carolina’s training program offers Democratic women who want to run for public office a unique opportunity. Women who are accepted receive 70 hours of in-depth education over six months that inspires them to run for office and gives them the tools to win. The program’s trainers are comprised of an elite team of campaign consultants, advisors and staff from all over the country, who have been involved in some of the most successful campaigns and initiatives seen in recent election cycles. Participants learn from these experts and develop practical knowledge in areas such as public speaking, fundraising, campaign strategy, voter contact, media and messaging and others. Candidates also meet an array of dynamic women who hold elected and appointed office and become a part of a supportive network, which includes a national association of Emerge alumnae, the Emerge board and advisory council members.

Emerge South Carolina is intentional about recruiting women who are reflective of the constituencies they serve. The Class of 2020 is one of our most diverse – more than 50% of the new class identify as women of color, women who identify as LGBTQ, and participants representing the millennial to baby boomer generations. The class also represents 15 towns and cities across the state and includes women from a diverse set of professional backgrounds, including educators, business owners, veterans, and even current candidates.

“I’m excited to be a part of Emerge South Carolina’s 2020 class and am looking forward to learning how I can use my skills and experience to chart a path to a successful career in politics,” said Tori West. “Our government doesn’t have nearly enough women serving in it. I hope my classmates and I will go on to become South Carolina’s next generation of female political leaders.”

The Emerge South Carolina Class of 2020 includes:

Charly Adkinson, Summerville

Celia Ballou, Charleston

Gretchen Barron, Blythewood

Shakeima Chatman, Charleston

Demi Clark, Fort Mill

Jennifer Clyburn Reed, Columbia

Sarah Dant, Greenville

Michelle Drayton, Columbia

Bajeyah Eaddy, Mauldin

Janice Gist, Wellford

Timicia Grant, Greenville

Tina Herbert, Columbia

Catherine Kennedy, Columbia

Kat Martin, Mt. Pleasant

Amanda McDougald Scott, Greenville

Natanya Miller, North Charleston

Quanisea Moses, Effingham

Candace Pattman, Columbia

Helen Pendarvis, Duncan

I’isha Pinckney, Mt. Pleasant

Mary Ellen Player, Lake City

Leslie Skardon, Charleston

Tori West, Columbia

Annie Williams, Orangeburg

Dee Bell Williams, Columbia

Tonya Winbush, Anderson

Mary Wright, Greenville


For more information, please visit www.emergesc.org