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Emerge New Jersey Graduates 2017 Class

Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera Delivers Commencement Address

Emerge New Jersey, the premier political training organization in the state, graduated its fourth class of Democratic women on Saturday. The graduation took place in Montclair, New Jersey at the residence of BlueWave NJ President and Emerge New Jersey Board Member, Marcia Marley. 

“We are honored to graduate this remarkable group of talented women,” said Emerge New Jersey Executive Director Truscha Quatrone. “Like the classes before them, the women this year were eager to learn, engaged in the training and energized to take action in their communities. Many are planning to run this year and we look forward to seeing where they emerge in the state.”

This year’s graduating class was a representation of diverse and progressive female leaders from New Jersey’s various counties. Each came to Emerge New Jersey with unique skills and attributes, yearning to make a difference and foster positive change. Energized by the 2016 Presidential Election, the class felt that now, more than ever, women need to emerge into the political arena. Lisa Douglas, a graduate and resident of Newark stated, “Subsequent to the disappointing election, I realized it was my duty as an African-American woman to ‘emerge.’” She continued, “The Emerge New Jersey political training program provided me with invaluable tools to effectively prepare and run for office. Empowered, I now further understand the importance of not only possessing a seat at the table, but it is my responsibility to create one if none exist."

Along with Douglas, the following women graduated from Emerge New Jersey’s 2017 political training program:

  • Alexandra Harwin, Bergen County
  • Antoinette Gingerelli, Monmouth County
  • Zonie LeSane, Bergen County
  • Katilia Velez, Essex County
  • Sakeema M. James, Hudson County
  • Patricia Guerra-Frazier, Union County
  • Andrea Martinez-Mejia, Mercer County
  • Michelle Harris, Morris County
  • Naima Ricks, Union County
  • Ariagna Perello, Essex County
  • Lisa Douglas, Essex County
  • Maria Del Cid-Kosso, Union County
  • Janna Sheiman, Mercer County
  • Parul Sharma, Middlesex County
  • Kim Keyes, Middlesex County
  • Kristen Zadroga-Hart, Hudson County

This year's commencement speaker was Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera, who represents New Jersey's 4th Legislative District. Assemblywoman Mosquera is a tireless fighter for South Jersey’s families. She has authored legislation to help victims of domestic violence, organized small business owner roundtables to help create jobs in our community, and has fought for a fiscally responsible state budget that would eliminate special tax breaks for millionaires, provide property tax relief for middle-class families and restore funding for critical women’s healthcare services.

During the ceremony, Assemblywoman Mosquera shared her unique journey to elected office, which was riddled with obstacles and several challenges, but she prevailed. During her commencement address, Assemblywoman Mosquera said, “As a woman who has served in the New Jersey legislature since 2012, I have personally seen how important it is that we empower women to have a voice at the legislative table. The work Emerge New Jersey has done to help diversify our electorate to ensure that all citizens in New Jersey are represented, has benefited each and every individual in our state.”

The induction of Emerge New Jersey's 2017 class confirms more than 50 Democratic women completing the political training program. Most notably, are Emerge New Jersey elected officials Essex County Freeholder Board President Britnee Timberlake, Neptune Township Committeewoman Carol Rizzo, Madison Borough Councilwoman Maureen Byrne and Roselle Board of Education Vice President Jazmine Sandifer.

For more information about Emerge New Jersey and how to become a member of the 2018 class, please contact Emerge New Jersey Executive Director Truscha Quatrone at

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