Emerge Texas announces Serita Fontanesi as its inaugural Executive Director

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The Lone Star State is getting even more support when it comes to training progressive candidates. This week Emerge officially announced that Serita Fontanesi has been named the Executive Director of Emerge Texas.

Emerge is one of the largest organizations that recruits and trains Democratic women to run for political office. Emerge training programs are tailored to local communities, and they often work with existing regional political groups. Emerge Texas is joining a major network of affiliates around the country.

Since 2002, Emerge has trained over 4,000 Democratic women to run for political office. Currently, 690 Emerge alumnae are serving as elected officials.

Fontanesi was recently the Black Constituency Organizer for the Texas Democratic Party. In 2020, the Texas Democratic Party, Powered by People, and the Texas Coalition of Black Democrats partnered on the state’s largest mobilization effort to reach Black voters.

Fontanesi received a Master of Social Work from USC, where she focused on community organizing and social change. She is also both a certified birth and postpartum doula and a trauma-informed yoga instructor.

In a statement to Texas Signal, Fontanesi reacted to her new position as Executive Director of Emerge Texas. 

“I am honored to join Emerge and lead the efforts to recruit and train Democratic women in Texas,” Fontanesi said. “Across the country, Emerge’s trainings have helped to change the face of government by helping a historic number of Democratic women run and win at every level.”

President of Emerge A’shanti Gholar also spoke highly of Fontanesi in a statement to the Signal. “We are thrilled to have Serita join our team as the new Executive Director of Emerge Texas and expand our critical work here,” said Gholar.

As a key battleground state, Texas is a prime target for training women to run for office, which Gholar understands. “Our organization has long been focused on building power and investing in Democratic women in the South by giving them the tools they need to mount successful campaigns. We’ve seen the potential for women to transform the region and give communities the leadership they deserve, and we are excited to work with our partners across the state to turn that vision into a reality,” said Gholar.As the Democratic Party of Texas looks ahead to 2022, having qualified and trained candidates from Emerge Texas will be a major asset for races on the local and state level. Fontanesi is also ready to get to work. “I look forward to bringing [Emerge’s] program to the Lone Star State and seeing the real improvements in future legislative policies that directly impact Texas families, businesses, and communities that the women we train will champion. I cannot wait to graduate Emerge Texas’ first-class — women who will be ready to serve as a new generation of leaders in Texas,” said Fontanesi.

Photo: emergeamerica.org

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