Politics major Olivia Renfro (Louisville, Kentucky) is interning this summer with Emerge Kentucky, the premier training program for democratic women wanting to run for office.
Emerge Kentucky, one of the most successful programs nationally, is affiliated with 25 states and currently has 27 alumnae serving in office across the state and 52 on the ballot this fall.
“This summer, I’ve worked on several projects including contacting all 194 Emerge Kentucky alumnae and redoing our website,” Renfro said. “I’ve gone to events across Kentucky, canvassed for candidates and managed Emerge’s social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter.”
Renfro has had the opportunity to work with members of the Emerge staff, including founder and chair, Jennifer Moore; Executive Director Blair Haydon; and Assistant Director Molly Crain. She has also periodically worked with other alumnae and women on our advisory board and board of directors, such as Alison Lundergan Grimes, Crit Luallen ‘74 and Ashley Judd.
“I am passionate about increasing the number of women in office—and Emerge’s mission is just that,” she said. “The Kentucky legislature is only 16.7 percent women and Emerge is working diligently to change that statistic.”
Prior to this internship, Renfro has worked on campaigns in Kentucky, including the Maria Sorolis campaign in 2014. She has also participated with LEAD Kentucky, a non-partisan training and empowerment program for college-aged women.
“This experience has prepared me for a career in politics and has equipped me with the skills I need to eventually run for office myself,” she added. “I’ve had the privilege of meeting the movers-and-shakers in the Kentucky Democratic Party and have made connections that will help me for years to come. I’ve been so inspired by all the women throughout Kentucky working to create positive change, implement effective policy and make women’s voices be heard.”
After Centre, Renfro plans to pursue a master’s degree in political science and eventually run for office.
“Working for Emerge this summer has prepared me for a career in Kentucky’s political realm, and I feel more confident than ever to take on the responsibilities of an elected official,” she concluded.
by Kerry Steinhofer
August 10, 2018
Header photo: Olivia Renfro ’19 (middle) stands with Jacqueline Coleman ’04 (left), candidate for lieutenant governor, and Jennifer Moore (right), founder and chair of Emerge Kentucky.