Emerge Pennsylvania Alumna, Movita Johnson-Harrell Wins Special Election

  • Mar 13, 2019
  • Rebecca McNichol

The newly elected State Representative is the first Muslim Woman Elected to the PA House.

PHILADELPHIA – Women’s History Month is usually about celebrating achievements of the past, yet there are a select group of women who see it as a challenge to make history today. The March 12 special election in Pennsylvania House District 190 resulted in the historic victory of Movita Johnson-Harrell, the first Muslim Woman elected to the Pennsylvania State House.

“Movita has a powerful reason behind her candidacy,” said Emerge Pennsylvania Executive Director Rebecca McNichol, “She tragically lost her son, brother, father, and cousin to gun violence. She came out of those experiences determined to break the cycle of gun violence make positive change in her community.”

Since she is not a career politician, Johnson-Harrell sought the expertise offered through Emerge Pennsylvania’s training program in 2016 to show her how to run a successful campaign. The six-month, 70-hour, training program teaches women about public speaking and messaging, campaign strategy, field operations and fundraising. The leaders of the training sessions are comprised of a premiere team of campaign consultants, advisors and staff from all over the country.

One of the other benefits to being an alumna of Emerge Pennsylvania is the network of support. Representative-Elect Johnson-Harrell will join eight of her fellow Emerge Pennsylvania alumnae who were elected to the state legislature in 2018 in addition to the Emerge Pennsylvania’s co-founders, Representative Tina Davis and Representative Mary Jo Daley.

“We couldn’t be more proud of Movita and are delighted to be celebrating her victory tonight,” said McNichol, “She took her knowledge into the field and she won. She is motivated to tackle tough issues in Harrisburg and I know that she will be a great State Representative for the 190th district.”

Since the first Emerge state was launched in 2002 Emerge has trained more than 4,000 Democratic women to run for office to date. Fifty-two percent of Emerge alumnae have run for office or been appointed to local boards or commissions. Additionally, Emerge has a strong record of diversity – forty percent of alumnae are women of color. Emerge Pennsylvania started in 2015 and graduated its first class of women in 2016. Follow Emerge Pennsylvania on Facebook for more updates on the program.