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New campaign aims to recruit and elect more women prosecutors

The "Follow Hillary's Lead" campaign aims to get more women elected to the 2,437 elected prosecutor positions across America.
Empty jury seats in courtroom. (Jeremy Woodhouse/Gallery Stock)
Empty Jury Seats in Courtroom

Although there are 400,000 women lawyers in America, women make up just 17% of prosecutors nationally -- and of that, just 1% are women of color.

A new campaign aims to change that, arguing that elected law enforcement positions such as prosecutor roles have some of the most power to impact the lives of women.

Emerge America, a group that trains Democratic women to run for office, launched last week their “Follow Hillary’s Lead” campaign, which aims to recruit and train more women to run for elected law enforcement positions in 2015 and 2016.

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“There are nearly 400,000 female lawyers in this country, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Many of them should be running for offices in law enforcement, especially since 85% of incumbent prosecutors go unchallenged year after year,” says Andrea Dew Steele, Founder and President of Emerge America.

Steele emphasizes that prosecutors wield significant influence in their communities, noting: “Prosecutors make decisions that impact women’s lives every single day, from domestic violence, to abortion rights to child abuse and beyond.  Women should be at the table making these decisions.” There are currently 2,437 elected prosecutor positions across the country.

Emerge America says the “Follow Hillary’s Lead” campaign will recruit Democratic women to run for elected law enforcement positions across the nation, offering hands-on campaign training and connecting them to a network of supporters.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris also showed her support for the campaign in a press release, saying: "I applaud Emerge America for working to get more women in law enforcement positions. Having served for eight years as San Francisco's District Attorney and now as the Attorney General of California, I can tell you that women's voices are desperately needed in the criminal justice system. So many of the issues and cases I have pursued have directly impacted women and their families. We need the best and the brightest in these law enforcement positions and I would love to see more women putting their names on the ballot."