Women have always been a key part of Arizona politics. Jerry Emmett, the founder of the DWPA, who is now 104 years old, reminds us that in Arizona, women had the right to vote and hold office in 1912 as part of the state's constitution eight years before the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The DWPA seeks to encourage women to participate in all levels of service and government whether running for office, or assuming support roles and leadership positions in our community and in our state.
The Democratic Women of the Prescott Area's mission is to engage, unite, and empower women to promote the principles of the Democratic Party and to attain public office and leadership positions in Arizona.
I remember meeting Jerry Emmett at my first Democratic Women of the Prescott Area luncheon in 2009, and even then I thought she was far more energetic than most people around her. “Animated” and “alive” are two words I’d use to describe her. Also, “firecracker,” because she had a sense of humor that made people crack up. Despite already being in her 90s, she was vocal and opinionated on all things political and kept up with current events, despite being nearly blind.
Jerry talked about being involved in politics since she was a young girl when her mother took her to the voting booth the first time women were able to vote. After seeing how much it meant to her mother, it influenced her to be politically active. She became a member of the women’s caucus at a young age, now the Arizona Federation of Democratic Women, as she worked as a public school teacher in the Phoenix area and raised a family. When she retired from teaching, she moved to Prescott and founded a women’s Democratic club, called the Democratic Women of the Prescott Area, with her cousin, Dawn Knight.
Jerry was a natural leader. When I was chair of the DWPA, she often would get riled up about an issue and ask if she could speak and encourage people to act, whether it was writing our elected officials or protesting. She had what I’d call a “fire in the belly” for justice and fairness. Almost every meeting she’d stand up and speak out in a way that few people do about what weighed on her mind.
The club celebrated her 99th, 100th and 101st birthdays at DWPA meetings and then her 103rd and 104th birthdays at Las Fuentes assisted living home where she moved after she had fallen and broken her hip. Her last birthday celebration was especially poignant because many of her students and longtime friends attended and told stories about how she’d positively influenced them. I talked about how her involvement with the women’s caucus influenced many women to get involved in politics and run for office, including her friend Carolyn Warner, who had run for governor and lost in a three-way split.
Jerry attended almost every DWPA meeting and Yavapai County Democratic Party meeting until she became more fragile in her 100s. She had to be led to a seat because of her blindness, and often had a beer with lunch, one of the perks of age.
The DWPA named an award to honor Jerry Emmett in 2009, and it recognizes volunteers for their dedication to the party.
Jerry charmed everyone from Hillary Clinton to Kamala Harris at the national Democratic Convention in 2016, where she was the oldest Arizonan attending and announced the state’s votes for Clinton. Her legacy lives on in the AFDW, the DWPA and in the hearts of all who knew her.
Photo of Jerry Emmett by Susan Lanning
Date: Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Time: 11:30am-1pm (Doors open at 11:15am)
Location: Centennial Center
1989 Clubhouse Drive in Prescott, AZ (Near airport)
Cost: $17 for DWPA Members, $20 for Non-members
Payment Type: RSVP’s and credit card payment may be made through Act Blue by clicking on the below link,
or at the door by Credit Card,
CHECK (made payable to DWPA),
or with CASH.
Cancellations for reservations must be received
24 hours in advance!
Attendees will be billed if they cancel
on the day of the event
The Democratic Women of the Prescott Area hosts luncheons featuring political speakers from across Arizona. Past speakers have included Katie Hobbs, Senior Democratic State Senator currently running for Arizona Secretary of State, Deedra Abboud, Democrat candidate running for the U.S Senate, Dr. David Brill, Democrat, running for Arizona's 4th Congressional Dristrict, Jo Craycraft, Democrat, running for Arizona State Senate representing LD1, and Jan Manolis, Democrat, running for Arizona State House for LD1. We’ve also hosted speakers on women’s reproductive rights, domestic violence and healthcare. Our newsletter, email and presentations inform members on critical issues. We organize petition drives, rapid response campaigns and demonstrations, as well as talking to our elected officials about issues that matter. Our members often volunteer for local, state and national campaigns
Another key mission is to provide educational scholarships. Each year we provide at least one competitive scholarship to a graduating senior, as well as a scholarship to the Emerge Arizona program, which trains Democratic women to serve as leaders.
DWPA members are like-minded people who help define party issues. We host luncheons, parties, and other social events. Benefits include membership in the Arizona Federation of Democratic Women and the National Federation of Democratic Women as well as discounts at DWPA events.
We'd like to thank all of you for your enthusiasm for the Democratic Party this past year. Your presence at the DWPA luncheons and your involvement in the numerous Democratic activities that have occurred in the Prescott area have been inspiring. Because of you we think the Democrats of Arizona have made great progress.
In 2018 we gave three college scholarships to Elena Kaoni, Miranda Todd, and DACA College Scholarship to Kim Zamora Delgado. We sent Jo Craycraft, who is challenging Karen Fann for the AZ Senate seat in LD1, and Jan Manolis, running for LD1 House of Representatives seat against David Stringer and Noel Campbell, to Arizona Emerge's candidate training for dynamic Democratic women to gain the training and skills to prepare then to run for public office.
The 2019 Membership fee is $20.00 and may be paid by clicking on the Act Blue Express Payment Button and selecting the DONATE $20.00 BUTTON.