Group trains women to run for office and lead

- Marjorie Velazquez, 35, has been involved in local politics for more than seven years as a Democratic district leader and community board member. But it wasn't until November she decided to take it to the next level by running for City Council.

When Velazquez faces off against five men to represent District 13 in the northeast Bronx this fall, she'll be part of a surge of women all across the country who have decided to take the plunge and run for office in the wake of the presidential election.

Erin Vilardi is the co-founder of VoteRunLead, an organization that trains women to run for local office through in person and online seminars. She says her organization saw a huge spike in interest after the November election.

Velazquez signed up for VoteRunLead's training, which covers nuts and bolts like how to fundraise and organize, but also connects potential candidates with women currently in office. About 2,300 women have participated since November.

Computer science teacher and political novice Katie Jergens, a Hillary Clinton supporter, is now considering a future City Council run. She participated in VoteRunLead training. She says she is determined to do something.

 Vilardi says that determination is the most important qualification when it comes to running for office.

VoteRunLead will hold its next seminar on Sunday in Washington, D.C., and then another online edition in February.

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