FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 17, 2023
CONTACT: Emerge California
Emerge California Announces New Executive Director Christy Smith, former California State Assemblymember
Oakland, CA — Emerge California, the state’s premier organization that recruits and trains Democratic women to run for office, is excited to welcome Christy Smith as the new Executive Director to lead the organization.
Smith, who served as California State Assemblymember for the 38th district from 2018 until 2020, is supported by a diverse group of stakeholders and brings an important and fresh perspective as the organization’s first permanent Executive Director to have served in public office and the first to be based in Southern California.
“From my time working closely with Christy in the Assembly, I know her as a great legislator and staunch ally for the LGBTQ+ community,” Assemblymember Evan Low (D-26) stated. “I am thrilled to see her step into this new role, and I know she will excel in propelling more women and members of historically excluded communities into office across our great state.”
With the 2024 election on the horizon, Democratic women are looking to flip seats from red to blue at all levels of government. Incoming Executive Director Christy Smith has done just that, as she flipped the 38th Assembly District from red to blue in 2018.
California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO leader and former Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez stated, “I have worked with Christy in the legislature where we fought to ensure higher wages and better working conditions for hard-working Californians. We know that uplifting communities means investing in women and empowering them to lead. I’m thrilled to see Christy taking the helm at Emerge California and look forward to working together to build the bench of women leaders.”
“Incoming Executive Director Smith’s experience running for office at the local, state, and federal office levels and the perspective and knowledge she has gained from her service on a local school board and in our state legislature will be invaluable as the leader of Emerge California,” stated Emerge California Board of Directors Chair Rhodesia Ransom. “We send a huge thank you to outgoing Interim Executive Director and former Mayor of Oakland Libby Schaaf for stepping in to lead Emerge California at a critical time this year, and we look forward to building the organization to even greater success in the years to come under the leadership of our dynamic new permanent Executive Director Christy Smith.”
Smith’s leadership started early when she became President of her union at the age of 23. A proud mother and wife, she attended College of the Canyons and graduated with honors from UCLA with a B.A. in Political Science.
As a state legislator, Smith authored nine bills focusing on educational reform, college affordability, and good governance, which were signed into law by Governor Newsom. She also authored a landmark measure, now law, that removes barriers for survivors of human trafficking to access victims compensation.
Emerge California has a proven track record of getting Democratic women elected. Since the organization launched in 2002, the program has trained over 850 women to run for office. 210 alums currently serve in elected office, including Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis; State Controller Malia Cohen; State Senators Aisha Wahab and Marie Alvarado-Gil, State Assemblymembers Dawn Addis, Lori Wilson, Mia Bonta, Pilar Schiavo, and Rebecca Bauer-Kahan; San Francisco Mayor London Breed; San Bernardino Mayor Helen Tran; Irvine Mayor Farrah Khan; and San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott.
For more information, please visit ca.emergeamerica.org.