FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 18, 2023
CONTACT: Emerge California
Emerge California Announces New Interim Executive Director Libby Schaaf, former Mayor of Oakland
Oakland, CA — Emerge California, the state’s premier organization that recruits and trains Democratic women to run for office, has kicked off the Class of 2023 training by welcoming new Interim Executive Director Libby Schaaf to lead the organization.
Schaaf, who served as Mayor of Oakland, California from 2015 to 2023, is a longtime Emerge California supporter and a Class of 2009 Alum. She epitomizes the Emerge California sisterhood in word and deed, not only as a successful elected and admirable public servant whose strong and compassionate leadership exemplifies why we need more Democratic women in positions of power, but also as a constant source of support for women leaders and this organization.
“I’m thrilled to be stepping in to support an organization I owe so much to personally and whose mission is so impactful and urgent,” shared Schaaf. “More than ever, we need diverse women at the decision-making tables, so all Californians can thrive.”
“Emerge California has experienced tremendous success in its 20-year history. We are thrilled to have a sister of Emerge and former Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf on board as we build for the future,” said Board Vice Chair Rhodesia Ransom. “Libby Schaaf is a dynamic and effective leader and one of Emerge California’s most devoted advocates. We are confident that she will continue to move Emerge California forward as an influential force in changing the face of power and politics in our state.”
Born and raised in Oakland, Schaaf holds a B.A. in political science from Rollins College and a J.D. from Loyola Law School. Prior to her career in elected office, she worked as an attorney, a legislative aide and Mayoral special assistant, and Public Affairs Director at the Port of Oakland. She was elected to the Oakland City Council in 2010, where she fought to raise the minimum wage, increase government transparency and efficiency, improve public safety, and reform the police department.
During her tenure as Mayor, Schaaf led bold initiatives to make Oakland a more equitable and resilient city. Her administration worked to offset the cost of living crisis, reduce crime, improve transit and infrastructure, and expand educational and career opportunities for the city’s most vulnerable residents. Together with community partners, Schaaf led Oakland to its lowest 5-year homicide rate on record, built nearly 20,000 new homes, prevented 1800 families a year from entering homelessness, and launched a guaranteed income pilot to support low-income families of color. Under her leadership, Oakland replaced a record number of roads and received its highest credit rating on record. Schaaf developed transformative new education resources for Oaklanders, including the Oakland Promise cradle-to-career initiative to provide all students in the district with scholarships, college access and completion support, and the Generation Fund to provide 30,000 college savings accounts for babies and scholarships.
Emerge California has a proven track record of getting Democratic women elected. Since the organization launched in 2002, the program has trained over 800 women to run for office. 203 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; Los Angeles City Councilmember Katy Young Yaroslavsky; and San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott.
For more information, please visit ca.emergeamerica.org.