Councilmember Jesica Mackey Selected as One of Nation’s Outstanding Rising Leaders

Joins group of the most innovative Democratic state and local officials working to solve America's biggest challenges

6 mins read
Richland County Councilmember Jesica Mackey

(Washington, D.C.) – Richland County Councilmember Jesica Mackey was selected as one of nine leaders from across the country to join the NewDEAL (Developing Exceptional American Leaders), a selective national network of state and local elected officials with Honorary Co-Chairs U.S. Senator Chris Coons, Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland, and Columbia, S.C. Mayor Steve Benjamin. 

Members of the nearly 200-person network, who have been chosen from more than 1750 nominations over NewDEAL’s 11-year history, are united by their work to enact pro-growth progressive solutions in a diverse array of communities. Past NewDEAL members include U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, Jason Kander, Stacey Abrams and U.S. Senator Alex Padilla. 

Mackey joins the group at a time when state and local leaders are on the frontlines of implementing the recovery from the myriad impacts of the pandemic, including by maximizing the impact of an infusion of federal resources. NewDEALers are supporting each other in addressing the many challenges created and exacerbated by COVID-19 by innovating, convening with experts, and sharing good ideas. To support these efforts, NewDEAL has launched a database to track how states, counties, and cities are spending state and local recovery dollars from the American Rescue Plan. The organization has also recently released a report that includes case studies on how to use these funds to solve inequitable access to housing, child care, broadband, small business capital, and workforce training. 

Mackey and her peers in the new class of leaders (listed below) were recognized for their unwavering commitment to expanding opportunity in their communities. These leaders’ work will build on policy recommendations that NewDEAL Leaders help develop, including on education, climate change, and broadband, as well as success stories from the NewDEAL’s American Rescue Plan report. To ensure voting rights and the sanctity of our elections are protected, leaders also participate in NewDEAL’s Democracy Project, which highlights innovative efforts by state and local leaders advocating for an inclusive democracy.

NewDEAL Leaders have found broad support for their work across red, blue, and purple states and cities, with more than 20 rising to higher office in the past few years. These leaders include members of Congress, such as Marilyn Strickland in Washington, Greg Stanton in Arizona, and Jennifer Wexton in Virginia, as well as new Mayors in cities from Dallas and Phoenix to Boise, Kansas City and Montgomery, AL. Nearly 40 leaders are on the ballot for Congress, Governor, and other higher offices in 2022.

“We are in a unique moment for state and local leaders as we must find solutions for the urgent challenges created by COVID-19 while not losing focus on longer-term issues that will continue to affect the economic security of Richland County for decades to come,” said Mackey. “I look forward to sharing lessons with and learning from other leaders who are setting the standard for effective governance, and I am excited to be part of NewDEAL’s efforts to expand opportunities for Americans in communities nationwide.”

Mackey was selected to join NewDEAL because of her dedication to improving the quality of life in her community, including her participation in the Diversity Leaders Initiative, a program that acknowledges diversity as a method to urge social and economic progress in South Carolina. One of Mackey’s key initiatives is to improve infrastructure by providing safe roads and reducing traffic congestion. Mackey has also prioritized opportunities for women, including through her service with the S.C. Chapter of Women in Transportation Seminar (WTS), an organization that is devoted to promoting leadership of women in the transportation industry. 

One of the organization’s signature events, the annual Ideas Summit, will take place May 23-24 in Philadelphia, PA, where about 50 NewDEAL Leaders will join other innovators from the public and private sectors to discuss a forward-looking agenda for state and local Democrats to address the biggest challenges facing our country, including the future of work and education, climate change, and threats to our democracy.

About NewDEAL

The NewDEAL brings together leaders focused on expanding opportunity, helping them develop and spread innovative ideas to spur economic growth that is broadly-earned and sustainable. Most importantly, the organization facilitates the exchange of ideas among its members and connects them with other pro-growth progressive political, policy, and private sector leaders.

Today’s announcement brings the total number of NewDEAL members – statewide officials, legislators, mayors, councilmembers, and other local leaders – to 195 leaders from 49 states.

Learn more about Mackey and the NewDEAL at

The new class of NewDEAL Leaders includes:

California: Supervisor James Gore (Sonoma County) 

Iowa: Mayor Quentin Hart (Waterloo)

Maryland: Senator Antonio Hayes (Baltimore City)

Michigan: Mayor Rosalynn Bliss (Grand Rapids)

Michigan: Senator Winnie Brinks (Grand Rapids)

New Jersey: Commissioner Shanti Narra (Middlesex County)

North Dakota: Representative Josh Boschee (Fargo)

Oklahoma: Senator Michael Brooks-Jimenez (Oklahoma City)

South Carolina: Councilmember Jesica Mackey (Richland County)

The MinorityEye is a news and information aggregator that curates the voices, thoughts and perspectives of minority writers, bloggers, authors, reporters, columnists, pundits, consultants and thought leaders as well as those who write about minorities and issues that impact people and communities of color.

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