(Columbia, SC) — Emerge South Carolina, the state’s premier organization that recruits and trains Democratic women to run for office, announced that Jessica Bright will be its next executive director. In this role, Bright will oversee the organization’s strategy, outreach, and training programs for 2021 and beyond. Before joining Emerge, Bright most recently worked for the South Carolina Democratic Party where she led the development of the Voter Protection Unit to expand and protect voting rights. Bright will take over as executive director following the departure of Melissa Watson Ward, who now serves as the Deputy Affiliate Director for Emerge.
“I am so excited to be joining Emerge at a time when the leadership of Democratic women is needed now more than ever,” said Bright. “South Carolina ranks 46th in the nation for women’s representation in the state legislature and that is unacceptable. Our communities need elected leaders who will fight for good policies that are forward-thinking and make their lives better, and I strongly believe that the way we achieve that is by empowering women. I am ready to get to work to give women across South Carolina the tools they need to run and win at every level.”
“I am thrilled to have Jessica on board the Emerge team and I look forward to seeing all that she will do to not only encourage more women to run but also to transform South Carolina politics,” said Melissa Watson Ward, Deputy Affiliate Director of Emerge. “The work to bring Democratic women to the table could not be more important in the South, where demographics are rapidly changing and communities are seeking stronger representation from their elected leaders. Across the region, GOP officials have introduced dangerous policies pertaining to public health, the economy, the environment, voting rights, education and so much more. Our communities deserve the compassion, strength, and courage of Democratic women who will fight back against these policies, and I know Jessica will build a strong pipeline of women who will do just that.”
Bright comes to Emerge with nearly a decade of experience in campaign politics. She previously served as State Director for Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential race in the states of South Carolina and Ohio. She also serves as the South Carolina Democratic Women’s Council Congressional District 1 Director and is a 2019 alumna of Emerge South Carolina.
Nationally, Emerge has trained more than 4,500 Democratic women to run for office, has more than 1,000 alums currently in elected office, and has committed to reaching 100,000 women of the New American Majority–Black, Brown and Indigenous women and women of color, as well as LGBTQ+, young and unmarried women–over the next 15 years. There are currently 27 state affiliates, and the organization has impacted a total of 45 states, Washington, D.C., and territories.
For information on Emerge South Carolina please visit their website at https://sc.emergeamerica.org/.