Kimberly Ellis has revolutionized Democratic politics in California through her work as the first African American Executive Director in Emerge America’s national network.
Kimberly has dedicated her career to supporting, training, and inspiring Democratic women to step into political power all across California.
In seven years and under her leadership, Emerge California greatly expanded its reach, effectiveness, and visibility. More than half of Emerge California’s 400 alumnae currently serve in elected or appointed office.
Kimberly’s commitment to diversifying the state’s political landscape to become truly and authentically reflective of its electorate can be seen in the Emerge alumnae: 56% are women of color.
Prior to joining Emerge California, Ellis worked at Emerge America’s national headquarters as the National Affiliate Director. In this capacity, she was responsible for launching new state programs and working with existing affiliates to increase and strengthen program quality, sustainability and growth.
Ellis has worked in private industry, state government and the non-profit sector, developing leaders and successful organizations across platforms.
In 2011 and 2015, Kimberly was recognized as a Women’s History Month Honoree by the San Francisco Commission and Department on the Status of Women, in partnership with the Mayor and Board of Supervisors. Kimberly was also honored on International Women’s Day in 2012 by the Global Arts and Education non-profit who gave awards to “leaders and organizations that have dedicated themselves to creating equal rights, equal opportunities and progress for women.”
Kimberly was named one of CalNewsroom.com’s 100 Most Overlooked People in California Politics in 2014 for her work electing Democratic women in California. CalNewsroom.com’s John Hirabe lauded Ellis as “where the rubber meets the road in electing Democratic women” in California.
In 2012, Kimberly was awarded the Annie M. Powell Community Leadership Award by the Global Arts and Education and Women’s Intercultural Network in celebration of International Women’s Day for her work with Emerge California.
Ellis is a Political Partner for the Truman National Security Project, an organization that identifies, organizes, and positions next-generation American leaders to communicate, advocate, and lead on our nation’s most pressing global challenges. In 2009, she was appointed by the Mayor to serve as a Commissioner for the Community Development Commission in the City of Richmond.
Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee to a career military officer, Ellis traveled across the country throughout her childhood, attending nine schools in six different states and two countries. She attended and graduated from Antilles High School on Fort Buchanan in San Juan, Puerto Rico and holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Jacksonville University as well as a juris doctorate from John F. Kennedy School of Law.
Currently, she serves on the Finance Committee and as the Recording Secretary for the African American Caucus of the California Democratic Party.
Kimberly has lived in the Golden State for more than 20 years, is married with two children and resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.
What does the California Democratic Party Chair do?
According to the California Democratic Party By-laws, “the State [Party] Chair shall be the chief executive officer and the official voice of [the Democratic State Central] Committee, shall carry out the policies and purposes, and shall pursue its interests to the best of his/her abilities”.
The Chair of the California Democratic Party is the official spokesperson for our Party, helps to guide the priorities and direction of our Party and raises the resources needed to advance our collective agenda to elect Democratic candidates all across California. Whether your passion is clean energy, reproductive justice, criminal justice reform, higher education, LGBT rights, or universal preschool, there is a direct connection between our elected Democratic officials and the policy and legislation they are shaping that impact every aspect of our daily lives. It matters who we have at the table. It matters who we have leading our Party. Kimberly is the leader we need to lead the California Democratic Party at this moment in time.
Who votes for the California Democratic Party Chair?
The California Democratic Party Chair is elected every four years at the first meeting of the California Democratic Party held immediately following the conclusion of a presidential election year. All statewide officers including the Chair shall be elected by the entire membership of the party, the Democratic State Central Committee Delegates. The Democratic State Central Committee (DSCC) Delegates are the representative for their committee and specific district and are either elected through county committees, appointed by Democratic elected officials or the high vote-getting Democrat if no Democrat was elected to, based off the most recent election or elected through their Assembly District (ADDs). Additional DSCC Delegate Positions come from, the DNC State party delegates (CA DNC Members, Current/Past Officers, Statewide Officers and Regional Directors, California Democratic Council, California Young Democrats, and the Chair of Statewide Chartered Organizations. More information can be found at cadem.org/our-party