Meet the Team: Sarah Jane Higginbotham
Sarah Jane Higginbotham joins the Unite America team and brings with her many years of experience winning campaigns to effect policy change and elect candidates to protect the public interest.
As Unite America’s Managing Director, she will be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Unite America Fund –– which mobilizes resources to accelerate and scale the growing movement to put voters first.
Get to know Sarah, what drives her, and what she plans on bringing to the table.
Hometown: Santa Barbara, CA
Home now: Washington, D.C.
School: University of Oregon, School of Journalism & Communications
What excites you most about joining Unite America?
It’s never been more evident to Americans that we need to address the dysfunction in our democracy, and with that urgency we have an opportunity to make real progress toward creating a more representative and functional government. Unite America has embraced the challenge of building the foundation and engine for a “voters first” movement that can secure the democracy reform policies and elect the candidates our country needs. That alone is exciting, but movements take not only big vision, smart policies and clever politics at the right time--they ultimately require collaborative, thoughtful, and tireless people who care a whole lot. And the Unite America team is a set of dedicated advocates full of vision, heart and grit--and I not only really like that, but I think it’s necessary to do this critical work. I am so excited to work alongside these folks.
What are you most excited about in 2021 and beyond in the voters first space?
With the unprecedented 2020 election still very much on everyone’s minds, 2021 will be an especially important time to highlight the importance of democracy reforms and to advance them--and Unite America and our partners are ready to double down. That means building on successes this year, like giving voters the chance to secure wins on the ballot in Alaska and Virginia. It means educating the public and decision makers in even more compelling ways about the tangible impact reforms can have on our lives and shared futures. There’s a lot of hope in the work ahead of us, and I think 2021 will be about leaning into the optimism that’s at the heart of our work, that so many Americans are looking for right now, and that we will need to keep making progress.
Which of your experiences do you think will help you most as you come onto the Unite America team?
In my time as a public interest advocate, lobbyist, and campaigner in government affairs, I’ve worked in all kinds of states and legislatures. And I’ve had success working with lawmakers and stakeholders across the political spectrum to get things done. Whether it was gun safety, domestic violence, renewable energy, or voting rights, my willingness to listen, stick to the facts, and come to the table with a solution-oriented attitude has been invaluable, and I think will be useful in the work ahead of us at Unite America. We certainly will not always agree with everyone all the time, but if we keep putting the voters first as we look for common ground, it will add up to game changing progress.
Your previous experience means you’ve spent a lot of time in state capitols across the country. Any favorites?
Providence, Rhode Island (the statehouse); Des Moines, Iowa (the people); Santa Fe, New Mexico (those landscapes); and Austin, Texas (the bbq).
What’s the first thing you’ll do once this pandemic is under control and it’s safe?
Fly to see family and friends immediately; hug a lot of people--especially my grocer if she’ll let me; and book a trip somewhere lovely.
Happy hour go-to?