A nurse, mom, and community activist, Jennifer knows well the struggles that working families in her district and throughout Alameda County face.
Raised in New Orleans by a teacher and a nurse who worked two jobs to make ends meet, Jennifer learned the value of hard work at an early age. As a young mother, she moved to the East Bay seeking a better future for her family.
Unfortunately, like so many of us, the Great Recession of 2008 was devastating to Jennifer, and she found herself an unemployed single mother of two facing foreclosure. She filed for bankruptcy, put herself through nursing school, and became a psychiatric nurse in the San Francisco General Hospital Psychiatric Emergency Room.
It was in Psych Emergency Services that Jennifer witnessed the vicious cycle that patients experience from diminished funding for mental health care — people who need mental health treatment are picked up by police and brought into crisis services rather than given the freedom to access community-based outpatient care. Too often, their mental health crisis was made worse by a need for housing supports, which weren’t available.
Five years later, Jennifer successfully fought alongside residents in General Hospital’s Behavioral Health Center to save 41 permanent mental health beds in their Adult Residential Facility. Now, as Vice President of the Alameda Health System Board of Trustees, Jennifer manages a $1 billion budget for the county’s healthcare system and has been instrumental in securing 20 respite beds for patients in psychiatric crisis. Jennifer also serves on the Eden Area Municipal Advisory Council (MAC), giving her keen insight into the housing needs of the 150,000 residents who live in urban unincorporated Alameda County.
At this point Jennifer realized that she wanted to broaden her reach and bring her value of caring for her community to government. In 2022, she ran for the California State Assembly, knocking on 20,000 doors throughout Alameda County to talk with people about the issues they cared about. Armed with this deep understanding of the needs of her community and years of experience as a nurse and leader, she is now running for the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to represent District 4, where she will be a champion for working families, advocating for policies that keep our communities safe and healthy.
Jennifer has lived in the East Bay for 20 years and has lived in Ashland with her wife and children since 2015.