WHY I'M RUNNING
Ann Arbor is a beautiful city that I'm proud to call home. But we are facing serious challenges right now. Our city's financial health is in jeopardy. There are critical threats to our water supply. Seniors and young people are being priced out of the housing market. We need forward-thinking council members who will work together, solve problems and advocate for our community's shared values.
As a former Washtenaw County Commissioner, longtime news editor, and mother of two, I’ve worked for decades in Ann Arbor helping organizations solve tough issues. Currently, as a partner in a public affairs firm, I work to effect progressive policy changes at the state level. As your city council member, I will take action on road improvements, water quality, responsible growth, affordable housing and more. I'm ready to help lead Ann Arbor forward.
Photo by Amanda Allen/The Michigan Daily
WHO IS JEN?
Lifelong Michigander, longtime Ann Arbor resident
Jen Eyer was born and raised in mid-Michigan, the daughter of an IBEW electrician and a nurse. Growing up in a family that discussed politics around the dinner table, Jen learned from an early age how political decisions affected her parents’ livelihood, job safety and the community. Her mother and father, both now retired, never missed an opportunity to teach Jen and her brother the value that the union brought their family and the middle class in general – lessons that shaped her political views going forward.
Jen has lived in the 4th Ward for 20 years -- nearly all of her adult life. She currently resides in the Lansdowne neighborhood with her husband, Mitch Irwin, and her two children, Belle and Wes. Over the years, Jen has turned down opportunities to move to larger cities because none compare to what she values here in Ann Arbor for her family: Strong neighborhood schools, walkable neighborhoods, public transportation, and safe public spaces for children to explore. Above all, Jen loves Ann Arbor for being a compassionate community that works to address economic inequality and supports programs to ensure the needs of the most vulnerable are met.
Following her college education from the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, Jen worked as a newspaper reporter covering local government. In the late 1990s, she became a pioneer in the digital revolution. Jen joined MLive and The Ann Arbor News, and from 2000 to 2016, she held a variety of leadership positions, overseeing the company’s statewide editorial board, and social media and community engagement teams. She also managed the award-winning newsroom for The Ann Arbor News, and was honored to be named best editorial writer in the top division in the state for 2014 and 2015 by the Michigan Associated Press Media Editors.
Jen joined Vanguard Public Affairs in 2016, a progressive firm providing strategic counsel to some of the state's top organizations in education, labor and civil rights. In 2019 she was named a partner in the small business, which has offices and clients in Ann Arbor, Lansing, and several other communities across the state. At Vanguard, Jen works tirelessly on behalf of organizations and political candidates who are working to move Michigan forward.
For the past two decades Jen has served the Ann Arbor community in many ways, including as Dicken Elementary School PTO president, Glacier Way Co-Op Preschool president, Girl Scouts troop leader, and various committees with United Way, the A2Y Chamber of Commerce, the Ann Arbor Art Center, and Ann Arbor Public Schools.
In September 2016, Jen was unanimously chosen from a field of seven candidates to fill an interim seat on the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners, representing District 9 on Ann Arbor's west side. She served with distinction and, among other things, was recognized as being instrumental in helping the board reach consensus in hiring a new county administrator. During her tenure, Jen also was recognized by her peers on the Board, county administration and county staff for my ability to listen, carefully weigh all sides of an issue, and make even-handed, independent decisions.
Mother of two
From room parent to scout leader to carpool organizer and more, Jen has been active in the public school and parenting communities since her oldest child was born, in 2003. For a decade, she wrote a column for MLive and The Ann Arbor News that served as a helpful resource for Ann Arbor parents. Her children, Belle, 16, and Wes, 13, attend Ann Arbor Public Schools.
Jen will bring to City Council a fresh perspective and a positive vision for leading Ann Arbor forward, accompanied with 20 years of public policy, communication and community outreach experience.