Jen Eyer (D)
Jen Eyer was appointed on September 8, 2016 to fill the vacant seat on the Board of Commissioners representing District 9 on Ann Arbor's west side.
Commissioner Eyer has deep ties in the district, where she lives with her husband, Kevin, children Belle and Wes, and dog Disco. She moved to Ann Arbor in 1999, shortly after graduating from Michigan State University, and from 2000-16 she worked as a journalist and editor at MLive and The Ann Arbor News. In May, she took on a new role as vice president of Vanguard Public Affairs, a progressive firm where she provides strategic counsel to a congressional campaign as well as some of the state's largest organizations in education, health care and civil rights. Commissioner Eyer divides her work days between Ann Arbor and Lansing, where she often meets with legislative and other statewide leaders.
Though she couldn't run for political office while working as a journalist, Commissioner Eyer has been serving the community in non-partisan, volunteer ways- most notably as president and various other board position on the Dicken Elementary School PTO since 2008. At Dicken, which has been Title I school during that time, the PTO has developed a strong focus on equity, supporting programs that help every child come to school ready to learn and achieve their full potential.
Through her experiences at Dicken, Commissioner Eyer has seen first-hand the realities and outcomes of opportunity gaps that exist in pockets in our community. And so she understands and empathizes with what that means for the large swaths of economic hardship that exist throughout our county. More importantly, she is motivated to look for ways to reduce those gaps in pursuit of the ideal that everyone in our county deserves an equal opportunity to thrive.
When it comes to governance, Commissioner Eyer is an outspoken advocate of the belief that governing requires consensus, and she has put that belief into practice in her various community leadership positions. She believes those who hold public office are obligated to listen to all parties - particularly those with whom they disagree - and solve difficult problems with compromises that reflect the needs of the entire community.
Listening, seeking information, and being fair, sensitive and open minded are skills Commissioner Eyer honed over decades as a journalist. She believes the county has many pressing issues to address, from hiring a new administrator, to building its tax base in the face of declining state revenues, to its initiative addressing inequity among our communities. Commissioner Eyer hopes to add another rational voice to the board, with the goal of listening, discussion and solving problems for the people of District 9 and all of Washtenaw County.