Jen was elected to serve the people of the 135th district in 2020. In her first term, Jen passed nine bills through the Assembly, more than any other freshman legislator that year. Among her legislative victories, Jen helped bring full funding to New York's schools for the first time since 2008; She helped bring essential funding to the shoreline of Lake Ontario to help remediate flooding; and she ensured that our tax dollars wouldn't be spent on projects run by cheating contractors.
Before taking office, Jen spent a decade fighting for sick and injured workers as an attorney handling personal injury, workers' compensation and social security disability matters. Through that work Jen represented people from all walks of life and helped them recover from injuries, retrain for new careers, and adjust to their new normal. Little did she know how well this work would train her for her first term in the state legislature.
Jen was born on Long Island to two hardworking parents. Her father, a Vietnam War veteran and former NYPD officer, stayed home with her while her mother went to work at a manufacturing company. Jen graduated from Patchogue-Medford High School and went on to major in Political Science and Philosophy at Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York, where she graduated with honors. After college she moved to Los Angeles where she worked as a paralegal at the international law firm Sullivan & Cromwell. Jen returned to the east coast to attend law school at Boston University where she concentrated in healthcare law. While in law school Jen won the Dean’s Award for Constitutional Law and was appointed as an editor to the American Journal of Law and Medicine.
Following law school Jen settled in Rochester to start her family and legal career. Soon after she was admitted to practice, Jen began volunteering in the community with a variety of organizations including the Rochester Teen Court, the Center for Youth's Crisis Nursery, the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, Volunteer Legal Services Project, Empire Justice Center and the American Lung Association. Jen also served as the state co-chair of Lawyers for Good Government and as a board member for the Anthony Poselovich Foundation, helping local families with children suffering from cancer.
Jen has dedicated her life to advocating for those who cannot advocate for themselves. That skill and experience has proved indispensable in the legislature where Jen is able to continue that advocacy on a much grander scale.
"Over the course of my career I've worked directly with people from all walks of life: Old and young, men and women, gay and straight. I've worked with immigrants and refugees; construction workers, nurses, waitresses, doctors, truck drivers and teachers; people from every race, every major religion. I've read their medical records and tax returns. I've talked to them-- really talked to them-- about their lives, their families, their dreams and their hardships. Doing a job like mine really blurs the lines between liberal and conservative. It is so easy to just stick a label on someone and write them off, but when you take the time to get to know people one to one you see that we are far more alike than we are different." -Jen Lunsford