Rep. Jennifer O'Mara's Biography

Jennifer O'Mara was elected to represent the 165th Legislative District on November 6, 2018.

Jennifer believes there is more that unites us than divides us, and is committed to being part of a government that serves the people. As state Representative, Jennifer is committed to improving public education for children, protecting communities from the dangers of gun violence, ensuring access to affordable health care, and expanding job opportunities at all skill levels. Her dedication to public service is deeply rooted in her own experience, and her ability to deliver practical solutions has been shaped by her challenging personal journey. 

Jennifer is the daughter of a union firefighter. When she was 13 years old, her father died by gun suicide. Jennifer and her family moved to Delaware County, where her mother found a job as a school bus driver. Thanks to essential public services, her father’s union pension, and her mother’s union job, Jennifer’s family made it through. Today, she uses this experience to shape her work in the state legislature. This includes introducing Extreme Risk Protection Order legislation to prevent suicides by temporarily disarming those in crisis and working on mental health initiatives. She co-chairs the Mental Health Caucus and was appointed to serve the Governor’s Challenge Team to Prevent Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans and Their Families. 

After graduating from Interboro High School, Jennifer faced familiar challenges. As the daughter of a single mother with two younger brothers at home, affording college seemed impossible. By working three jobs, Jennifer was able to support herself through college and earn a dual degree from West Chester University with the help of financial aid and student loans. Studying history and secondary education, she became a certified teacher. Jennifer also holds a Master's Degree in Liberal Arts from the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied English and history. During her undergrad and graduate school years, Jenn faced food insecurity. This experience inspired her to work with Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta from Philadelphia on the Hunger-Free Campus Initiative, which was included in the 2022-23 and 2023-24 state budgets. The legislators’ program received $1 million each year that goes toward supporting on-campus food pantries and meal donation programs to ensure no student goes hungry while pursuing post-secondary education. 

Prior to joining the state legislature, Jennifer was employed for almost seven years at the University of Pennsylvania. She served as the Assistant Director of University Stewardship, working alongside her colleagues to ensure that attending the University is affordable for students. Jennifer is also a member of the Board of Directors for Pennsylvania Association of Student Councils (PASC). She has also served as an advocate with the Department of Veterans Affairs for her now-husband, a combat veteran and two-time Purple Heart recipient. Therefore, Jennifer’s connection to Pennsylvania veterans is deeply meaningful and personal. Legislation she originally introduced and championed to increase contributions to the Veterans Trust Fund when drivers renew their license became Act 55 of 2021.  

Jennifer is a hardworking public servant who works to put the needs of her community ahead of her own. Jennifer resides in Springfield with her family.