Woman Crush Wednesday Jessica Vega Pederson

Amy Phillips

This week’s #WomanCrushWedneday goes out to Jessica Vega Pederson, the first Latina to serve in the Oregon legislature and a powerful voice for those whose voices haven’t always been heard.

Commissioner Pederson grew up in Indiana with her large, loving Mexican-American family. Her mother was a local civil rights activist. Mom’s influence – along with a racially charged incident Jessica witnessed during high school – were the catalysts to the advocacy work she’s so passionate about today. After what happened in high school, Jessica and her sister started a student group to promote awareness of the experiences of students of color. From there, she attended a summer program in Washington, DC, then continued her involvement in student government at Loyola University of Chicago. After graduating with a degree in information systems management and philosophy, she entered the tech industry, helping startups, small businesses and Fortune 500 companies grow their businesses using communication technologies. Jessica Vega Pederson has always been something of a bridge – back then, a bridge between customers and tech programmers; today, a bridge between her constituents and government. She left the private sector to run for office, after becoming frustrated by the challenges in her east Portland neighborhood. Jessica got tired of talking about how to make things better and identified a way to make a real impact, as an elected official. She fights for equity and is proud of the work she’s done to improve the lives of women and working families in Oregon – paid sick leave, pay equity, raising the minimum wage, preschool for all in Multnomah County. She’s also passionate about the environment and won an award from the Sierra Club for her work on a bill to remove coal from Oregon’s energy mix.

Commissioner Pederson lives in the Hazelwood neighborhood with her husband and two children. When she’s not working for the folks in District 3, she loves exploring beautiful Oregon – no wonder she’s committed to cleaning up the environment! Jessica envisions a world where everyone reaches their potential – an education system supporting all students and a health care system that equally supports mental and physical health. 

She’s on the board of NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon (whom we are honored to support later this month!) and the Center for Women’s Leadership – whom we’re supporting TODAY, at Power Lunch 2019. We can’t wait to witness this fabulous woman receive the Transforming Policy award. Go JVP!

#WCW #MakeADifference #Equity #Environment #DoGoodBeGood

Adrienne Livingston