About Former Senator Jen Metzger
Jen Metzger was elected to the New York State Senate in 2018 to represent the 42nd District, a largely rural district in the Hudson Valley and Catskills that includes all of Sullivan County, and parts of Orange, Ulster, and Delaware Counties. Committed to improving the lives and opportunities of those she represented, Senator Metzger’s legislative accomplishments and community-level initiatives spanned a wide range of issues, including environmental protection, agriculture, education, health, and broadband access. She championed reforms to expand voter participation and reduce the influence of money in politics, and in her own campaigns refused corporate and lobbyist contributions.
Senator Metzger earned a B.A. with High Honors in Government from Oberlin College in Ohio. She worked as the Public Affairs Coordinator for the United Nations Association in New York for a number of years before returning to school and earning a Ph.D. in Political Science at Rutgers University.
Prior to her election to the State Senate, Senator Metzger served for over a decade in local government in the Town of Rosendale, and co-founded and directed Citizens for Local Power, an organization dedicated to fighting unfair utility rates and practices and helping communities shift to a locally-based clean energy economy.
In the State Senate, Senator Metzger was a leading voice for action to tackle climate change, move away from reliance on fossil fuels, and increase job-creating clean energy investments. She was an active member of the Senate's workgroup on the nation-leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), which was signed into law in July 2019, and she led efforts in the State Legislature to create a permanent ban on fracking, passed as part of the budget in 2020. Senator Metzger also introduced a package of legislation to expand clean transportation across the state.
As a tireless advocate in the fight to close the broadband gap in rural and low-income communities, Senator Metzger introduced the Comprehensive Broadband Connectivity Act, which recognizes access to high-speed internet as a right of all New Yorkers and creates a pathway for addressing deficiencies. She routinely stood up to telecommunications companies on behalf of her constituents and partnered with Sullivan County on a municipal broadband project to expand access in underserved areas.
Serving as Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Senator Metzger focused on programs and legislation to support family farms, expand New York markets for locally-produced farm products, reduce barriers to new and young farmers, and strengthen agriculture's role as part of the solution to fighting climate change. She introduced nearly 20 bills as Agriculture Chair, nine of which were signed into law, including nation-leading legislation creating a framework for the production, processing, and sale of hemp and CBD products.
Senator Metzger has been a strong advocate for public education and a critic of New York's over-reliance on local property taxes to fund schools, which creates unequal access to educational resources by communities with a limited tax base, and makes it difficult for working families to afford to stay in their homes. She supported major tax reform and introduced legislation to tax corporate stock buy-backs, an unproductive investment by companies to inflate the value of their stock. The legislation was estimated to raise $3.2 billion annually that could be used to help fund public education.
Being accessible and available to her constituents was of the utmost importance to Senator Metzger, and her office held mobile office hours at over 40 locations throughout the district and organized numerous roundtables, community chats, and town halls to hear about local concerns and priorities. Senator Metzger sought to create resilient communities where everyone has the opportunity to thrive, and worked with local government and community partners to move important projects and programs forward. These included initiatives to protect survivors of domestic abuse, provide mental health support and housing to veterans, equip volunteer first responders, expand rail trails and parks, reduce climate-damaging pollution, improve water quality, and prevent flooding of farms.
With the onset of the COVID-19 public health crisis in 2020, Senator Metzger and her staff worked to provide direct assistance and support to residents, businesses, and frontline workers in the communities she represented. Her office assisted thousands of constituents with obtaining unemployment benefits; secured needed PPE for local hospitals; distributed hand sanitizer to food pantries, libraries, and essential workers; and advocated for federal relief for small businesses and farms. At the state level, Senator Metzger co-sponsored and helped pass legislation to provide relief and protect families from utility shutoffs, price-gouging, and homelessness, among other pressing concerns.
During her term, 33 of Senator Metzger's bills were signed into law, all passing with wide bipartisan support.
Standing Committee Assignments: Agriculture Committee (Chair); Environmental Conservation; Education; Health Energy and Telecommunications Local Government; Women’s Issues; Domestic Animal Welfare; and the Joint Legislative Commission on Rural Resources Committees.
Member of the New York State Bipartisan Pro-Choice Legislative Caucus.
Senator Metzger lives in Rosendale with her husband, John Schwartz, and their three sons, Gideon, Jasper, and Silas.
Last edited by Senator Jen Metzger's staff prior to last day in office.