About Jen Metzger
Chair of Committee on Agriculture
Democrat, Working Families Democrat, Working Families
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.
Prior to her election, Senator Metzger served for over a decade in local government, and also directed an organization fighting for fairer utility rates and a clean energy economy that creates good local jobs. She brings to the State Senate a much needed local-level perspective on the challenges faced by our rural communities, a commitment to improving the lives and opportunities of the residents in her district, and a track record of working with people of diverse perspectives to get things done.
Senator Metzger has a first-hand understanding of the hardships faced by many families in her district: When she was in kindergarten, the rug was pulled out from underneath her family when her father was laid off, and her family went from living a comfortable, middle-class life, to being poor. She understands how life can change on a dime, and how important it is to have opportunities, like a strong public school system and job training programs, that are available to everyone.
With the benefit of a good public education and financial aid, Senator Metzger attended Oberlin College in Ohio. After graduating with High Honors in Government, 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.
Senator Metzger’s career includes 11 years in public service in the Town of Rosendale, where she served as Chair of the Rosendale Environmental Commission (2008-2013), as Deputy Town Supervisor (2010-2012), and as a Town Councilwoman (2013-2018). In that time, she undertook initiatives to save energy and taxpayer money, protect water resources, preserve open space, improve the town’s trail network, and revitalize the downtown business district. She played a lead role organizing dozens of local governments across the political spectrum in the fight to prevent the proposed Pilgrim Pipelines, which would have carried millions of gallons of fracked crude oil through communities from Albany down to Rockland county every day. The project was successfully kept at bay.
In addition to her work in local government, Senator Metzger co-founded and directed the nonprofit organization, Citizens for Local Power (CLP). Originally organized to fight the takeover of a local utility by a Canadian-based multinational company, CLP has worked to bring down utility costs, helped local governments save energy and money, and fought for energy reforms at the Public Service Commission to better support a fair and equitable clean energy transition. Under her leadership, CLP played an instrumental role in winning the first-ever reduction in Central Hudson’s basic service charge for more than 300,000 residents and small businesses. High fixed charges hurt seniors, lower-income families, and anyone who prioritizes energy efficiency.
Senator Metzger has long been a strong advocate for improving the economic well-being and quality of life of residents in the region, and ensuring that everyone has the chance to realize their full potential. Affordable, guaranteed healthcare for all, a clean energy economy that creates good local jobs, strong protection of women’s reproductive health, sustaining our small farms and preserving our agricultural heritage, a strong and equitable public education system, and a government that truly represents people, not corporate donors – these are the issues that are central to Senator Metzger’s legislative agenda.
Senator Metzger lives in Rosendale with her husband, John Schwartz, and they have three sons, Gideon, Jasper, and Silas.