Meet Jean

As a teenager growing up in the suburbs of Colorado, I took the bus to my first job. I have vivid memories of standing on the street waiting for the bus, running for the bus, and missing the bus that came just a hair early. It never occurred to me that a bus could run more than once an hour. That bus almost cost me my job several times.

Jean WalshJean lives in North Oakland and enjoys getting around on foot, bike, scooter, and public transit. She serves as the President of the Longfellow Community Association and holds a master's degree in Urban Planning from MIT.

Jean paid her way through college at the University of Colorado in Boulder with the profits from a small T-shirt business she started as a senior in high school. After graduation, she backpacked around Europe by train and fell in love with great public transit. 

The trams, buses, trains, ferries, running frequently and fast, were such a pleasure to ride. I would love to work towards excellent public transportation in American cities.

Jean has made public service a central part of her life. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nicaragua, empowering micro-entrepreneurs to start businesses and raising funds to rebuild homes for those displaced by an earthquake. In graduate school she co-founded Students for Labor Justice and later built broad coalitions with Fair Trade USA to promote sustainable products, policies and practices. Jean's Spanish fluency helps her engage with diverse groups of people. 

For ten years Jean led communications and public outreach for the City of San Francisco’s Department of the Environment and San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, promoting environmental initiatives and critical infrastructure programs. She takes pride in the award-winning Adopt a Drain program she created, which engages thousands of residents to get active in their communities.

Recently, Jean directed community outreach for Ford GoBike/BayWheels and Lime, expanding bike and scooter sharing in the Bay Area and providing 500+ low income residents vital access to sustainable transportation options through a discounted pricing program. Building partnerships, listening to community concerns, and finding creative solutions is what made Jean successful.

Jean has been on all sides of the table: advocacy, public sector, private sector. She knows how to get work done in large bureaucracies as well as tech startups and scrappy non-profits. Today, Jean is active with the Transbay Coalition, a grassroots advocacy group working to improve Bay Area public transportation. She is a graduate of the Emerge program for Democratic women who wish to run for office. 

In my first term as your AC Transit Director, I have:

 

  • Led the effort to restore vital transit service on the Ashby corridor in Berkeley. This pilot line is now experiencing high ridership and is slated to be continued in the bus network redesign to launch in 2025. 
  • Successfully pushed to end detours and restore nighttime weekend service on Broadway in Oakland and to strengthen the District's policies so the public and Board are better informed when detours happen.
  • Provided retroactive appreciation pay to all bus operators and workers who served the community during the pandemic.
  • Currently working to secure funding and get bus stop improvements installed.
  • Fought to improve safety on the International Blvd BRT corridor that has seen far too many preventable traffic fatalities. This $2M project is set to launch in summer 2024. 
  • Fended off fare hikes and achieved an increase to the Clipper START low-income discount program from 20% to 50% off. 
  • Pushed successfully for greater transparency and accountability for AC Transit’s contracts with our county Sheriff Departments 
  • Met with Congressmembers in Washington DC to make the case for increased funding for AC Transit's leading Zero Emission bus programs. 

 

Bay Area residents deserve transit that is fast, frequent, affordable, pleasant, and easy to use. Let's continue our work together as I run for re-election for AC Transit Director for Ward 2. I hope to earn your support! 


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