• Press Release

PA State Rep. Jennifer O’Mara Nominated by EMILYs List for 2021 Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star

April 19, 2021

For Immediate Release
April 19, 2021

Pennsylvania State Representative Jennifer O’Mara Nominated by EMILYs List for 2021 Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, EMILYs List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, announced that Pennsylvania State Representative Jennifer O’Mara is a nominee for the eighth annual Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award.

“EMILYs List is thrilled to nominate Jennifer O’Mara for the 2021 Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award,” said Emily Cain, executive director of EMILYs List. “Jennifer is a resilient leader who took a family tragedy and turned it into motivation to fight for the people of Pennsylvania. Whether pushing forward gun violence prevention measures or policies that support and empower working families, Jennifer leads with compassion and a deep understanding of what families need to prosper.” 

“As a first-generation college student and educator, Jennifer has made strengthening public schools, supporting teachers, and removing barriers to higher education her top priorities in the Pennsylvania House. In her current position, Jennifer was selected by her peers to serve as chairwoman of the Southeast House Democratic Delegation and has founded caucuses dedicated to addressing student debt and supporting firefighters and emergency services. Jennifer has proven to be a hardworking advocate, skillful at delivering practical solutions for her constituents and we are honored to nominate her for this award.” 

Jennifer O’Mara was elected to represent Pennsylvania’s 165th House District in 2018. At 13 years old, Jennifer’s life was changed when her father, a union firefighter, died by gun suicide. Following her father’s death, her family moved to Pennsylvania for her mother’s job as a bus driver where they relied on public services, affordable health care, and labor union support. As a first-generation college student, Jennifer worked three jobs and benefited from financial aid and student loans. She graduated from West Chester University with a dual degree in history and secondary education. Jennifer is also passionate about supporting veterans and has served as an advocate at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Jennifer lives in Springfield with her husband Bradford, a combat veteran and two-time Purple Heart recipient, and their rescue dog Ladybug. 

Named in honor of the dedicated and courageous Gabrielle Giffords, the Rising Star Award celebrates an extraordinary woman serving in state or local office. The award honors a woman who demonstrates the sort of commitment to community, dedication to women and families, and determination and civility that have been the highlights of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ career, in and out of office. Previous Rising Star Award recipients include former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams in 2014, former Boston City Councilwoman Ayanna Pressley in 2015, former Colorado House Speaker Crisanta Duran in 2016, Philadelphia City Councilwoman Helen Gym in 2017, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx in 2018, California Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo in 2019, and Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes in 2020. 

The Gabrielle Giffords Rising Star Award winner will be chosen with community input.

Jennifer O’Mara is nominated alongside:

  • Catalina Cruz,  New York State Assemblywoman 
  • Debra Lekanoff, Washington State Representative 
  • Lina Hidalgo, Harris County, Texas Judge 
  • Park Cannon, Georgia State Representative 
  • Tram Nguyen, Massachusetts State Representative  

EMILYs List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, has raised over $700 million to elect Democratic pro-choice women candidates. With a grassroots community of over five million members, EMILY's List helps Democratic women win competitive campaigns – across the country and up and down the ballot – by recruiting and training candidates, supporting and helping build strong campaigns, researching the issues that impact women and families, running nearly $50 million in independent expenditures in the last cycle alone, and turning out women voters and voters of color to the polls. Since our founding in 1985, we have helped elect the country's first woman as vice president, 157 women to the House, 26 to the Senate, 16 governors, and more than 1,300 women to state and local office. More than 40 percent of the candidates EMILYs List has helped elect to Congress have been women of color. After the 2016 election, more than 60,000 women reached out to EMILY's List about running for office laying the groundwork for the next decade of candidates for local, state, and national offices. In our effort to elect more women in offices across the country, we have created our Run to Win program, expanded our training program, including a Training Center online, and trained thousands of women.