Ward E City Councilperson
The moments outside of her professional career and public service are what define Rebecca Symes. The fifth child in a family whose mother was forced to delay her own dreams of higher education for family obligations instilled in Rebecca a yearning for knowledge and an understanding of personal sacrifice.
Watching her mother successfully run for school board and later the city council in her hometown of Plymouth, Massachusetts, Rebecca saw that positive things happen when regular people – motivated by the idea that government should improve people’s lives – actively participate in our democracy.
Rebecca’s stepfather also contributed to her commitment to public and government service. His career-long work in the public sector as a city planner inspired her to think about the ways government shapes communities. His commitment to his community was reflected in his kind, engaged manner when stopped by a concerned resident at the supermarket on a Saturday afternoon. He was always willing to talk through an issue, right there on the spot. Rebecca will bring that same generosity of spirit and concern for her constituents to her work as a full-time city councilwoman.
While in college, studying English and Politics, Rebecca made her way to Washington DC, to intern for United States Senator Ted Kennedy. After college, she enrolled in law school fully intending to get a policy job on Capitol Hill after graduation. During law school, Rebecca represented domestic violence survivors as a student attorney, a defining experience for her.
Rebecca shifted her focus from policy to direct advocacy, working with vulnerable communities that are often shut out of high-minded policy discussions and denied equal access to the justice system. After law school graduation, Rebecca got a job at a nonprofit providing free legal representation to low-income Hell’s Kitchen residents and fighting to save affordable housing.
After five years in the nonprofit legal world, Rebecca joined the office of United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand as the Director of Constituent Affairs, thereby combining her love of direct advocacy with her interest in government and policy. While working in the senate she managed a statewide constituent services team tasked with helping municipalities, small businesses, families, and nonprofits access federal benefits and services.
Prior to leaving her position to be a full-time councilwoman, Rebecca worked as General Counsel for a private real estate company. As the first lawyer on staff, she built and led the legal department and gained valuable insight on how private sector companies can work hand-in-hand with local governments and communities.
City Council Candidate
Jersey City, Ward E
Liberty Science Center
Jersey City Free Public Library
Board of Trustees
The Waterfront Project
Legal Services Nonprofit Board Member
US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Counsel & Director of Constituent Affairs
Catholic University of America
JurisDoctor and Certificate, Law & Policy
Harsimus Cove Association
President of Neighborhood Association
Harsimus Cove Association
Secretary of Neighborhood Association
New Leaders Council – New Jersey Chapter
Dixon Advisory USA
Housing Conservation Coordinators
Bachelor of Arts, Politics and English