Jennifer Eckstrom is a native South Tucsonan, who in May 1995, at the age of 18, was elected to the South Tucson City Council, and later served as Mayor. With her election, she enjoyed the special distinction as being the youngest elected official in Arizona. In this capacity, she was responsible for the establishment of public policy on such key local issues as community development, economic development, housing, public safety, and infrastructure improvements. She also served as the Chair and Vice Chair of the Pima Association of Governments (PAG) Regional Council, as well as for the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) Board.
Jennifer received an Associates of Arts degree from Pima Community College, and is still pursuing an undergraduate degree at the University of Arizona. She was re-elected to public office for five terms covering a period of 18 years, only to leave office in 2013, upon her marriage to her loving partner Tony R. Gallego, as they together began their new family.
She served for 17 years, as the Chief of Staff to the Chair of the Pima County Board of Supervisors, responsible for managing a diverse office staff, coordinating constituent services and for developing public policy legislation. She has effectively partnered with school districts, community-based and faith-based groups, neighborhood associations, as well as local businesses on various public policy priorities. She previously served as a Project Coordinator for COPE Community Services, as an Office Assistant with the University of Arizona and as a Congressional Intern for U. S. Congressman Ed Pastor.
Jennifer has dedicated herself to promote quality education and meaningful community equality within marginalized and underrepresented communities. In 2009, these attributes were best demonstrated in her leading of an organized community rally, which brought together more than 900 parents, teachers and community stakeholders to prevent the closure of Ochoa Elementary and Mission View Elementary Schools. In her public service, she has also networked with administrators, principals, counselors, and teachers from the Tucson, Sunnyside and Sahuarita Unified School Districts. For more than 15 years, she recruited, interviewed and hired up to 50 paid high school summer interns enabling them to obtain meaningful work experience within the various county departments.
Her distinguished community service has been recognized by both the Hispanic Women’s Corporation and the League of Mexican American Women. In 2005, she received the National LULAC Presidential Citation and Community Service Award. In 2005, she was awarded the inaugural 40 under 40 Tucson Business Edge Award honoring aspiring community leaders. In 2007, she earned the NAACP/LULAC Rosa Parks Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2010, she was presented the YWCA Women on the Move Award. In 2012, she was presented the Arizona Latino Advocacy and Profiles of Success Award given by Valle del Sol in Phoenix.