Catching up with Menlo Park Mayor Jen Wolosin

by Linda Hubbard on February 2, 2023

We first met Jen Wolosin in 2017 when she had just organized the Safe Routes to School initiative. We’ve followed her activism over the years leading to her election to the Menlo Park City Council in 2020. In January, 2023, she assumed the role of Mayor. We talked with her not long after.

How is serving in elective office different that being a local activist?

I see it as a continuation. It’s a different way to be effective. But it’s still about the same things I care about.

Now I’m using different tools to get the work done. And my portfolio has expanded. And I’m less an advocate and more of a policy maker.

It’s an imperfect transition, and the lines can be a bit blurry.

What are some of you early takeaways in your role as Mayor?

I want to make sure people feel heard. I really try to keep an open mind and learn about issues — and different points of view.

When I was involved with Safe Routes, it was a narrow focus. Now I meet with people about everything from trash to pickle ball to climate action. I learn what constituents are interested in and hopefully help make government more accessible. There’s a lot of satisfaction in helping people figure how they can be effective.

Serving on the Council in general, I’ve learned you can’t please everybody all the time. If the decision were an easy one, the issue wouldn’t have to come to Council At the end of the day, my goal is to make the best decision I can with the information I have for the betterment of city.

Is being Mayor different than being a Council member?

The night I was appointed Mayor I made a speech talking about our form of government.  In Menlo Park, we have a City Manager form of governor. The City Manager is like the  CEO, and the City Council is more like a Board of Director.

I see my role as Mayor as empowering City Manager Murphy and his staff to get the work done.

Editor’s note: Jen writes a weekly newsletter with topics broader than her District 3 purview. Sign up here. Her office hours (all are welcome) are every Friday at 12:00 pm online via Zoom. 

Photo by Robb Most (c) 2023

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Please help support InMenlo! Your contribution will help us continue to bring InMenlo to you. Click on the button below to contribute!