Young Candidate Spotlight: Jen Devor
One in an occasional series highlighting young Philadelphians who are running for office. Young Involved Philadelphia does not endorse any candidate for any office, and this post should not be considered an endorsement of or opposition to any candidate. But we do encourage all young Philadelphians to get more involved civically and politically in their city. To that end, we will occasionally profile young candidates and ask them how and why they decided to get involved.
Name: Jen Devor
Running for: Democratic Committee Person for the 36th Ward, 37th Division (Point Breeze).
Why Philly? Philadelphia is really important to me and I just really love the city. I have had all my major life milestones in Philadelphia – I came to school here – I went to the University of the Arts, I fell in love in Philadelphia, had a baby in Philadelphia, launched my career in Philadelphia. And I love how much access you have to everyone and everything. It has all that I need in where I want to live and I want to make a contribution here and give back.
Why did you decide to run? I love Philadelphia, I love my neighborhood, and I want to see it continue to thrive. I think voting is a key component in that. I think more people need to vote – only 11% of Philadelphians voted in the last election, and I feel as a Committee Person I can help with that, help get my neighbors to vote, help them feel more educated on the candidates they are voting for, and have an impact that way.
Any advice for other young people considering a run for office? The biggest advice I have is to knock on your neighbors’ doors and get to know the people in your community. That’s your constituency, who you are working for. They’re your boss. It’s the best way of figuring out the issues you’ll need to solve if you’re elected for public office.
I think that is kind of intimidating to do, especially for young people. I was nervous the first time I started knocking on my neighbors doors –I’m a block captain, so I had to get petitions for that, and that was one of the scarier moments of my life, having to knock on the door and say “Hi, I’m Jen Devor.” But it was awesome. It was amazing the stuff you can learn just having a conversation with someone, especially someone who’s had a different life experience than you.
What kind of challenges have you faced? I’ve had a really positive experience, and I haven’t really faced any challenges to date. I came into my campaign feeling very aggressive after leaving the Ward 101 event that YIP had, because it was infuriating to hear about the challenges that others had faced.
But everyone has been really open and supportive and willing to help me, and talk to me. I’ve been able to meet with elected officials to pick their brains, get insights, and everyone has been really supportive, which is awesome. It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be.
What is it like being young person in Philly politics? It’s exciting. And its inspiring to see so many other people n my peer group also excited about this stuff. I think its hopeful and positive to think about how people who are just getting started in politics now – in 5, 10, 15 years – will have the potential to be major decision makers and will do a lot of good work.