Your Progressive Champion.
Fighting for Equity & Opportunity for All.
A Passion for Service
Jheanelle was born in Kingston, Jamaica and immigrated to the United States when she was five years old. Growing up in New Castle, Delaware in humble circumstances, Jheanelle’s life experience - as an immigrant whose family sometimes struggled - fueled her passion for advocating for greater opportunity for all families to thrive.
During an internship as an undergraduate at the University of Delaware, she spent a semester in the DMV (D.C., Maryland, Virginia area) where she had her first experience with grassroots organizing and policy change as a tool to create a more just society.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, she moved to Silver Spring, MD to pursue a career in social justice and advocacy while earning her Masters in Public Administration at the American University. She quickly became active in Montgomery County and her local community, serving on the Committee on Hate/Violence to prevent and address incidents of hate in our community. She became involved in grassroots advocacy on issues like raising the minimum wage and paid sick leave for workers. In 2014, she was elected by District 20 voters to the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee where she worked to consistently engage voters and increase voter registration. Jheanelle was appointed to the House of Delegates in 2017 and resoundingly elected by the voters in 2018.
Jheanelle is a progressive, community-driven legislative champion dedicated to policy change that makes a difference in people’s lives. As a legislator, Jheanelle has leveraged her organizing and advocacy background to help pass impactful legislation in the Maryland General Assembly where she serves on the House Ways and Means Committee. She is a trusted voice on the Speaker’s leadership team as the Parliamentarian of the Maryland House of Delegates, responsible for upholding efficient, fair, and orderly procedures as the House conducts the business of the State. She is also the Chair of the Subcommittee on Election Law, leading the House in passing robust election policy and expanding voter access, including Maryland’s permanent mail-in ballot list, voting access for incarcerated individuals, and expansion of early voting sites.
Jheanelle has a proven record of legislative achievement on District 20's most pressing issues. Her legislative achievements include legislation related to addressing maternal health disparities, justice transformation and curbing racial profiling, advancing educational equity through the $4 billion Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, and the economic security of families. Jheanelle was the lead sponsor of legislation that removes unnecessary criminal penalties for minor, nonviolent offenses as well as legislation to bring women most impacted by maternal deaths to the table to chart solutions. Her legislation to expand tax credit eligibility for retired veterans will help our service men and women to continue to live in Maryland.
Civil Rights Career
Professionally, Jheanelle is the Director of State and Local Government Affairs at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights coalition. She has championed civil rights for twelve years, playing lead roles in advocating for federal immigration reform, promoting educational equity, advancing criminal justice reform and protecting voting rights. In her career, she has shaped federal and state policy; trained and engaged activists from Portland to Biloxi on progressive issues; created and implemented issue campaigns at the federal and state levels to pass legislation that promotes equality; and facilitated the participation of thousands of people in the political process. She bring this issue expertise and organizing background to her legislative advocacy.
She is honored to have the opportunity to live out her purpose — fighting for equality and improving the lives of those who are historically excluded.
Jheanelle lives in downtown Silver Spring and enjoys collecting unique street art, rehabbing and painting furniture, and is an active member of the Theta Omega Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.