Senator Gilda Z. Jacobs (D-Huntington Woods) was elected to the Senate in 2002 after serving two terms in the Michigan House of Representatives, where she made history as the first woman floor leader in either house of the Legislature. Senator Jacobs is the Democratic vice-chair of two committees—Economic Development, Small Business & Regulatory Reform; Families and Human Services—and also serves on Government Operations and Health Policy.
Senator Jacobs was elected chair of the 12th Congressional District Democratic Committee in 1999. Prior to serving in the Legislature, she served as an Oakland County Commissioner from 1995 to 1998. She also is distinguished as the first woman elected to the Huntington Woods City Commission, serving from 1981 to 1994. She was the Mayor Pro Tem of Huntington Woods in 1993-94.
In addition to her civic leadership, Senator Jacobs served as Development Director for JARC, a Jewish association providing residential care for persons with developmental disabilities. Prior to working for JARC, Senator Jacobs was administrative assistant to state Senator Doug Ross. She also worked as a special education teacher in the Madison School District. Senator Jacobs’ extensive community service includes having served as a board member of the South Oakland NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League, Neighborhood Project, the Tri-Community Coalition, and the Women’s Division of Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. Senator Jacobs has also served as a member of the Huntington Woods Friends of the Library, Huntington Woods Residents Association, National Council of Jewish Women, Berkley High School PTO, and the Oakland County Center for Fair Housing Advisory Board. She is a former vice-chair of the Oakland County Democratic Party.
Senator Jacobs currently serves on the Board of Visitors Leadership Council for Endowments and Scholarships at the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University, the Community Advisory Council for the Junior League of Birmingham, the Triangle Foundation Board of Advisors and the Governor’s Commission on Mental Health.
Senator Jacobs has been bestowed many honors throughout the years.
These include the “Wonder Woman Award” from the Women’s
Survival Center, the Larry Pernick Award from the Michigan Democratic
County Commissioners Association, the Michigan Counseling Association
Legislative Service Award, the Chaldean Federation of America Public
Service Award, the “Do Something Wonderful for Children”
Legislative Award from Michigan’s Children, and the 2002 “Woman
of the Year Award” from the Na’Amat Greater Detroit Council
for her dedicated efforts on behalf of women and children. Senator Jacobs
is recognized as a Friend of Diabetes and Kidney Health Care and was
a Fellow at the Bowhay Institute for Legislative Development. The National
Democratic Institute selected her to travel to Bosnia where she trained
political candidates. Recently, she has appeared on the Democratic Leadership
Council’s 100 New Democrats to Watch—a national list of
“next-generation” Democratic Leaders. A graduate of the
University of Michigan, Senator Jacobs received her bachelor’s
degree in science with a distinction in education in 1970 and a master’s
degree in behavioral sciences in education in 1971. Her family includes husband John, adult daughters Jessica and Rachel, and a politically savvy dog, Jake.
Photos Courtesy of Travel Michigan, Randall McCune, Vito Palmisano, and the Traverse City CVB
Official Website of Michigan Senate Democratic
111 S. Capitol Avenue
Lansing, MI 48933
Please direct any questions or comments you have about this site or its contents to the website administrator.