Jessie is an attorney who was a Deputy Secretary at the PA Department of Agriculture from 2006-2011. She established the first USDA Certified State Mediation Program for PA. She is Chair of the PA Bar Association (PBA) Agricultural Law Committee, course planner for What Every Lawyer Needs to Know About PA’s No. 1 Industry (2014 Bar Institute Agricultural Law Forum), and a member of the State Council of Farm Organizations and Farm Show Committee. She received the PA Veterinary Medical Association’s Distinguished Service Award in 2010 for her Dog Law policy and advocacy work.
She has been a civil trial lawyer, appearing in court in nearly all of PA’s 67 counties. She also worked in the Attorney General’s Health Care Section, investigating unfair and deceptive practices by doctors, insurers, and drug and device manufacturers. She is Co-Chair of the PBA Women in the Profession Commission, a former member of its Board of Governors, and was named its Government Lawyer of the Year in 2002. She taught trial advocacy at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law, taught Magisterial District Judges statewide, and served as a Dauphin County Court Arbitrator.
Jessie grew up near Paint Creek and the former Holleran apple orchard and farm in Cambria County. Her aunt and uncle were dairy farmers in Michigan, whose herd was contaminated in the 1970s by the flame retardant chemical PBB, which was mistakenly mixed into commercial cattle feed. This made her aware of the fragile, priceless and irreplaceable nature of farms, and the need for a group like PASA to promote farm sustainability and preservation by offering education, resources, community and inspiration to farmers, related ventures and consumers.
Jessie was appointed to the Board as an At-Large Director in September 2016 to complete an unexpired term.