Harker alumna Jessica Dickinson Goodman ’07 sworn into San Jose public office


Nerine Uyanik

Harker alumna Jessica Dickinson Goodman ’07 (right) takes her oath to become City of San Jose Human Services Commissioner for District 2. Dickinson Goodman was sworn in on Jan. 16.

by Nerine Uyanik, Asst. Humans of Harker Videographer and Feature Photographer

Harker alumna Jessica Dickinson Goodman ‘07, who has made a career of helping others, was sworn in as City of San Jose Human Services Commissioner for District 2 on Jan. 16.

Surrounded by family and friends, she stepped into the San Jose City Clerk’s Office and pulled out two charms. From the left pocket of her blazer, Dickinson Goodman pulled out a pair of cufflinks. From her right, she took out a pearl necklace.

She wanted both objects to be with her. The Tennessee River pearl necklace passed down to her on her 18th birthday, reminded Dickinson Goodman of her grandmother’s advice to pick big fights and persevere. Her late grandfather’s golden cufflinks reminded her of him always encouraging her to think critically about politics even though both came from different perspectives.

A golden California pendant on her necklace, a rainbow barrette in her hair and both charms at her sides, Dickinson Goodman carried herself and all she represents with her as she took the oath and signed the documents, officially becoming a commissioner.

Among her many career pursuits, Dickinson Goodman had previously worked in the legislature in Washington State and also as a scheduler for Senator Kamala Harris while Harris was Attorney General of California. She found the experiences helpful in preparing her for thinking about how policy moves and how to can build a multi-year plan to make something happen.

“Elected officials and appointed officials have three kinds of power,” Dickinson Goodman said. “They have their statutory power, [the] power of the press and the power of convening. They can get a lot done using a mix of each power. I think the job of someone who is in elected or appointed office is to benefit those who have less power–not to take it up for themselves.

As commissioner, Dickinson Goodman will work to advise the City Council on making San Jose more accessible for people with disabilities, making transit friendlier to women and children and ensuring those first responders represent the communities they serve.

“I would really encourage anyone who is currently in any of the political or government classes, or is irritated, or enraged by what’s happening in the news, to do what I did, to go and type in ‘San Jose boards and commission’ into Google, read through all the different opportunities and options–read through them for your city if you don’t live in San Jose–and apply for them. Most of them don’t have an age restriction. Every single person and Harker could apply for and probably get onto these commissions. Most of the meetings are in the evenings. Most of them are accessible by transit. It’s a key way that you could contribute to your community.”

This piece was originally published in the pages of the Winged Post on February 5, 2018