Prior to having the honor of serving Grand Rapids' First Ward as City Commissioner, Jon dove head-first into serving his community wherever opportunity presented itself.
Cutting his teeth through student government, Student Senator O'Connor stepped from university to neighborhood leadership, joining the West Grand Neighborhood Organization Board of Directors. Four years later, Jon was elected President of the Neighborhood Association.
While serving the Neighborhood through the existing entity, WGNO, Jon co-founded WelcomeWest and WinterWest which were catalytic in bringing neighbors together. The annual winter festival at Richmond Park continues to be one of the essential traditions that bring First Ward neighborhoods together to celebrate the area as one.
Exploring in greater detail how he might better serve his community, Jon rallied support around future Commissioner, Dave Shaffer. Serving as Campaign Chairman, Jon learned a lot navigating the local election cycle of 2009.
One year later, Jon brought his energies to the place he saw needing the most investment. Changing the course of the city's public school system, Jon was elected to Grand Rapids Public School Board where he would proudly helped lead the district in hiring Teresa Weatherall Neal. Superintendent Neal, Jon, and the GRPS School Board initiated the Transformation Plan that continues to shape the education system serving the students and families of Grand Rapids today.