Meet Erin

I’m Erin Palmer, a mom to three wonderful children, an ethics lawyer, and a dedicated public servant. Since moving to DC nearly two decades ago, I have worked in both federal and local government, expanding workplace protections and fighting for transparency and accountability. As an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in Ward 4, I advocate with my neighbors on issues that affect our everyday lives — things like traffic safety, high-quality schools, and better public transportation. I’m running to be Chairwoman to bring new energy and vision to the DC Council.

Building a family in DC

DC isn’t just the place where I live — it’s where my husband and I chose to build our home and set down our family’s roots.

At a young age, I spent a lot of my life moving around and grew up in California and Colorado. Later, I attended the University of Pennsylvania and studied abroad in Santiago, Chile. When I came to DC to attend American University’s law school and graduate school, it was the first time I felt like I belonged.

Erin with her husband Eric and their three kids: Adrián (10), Mateo (8), and Javier (6).

Watch: Why I’m running

After completing law school and earning my graduate degree in conflict resolution, I worked as a judicial clerk at the DC Court of Appeals, where I met my husband, Eric, who was also clerking at the court. We fell in love while learning about local DC laws and exploring the city together. We married, settled in Takoma, and had our three kids: Adrián (10), Mateo (8), and Javier (6). They are constant and lively reminders of the values we honor most as a family: kindness, empathy, and service to our community.

Erin and Eric on their wedding day at the Morrison-Clark Historic Inn & Restaurant.

Erin, Eric and Javi at MedStar Washington Hospital Center after Javi was born en route to the hospital.

Each birth brought surprises and challenges, but Javi’s was particularly notable. He arrived en route to the hospital, making his entrance in the backseat of my sister’s car at the corner of 13th Street and Gallatin Street, NW. He has been a part of our neighborhood from his first breath.

Fighting for better and more accountable government

From the start of my professional career, I have worked to hold government accountable.

After my judicial clerkship, I worked at a law firm, spending most of my time on pro bono matters. These included winning asylum for an individual fleeing state violence due to their political beliefs, representing a child with disabilities at a local school to ensure they received their needed educational supports, and filing briefs with the United States Supreme Court on the science regarding youth brain development to end the use of life without parole sentences for juveniles.

Erin testifying at the DC Council in 2017 in support of establishing a maternal mortality review committee.

For the last seven years, I served as an ethics lawyer for the federal judiciary, where I specialized in workplace accountability. As a survivor of sexual assault and harassment, these structural challenges were not just matters of revising rules and procedures but a moral call to redefine safety in our workplaces. I’m proud of my work to improve accountability and workplace protections within an institution essential to the balance of power in government.

Erin at an Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B meeting.

Since 2018, I have also served as an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, a hyper-local elected position. I’ve tackled traffic safety, infrastructure, housing, education, and community safety, with an eye not just toward fixing the immediate problems but identifying systemic challenges and proposing solutions to improve government across DC. My trademark as a Commissioner is redefining the role by not solely focusing on the immediate needs in my neighborhood, but also building alliances across the District to make every neighborhood better.

Growing community

Community is a cornerstone of our strength. Connecting with people and building relationships has always been one of my core values.

As a family, we have some basic rules: Every day we do something outside, we do something to learn, and we do something in support of the community. My kids are regularly by my side for our neighborhood cleanups in Takoma, volunteering with Mutual Aid, and attending community meetings. We hold lots of events for kids on civic engagement and community service, including a lobby day at the DC Council – with kids from all over DC!

Erin working a craft table at the annual Kennedy Street Festival in 2018.

Mateo and Adrián share their views with then-Councilmember Brandon Todd at Lobby Day for Kids at the DC Council in 2017.

Erin, Adrián, Mateo, and a group of several kids with Councilmember Elissa Silverman at Lobby Day for Kids at the DC Council in 2017.

I’ve been a leader in a number of community organizations that give back to our city, including currently as a Board Member of the Old Takoma Business Association (Main Street Takoma). Previously, I served as Secretary of the Manor Park Citizens Association, a Board Member of the Kennedy Street Development Corporation, and a Board Member of the Student Education and Leadership Fund, which provided college scholarships to DC-area students dedicated to using their college education to give back to their local communities.

Browse more of my professional and volunteer experience: 

  • Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, Single Member District 4B02 (current)
  • Old Takoma Business Association (Main Street Takoma), Board Member (current)
  • ANC Vision Zero Caucus, Washington Area Bicyclist Association, Co-Vice Chair (current)
  • Administrative Office of the US Courts, Assistant General Counsel
  • Clifford Chance US LLP, Associate
  • Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, Law Clerk
  • American University Washington College of Law, Supervising Attorney, UNROW Human Rights Impact Litigation Clinic
  • District of Columbia Court of Appeals, Judicial Clerk, Senior Judges
  • Manor Park Citizens Association, Secretary
  • Kennedy Street Development Corporation, Board Member
  • Student Education and Leadership Fund, Board Member
  • American University School of International Service, Masters, International Peace and Conflict Resolution
  • American University Washington College of Law, Juris Doctor, cum laude
  • University of Pennsylvania, Bachelor of Arts, cum laude