Jeffrey was born in Cork, Ireland, and moved to Brampton in 1983. She was elected as a city councillor for Brampton's Ward 2 in 1991, and helped to negotiate the sale of Brampton Hydro toward the end of the decade (in addition to representing Brampton on the provincial Hydro One Board of Directors). Jeffrey also chaired the city's Budget Committee, and increased public access to the city's budget review process during her time as a councillor.
Although previously associated with the Progressive Conservatives, Jeffrey switched to the Liberals to run in the provincial election of 2003. She defeated incumbent Progressive Conservative Joe Spina by 1005 votes in Brampton Centre, and now chairs the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly.
In October 2004, she announced that construction had been started on the William Osler Health Centre in her riding.
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