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Amy Kennedy

Amy Kennedy announces congressional bid against Van Drew

Former public school teacher is fourth Democrat to enter race

By David Wildstein, January 06 2020 8:48 am

Amy Kennedy, a former public school teacher and a member of one of America’s most famous political families, will seek the Democratic nomination for Congress in New Jersey’s 2nd district against party-switcher Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis).

“As a former history teacher and a mother of five, I know that this is an historic moment in time when our children’s future is on the line,” the mother of five said, said.  Our country is in crisis, and our leaders like Donald Trump and Jeff Van Drew have lost their moral compass.”

Kennedy said that “environmental protections for our coastal communities are being traded in for profits.”

“Race baiting and fear mongering have taken over,” she said. “We no longer talk to our families and our neighbors because of our divisive politics.

Kennedy joins political science professor Brigid Callahan Harrison, Atlantic County Freeholder Ashley Bennett and West Cape May Commissioner John Francis III in the race to take on Van Drew, a freshman congressman and former legislator who switched parties last month after voting against impeaching Trump.

Six Democratic county chairmen and Senate President Steve Sweeney have already endorsed Harrison.

“I welcome Amy and anybody else who wants to run in this primary. Primaries are good for democracy because they encourage participation in our elections,” said Harrison.  “I will continue meeting with voters throughout the district and asking them to support my candidacy. I look forward to our discussions in the coming months over the issues that matter most to the people of South Jersey.”

“Here in South Jersey, families are struggling—to find good jobs, to break free of addiction, to find reason to hope again,” said Kennedy.  “As a fourth generation South Jerseyan, I will never turn my back on the people of this district.  I’ll be an independent voice in Congress and work to get us back on the right track,” Kennedy said.

She is the wife of former Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy (D-Rhode Island), a former chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).  Her father, Jerry Savell, is a former Atlantic County Freeholder who served as a councilman in Pleasantville and Absecon.

Kennedy is the education director of The Kennedy Forum, which advocates for policy changes in the areas of education and mental health.

Editor’s note: this story was updated at 11:11 AM with comment from Harrison.

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