Gov. Phil Murphy dropped in to boost Amy Kennedy’s congressional bid Thursday.
The governor joined Kennedy and Wildwood Mayor Pete Byron for the House candidate’s pitch on infrastructure investments needed in the second congressional district, though he was more focused on selling the candidate than her policies.
“She cares not just because she decided to run for Congress. She cares about infrastructure. She cares about mental health. She cares about South Jersey, period, and she will do the job,” Murphy said. “That famous line ‘80% of life is showing up’ — Amy will show up, I promise you.”
Kennedy is running to oust Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-Dennis), who was elected as a Democrat in 2018 but defected to the GOP in December after losing support among the party’s rank-and-file over his opposition to impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.
“This is about electing somebody who will care, someone who will do the job. It really, frankly, doesn’t have a lot — particularly as it relates to infrastructure — doesn’t have a lot to do with which party you’re in. This is the hand we’ve been dealt. Play the damn hand.”
Though she jabbed Van Drew over his allegiance to Trump, the candidate’s speech didn’t bend as far toward politics.
A stone’s throw from the aging Middle Thorofare Bridge, Kennedy promised to bring federal dollars to the second district in order to rebuild its aging roads and bridges and to protect the district’s waterways.
“If you were not sure where this event was going to be today, you could have easily been confused that we were stopping at one of the other many bridges on the way here that were rusted and corroded and in need of repair,” she said. “And it’s not just bridges. It’s our roads. It’s our railroads, airports, schools. We need investments.”
Infrastructure investments would bring jobs to an economy still largely reliant on tourism and Atlantic City’s gaming industry, she said, adding that pushing renewable energy sources in the district would create more work opportunities while hardening South Jersey’s coast against the effects of climate change.