My name is Amy Kennedy, and I’m running for Congress in New Jersey’s second district. I grew up in South Jersey in a family of educators. My mom taught for 36 years in Absecon and my dad taught in Galloway Township public schools, both of them proud NJEA members.
As a little girl, I was inspired by how much my parents loved teaching. I began my own teaching career at Northfield Community School, starting with sixth grade history, and eventually teaching sixth, seventh and eighth grade history, science, and English for over a decade.
I never envisioned running for Congress, but when Jeff Van Drew switched parties, I knew that South Jersey was in need of a leader who would stand up for our communities. As a former public school teacher, mental health advocate and mother of five, I understand so many of the challenges we’re facing as a community, and I’m committed to addressing the needs of the people of New Jersey.
Like many of you, I saw how many of my students were overwhelmingly impacted by mental health issues. Whether stemming from adverse childhood experiences and trauma, or from mental health disorders and conditions, it was clear to me that my students were in need of more resources and support.
In Congress, I want to provide mental health and wellness services in schools and in early childhood learning centers. By prioritizing social and emotional learning from the earliest grades, we can help give our children the tools they need to succeed in school and throughout their lives. I also believe that every student should be able to afford a college education or industry-credentialed training program that leads to a high-paying job. I will fight to expand loan forgiveness programs, and to ensure that college and training programs remain a pathway to future success—not a pathway to crushing debt.
I will also make sure the federal government realizes every student’s right to a high-quality public education. That work is especially urgent now as we adapt and respond to COVID-19. I will do everything I can to support state and local education budgets as our economy recovers from this crisis, and to ensure that teachers have the resources they need to instruct and inspire. I will also fight to protect teachers’ pensions, because America promised you that, if you worked hard, you would have the right to a secure retirement. I will always uphold that promise.
I know NJEA works tirelessly to serve the children of New Jersey, and it is an honor to have your endorsement. Even amidst a global health crisis, you all have risen to the occasion, adapting to online learning and ensuring that our children continue to get the educational support they need.
In Congress, it will be my privilege to stand up for the educators and educational support professionals of South Jersey and honor your work by providing you with the support and resources you need in these challenging times.