No, Jim Keady Won't Sit Down And Shut Up
by Tracy B Ann
Jim Keady is running for Congress in New Jersey's 3rd district and despite Chris Christie's "request" for him to sit down and shut up when he was protesting for Superstorm Sandy victims, Jim Keady just isn't that kind of guy. He doesn't sit down and shut up when people need help and aren't getting it.
Chris Christie wasn't home in New Jersey enough to realize what the victims of Sandy needed. If he cared he would have been there; Jim Keady was. I remember seeing this on the news; a woman whose house was destroyed was given $10,000 by FEMA. (80% of the Federal money given for victims has not been distributed by the State.)
At that time, I was wishing I could have a screened in back porch. How much could that cost? Very simple; some posts, a bit of decking, some screen and a door or two. The lowest price I got was $10,000 (I did not get a porch) and this woman was expected to rebuild her house for that amount?!?!
Plus, she and many others got letters from FEMA asking for half of the money back. Ok, not asking, demanding and threatening. Where was Chris Christie? Not in New Jersey, but Jim Keady was.
He told me he's running for Congress to represent the people in the 3rd district in New Jersey and the United States. "There are too many in DC who serve billionaires and big business and have no time for the everyday people in America," he says. Which can sometimes sound cliché, and I admit that when he first started talking to me about that I inwardly rolled my eyes. He added:
"Every decision or vote a Congressperson makes not only affects their immediate district but every person in the US, which is why it's important to unite for progressive candidates and progressive values everywhere in the United States."
He had me with that. I may not live in New Jersey but as a member of Congress he can help improve my life even here in Tennessee, because we are the United States of America. If that wasn't enough, he went on to tell me that he shares the progressive message and commitment of Bernie Sanders. To "get informed and get engaged." He truly is a grassroots warrior for social justice.
"I don't need to be convinced of wage equality, gender equality, racial equality, labor rights, the important of environmental issues and climate change. It's part of my DNA."
I asked him about his connection to the band Rage Against the Machine. He's noted as one of their Freedom Fighters of the month on their website.
That all starts with his soccer career.
Jim played and coached soccer at the high school, college and professional level. He also taught high school religion for 5 years along with coaching soccer. He played for 3 seasons as a goalkeeper for the NJ Imperials.
He has a Masters Degree in Theology from St. John's University where he was also a soccer coach when they were the defending NCAA Division I National Champions.
In getting his degree in Theology he focused on social ethics and pastoral theology. It should be no surprise that when he was forced to wear Nike's as part of a more than 3 million dollar endorsement deal St. Johns signed with Nike, Jim Keady resigned rather than wear the Nike shoes.
During his studies for his degree he had learned that Nike pays their workers $1.25 cents a day, Even though studies were pointing out that this wasn't a living wage, even in Indonesia, Jim was having a hard time getting this point across.
Jim Keady was being featured on all the major network sports shows and speaking at the top colleges in the country but couldn't get past the "Those are great jobs for those people" mentality.
So he went to live in Indonesia and proceeded to see what it was like to survive on $1.25 a day. He came back being able to testify first hand that these are starvation wages.
This all got a lot of press and got Rage Against the Machine's attention, which is when they made him one of their Freedom Fighters of the month. Keady met Tom Morello, originally from Rage (most recently on tour with Bruce Springsteen), back then. They've been friends ever since.
Morello and Serj Tankian of System of a Down are the co-founders of Axis of Justice, a political group whose declared purpose is "to bring together musicians, fans of music, and grassroots political organizations to fight for social justice together." Jim Keady did consultant work for them for 2 years.
Keady also made a documentary about his experience in Indonesia called Behind the Swoosh.
NJ-03 is discombobulated swing district that takes in large parts of Ocean and Burlington counties including the vast, mostly empty Pine Barrens and stretches across the state from Tom's River to the suburbs northeast of Philly. Obama won the district twice, 51-48% against McCain and, 4 years later, 52-48% against Romney. The incumbent is Republican freshman and backbencher Tom MacArthur.
Before Keady faces off against MacArthur in November, he has to win a June 7th primary against Frederick LaVergne, who ran for this seat in 2012 with no party affiliation and got .02% of the vote. In 2014, as a third party candidate, what he called a "Democratic-Republican candidate."
Meanwhile, MacArthur is a notorious self-funder who wrote himself five 1 million dollar checks. Jim Keady is not a millionaire, he runs his family's Lighthouse Tavern in Waretown. He wants dark money out of elections so that the government can represent the majority of Americans, not the few.
When Keady was a city council member for Asbury Park, he wouldn't let anyone buy him a beer, not even people he'd known all of his life, and he still doesn't. He says you have to draw a line early and stick to it.
This is exactly what we need in Congress, in our political system today. This is what we need to counteract the recent Supreme Court arguments over former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's bribery charges. When Justice Stephen Breyer says "the government’s standard for criminal corruption is so vague that political figures don't know what conduct crosses the line" when referring to McDonnell accepting $20,000 shopping sprees and $5,000 engraved Rolex's, I just want to scream.
When I'm done screaming I'll go to donate to Jim Keady's campaign fund, because this guy knows where to draw the line and he draws it at one single beer.
You can contribute here or at the thermometer just above on the right. Keep in mind, Jim Keady is also a supporter of 90for90 a voter advocacy movement. He doesn't have much info on his website (go to his Facebook page and Twitter feed for that) but what he does have front and center is voter registration information. If I wasn't already a huge fan, that would have done it right there.