The statistics show that children growing up in single-parent households are less likely to succeed or even obtain a high school diploma.
I am grateful my story is one of both perseverance and hard work. I am your example of the incredible return that comes from strong Democratic programs designed to help those who are less unfortunate get a fighting chance to succeed.
As children who were raised by our grandmother in Roselle, my two brothers and I were able to live and grow with the support of state benefits like welfare and food stamps.
Our medical needs were met through Medicaid. I received a solid public education and was able to obtain my undergraduate degree from New Jersey City University and Masters in Public Administration from Kean University through New Jersey's Educational Opportunity Fund. All of these programs were created based upon the Democratic values that say all children—regardless of the communities from which they come—deserve to be cared for and are worthy of opportunities to achieve the American dream.
Over the last 15 years, I have worked diligently to pursue a career in public service aimed at giving back to the community that has given so much to me. In the Assembly, I have fought tirelessly to ensure the needs of Roselle, Elizabeth, Union and Hillside residents.
With a goal of making government efficient and effective, I’ve spurred economic redevelopment projects that have helped stabilize your property taxes. I’ve created resources for statewide workforce development programs to ensure residents are prepared to be competitive in their employment endeavors.
I’ve ensured that our public safety departments have the tools to keep our neighborhoods safe and I’ve secured state funding for our public parks, infrastructure, recreation, youth and senior services throughout the district.
This has all been done with a spirit of optimism and togetherness that has permeated through this legislative district, from the local governments to the local businesses to the community itself.
As I reflect on the successes that have been achieved, I can see a blueprint for success that can be shared in the State Senate. Our accomplishments have been the direct result of collaborative efforts on multiple levels of government, with local officials who share my vision of this district’s potential to continually achieve progress.
Although the results of my efforts are tangible, there is much more that can be done—especially in the State Senate, where the scale of change is much greater. New Jersey’s property taxes are among the highest in the nation and direly require restructuring. Our public schools need continuous funding so that children can graduate with greater opportunities to succeed. Pervasive unemployment and underemployment hurts families and drives up foreclosure rates, forcing people to exit New Jersey at a faster rate than any other state, year after year.
Not only is the unemployment rate in New Jersey above the national average, it is double the national average in urban communities. Change must be made with a keen focus on rebuilding communities in a way where all residents and stakeholders can live, learn, work and play peacefully. We need continued strong leadership on the state level to make these changes happen – as we recover from this lingering pandemic.
It is for these reasons that I am seeking the Democratic nomination for the State Senate.
As I embark on this journey, I will be committed and focused on establishing an agenda designed to create solutions that will bring maximum benefits to residents of Elizabeth, Hillside, Roselle and Union. I will work with my colleagues in the state Legislature to establish the groundwork necessary to deepen our reach into all communities in our state, especially into our towns where the needs are so great.
This candidacy for State Senate is not about me.
It's about the boy in Elizabeth whose parents came to this country to seek a better life and many of the same services and support I received when I was young.
It's about the young woman in Union who is trying to become the first member of her family to attend college, similar to my path in life.
It's about the family in Hillside who is trying to afford a home where they can raise their children, something my grandmother was fortunate to provide for my brothers and me.
It's about the senior citizen in Roselle who has worked hard their whole life and now deserves respect and support. It's about all working collectively to improve the communities we love and fight for the opportunities we deserve.
With your continued support, I will take up that fight in the State Senate.
On June 8, 2021, I will ask for your support for my candidacy for State Senate in the 20th Legislative District. I am humbled and grateful for this honor. I promise you that I will work tirelessly to maximize this chance to continue serving the people.
Yours, for the 20th Legislative District,
Click here for the Jamel Holley for Senate video