New Jersey Focus: Ed Potosnak for Congress (NJ-07)
Ed Potosnak is a science teacher and small business owner who will bring real world experience to Congress to help America get its edge back.
Ed was born and raised in New Jersey and grew up working at his family's small business, which manufactured affordable batteries for communication devices used by law enforcement. He put himself through Rutgers University, earning a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry and a Master's degree in Education. As a student at Rutgers, Ed was extremely active in campus life. He served as President of the Rutgers University Glee Club, and conducted independent research in Organic Chemistry, all while working on and off campus to help pay for college expenses.
Ed Potosnak has been endorsed by Democracy for America. Here is his statement to DFA:
• Small Business Owner
• H.S. Chemistry Teacher
• Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow
My parents wanted their children to have better lives than they did, so they committed themselves to ensuring my brothers and I had every opportunity. I grew up working alongside my family in our small business, where I learned the value of teamwork, respect, hard work, and sacrifice.
I put myself through college, earning a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and a master’s degree in Education at Rutgers University. I enjoyed laboratory research but left the laboratory for the classroom because I wanted the opportunity to shape students’ lives.
As a teacher, I prepared my students for an increasingly complex and technological world by helping them become effective problem solvers and scientifically literate citizens.
I have always worked hard to support myself, often taking on extra jobs to pay my bills. Building on the entrepreneurial skills I learned as a child, I started my own home improvement business to supplement my teaching salary.
I was raised to believe that you can do anything.
I plan to deliver on that simple belief by finding common sense solutions to the challenges we face, fighting for what we believe in, and finding a way to “yes.”
I have spent the last two years in Washington working for Congress, so I know how Washington works-- or more importantly, how it doesn’t work.
Washington doesn’t seem to understand that families are hurting. People are concerned that they won’t have jobs, that they won’t be able to afford healthcare for their families, and that they won’t be able to leave an America that is better for their children than it was for them.
While in Washington as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Fellow in Congressman Mike Honda’s office (D-Silicon Valley, CA and Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus) I helped craft legislation to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics education by enhancing the coordination, collaboration, and coherence among federal programs and by reducing spending through the elimination of duplicative and ineffective programs. The legislation also aims to improve the opportunities of women and underrepresented minorities in science and mathematics.
Additionally, I developed legislation to ensure a student’s zip code does not determine the quality of his or her education. This legislation was signed into law.
I enjoy reading, tennis, golf, skiing, singing, home improvements, cooking, hiking, running, biking, rock climbing, and camping.
I am running for Congress because I am tired of the gridlock in Washington—we need leaders to fight for the interests of our families instead of political and special interests.
As a member of Congress, I will use my unique blend of knowledge of small business, science, and education to be a leader and an advocate for the 7th District of New Jersey. I intend to bring the real world experience and common sense solutions that we need to overcome the challenges our families and businesses face.
All too often, career politicians, like my opponent, focus more on reelection than doing what’s right. He has voted to block legislation that will help New Jersey families keep their jobs, help small businesses grow, and create new jobs. He has blocked legislation designed to control healthcare costs, just to score political points.
Career politicians are out of touch with the concerns of the middle class. They don’t understand that people are struggling to make ends meet, worrying if their jobs will be there tomorrow, if their children will have jobs when they graduate from college, whether they will be able to make their next mortgage payment, or if their home value will ever bounce back.
I understand their concerns because I live them.
This District needs an advocate for the interests of our families, a leader who understands their needs, someone who will fight the powerful lobbyists. My real world experience and proven ability to get things done in Washington will provide common sense solutions to address the challenges we face.
I will fight to put the interests of my constituents ahead of special interests.
Job Creation. Millions of Americans are out of work today. Across the 7th District, tens of thousands are out of work or underemployed, and many more are unsure of how long they will have their jobs. Getting our unemployed back to work is my top priority. As a small business owner, I am committed to ensuring our policies enable entrepreneurs to expand their businesses and innovate. Part of our strategy should provide businesses of all sizes incentives to invest in capital and research and development.
As a teacher, I believe the recession also provides an opportunity for job training. Individuals seeking to gain new skills to enhance their career options and potential should have access to opportunities to expand their learning. Providing training for jobs in emerging sectors of our economy, such as technology and green jobs, not only reduces unemployment, but also improves our energy efficiency and eliminates our dependence on fossil fuels and foreign oil.
Economy. Everyone is feeling the strains of our weakened economy. Working families are struggling to make ends meet in the worst recession since the Great Depression. When I travel around the District, I see signs of problems everywhere. There are “For Lease” signs at every intersection, empty parking lots at our strip malls and shopping centers, and “Foreclosure” signs strung across doors in our neighborhoods. These are indicative of problems that require real leadership and common sense solutions. My opponent is providing neither.
My opponent has not offered any legislation to create jobs or repair the financial crisis. It seems he has spent most of his time doing what career politicians do in Washington, cozying up to the special interests to fill his campaign coffers and looking out for their interests. Instead of using his position on the Financial Services Committee in Congress to help our working families, he has consistently opposed regulating the financial industry. He sided with big banks to ensure they will be able to keep more than $80 billion in profits—profits that otherwise would have been used to help students pay for college.
As a small business owner, I have experienced how sometimes the government can get in the way of businesses. I understand how important small businesses are to our economy and how they can help drive us out of this recession. We must support their growth in order to put our economy back on track, create jobs and provide economic stability. We must also take on the powerful financial industry to ensure another crisis like the one we experienced does not occur again. We need common sense reforms to protect consumers and limit the risky practices of the big banks and Wall Street that led our economy into the gutter.
Improving America’s Competitiveness. Our nation is at a critical juncture. We are challenged to stay ahead of other nations in an increasingly global 21st century economy. We can no longer rely upon our past successes to ensure our future economic leadership. We must take an aggressive approach to catalyzing innovation through investments in research and development and physical, technological, and human capital. It is a matter of national and economic security that we remain competitive globally.
New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District is home to the leading technological, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and other industries. It is often referred to as the “medicine cabinet to the world.” I am committed to ensuring these companies have the support they need to harness the ingenuity of my constituents to invent therapies to save and enhance our lives, address our energy challenges, create future markets, and improve our productivity.
My science background provides insight into how balanced government policies can spur innovation and promote competition, ensure U.S. companies are able to remain internationally competitive, and fully utilize the innovative potential of the American people.
I am committed to improving America’s competitiveness to create new jobs, new business, and new industries.
Find out more at his website.