By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
ATLANTIC CITY â€“ Progressive and civil rights activist Erica Collins announced Monday she is exploring entering the Congressional race to unseat former Democrat Jeff Van Drew.
Collins becomes the second African-American woman to enter the race. Atlantic County Freeholder and Women’s March supporter Ashley Bennett announced in December she was running as well.
A native of Cherry Hill, Collins is the executive producer and cohost of the progress podcast Blog Talk Radio’s Pulse of the People. She described herself as a progressive, civil and women’s rights activist and advocate, thought leader, media influencer and social entrepreneur.
A statement said that Collins plans to develop an exploratory committee and a listening tour through the Congressional District 2 on issues surrounding equal pay, healthcare and education amongst others.
“I am the original Jersey girl,” Collins said in her press statement. I am what makes America great. My family roots on my mother’s side date back to the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Indian Tribe of Bridgeton, Cumberland County, New Jersey to the first interracial marriage on record in the United States of America that built America’s oldest African-American community.
“All races came together to build a self-sufficient community in New Jersey. True patriots who fought for freedom in the Revolutionary War. They wrote President Lincoln with the promise of building an army to fight slaveholders in the Civil War. When denied, they found innovative ways often controversial to fight for freedom and democracy,” she continued.
Challengers have been lining up to run again Van Drew since the first-year Congressman bucked the Democratic Party to voted against the impeachment of President Donald Trump in the House. He the switched parties to become a Republican, causing the bulk of his staff to leave his side.
“Where is the American Dream my ancestors built right here in New Jersey? A fearless community of all races, cultures and religions fighting for freedom and democracy, not divided by a fake presidency who gaslights fake news, to the point of convincing a congressman to become a traitor; not only to his party, but the nation,” Collins said. “Congressman [Jeff] Van Drew is now among the symbols of the hypocrisy of our democracy.”
Along with Collins and Bennett, other big names are lining up to run against Van Drew on the Democratic side. Amy Kennedy, wife of former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, is running along with Montclair State University political science professor Brigid Harrison, former aide to U.S. Sen. Cory Booker Will Cunningham, Former FBI agent Robert Turkavage, and West Cape May Commissioner John Francis III.
Van Drew also face several Republican candidates in the race including former Hill International chief executive David Richter. Trump, though, has already endorsed Van Drew in the race and will campaign for him.
Feature photo courtesy of Erica Collins Facebook.
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