New Jersey congressman to address graduates

A Democratic congressman from New Jersey will headline the May 19 graduation ceremony for the College of Professional Studies.

Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J. – one of two physicists in Congress – is best known for his advocacy on energy and intelligence issues. He has represented the state’s 12th district, located in central New Jersey, since 1999.

First-year Graduate School of Political Management Director Mark Kennedy said he handpicked Holt after the two served in Congress together from opposite sides of the aisle. The Graduate School of Political Management is housed in the College of Professional Studies and the program’s attend the larger graduation ceremony.

“The kind of experience Rush Holt and I had working together is the type of experiences that I want to help promulgate,” Kennedy said. “I’ve always said that when I was in Congress, I tried to get to know all the Democrats I could. We might disagree on 99 out of 100 issues, but we can work together on the one issue we do agree on.”

Kennedy, a Republican who sat in the House of Representatives from 2001 to 2007, said the choice underscores a message of bipartisanship because the two congressmen cosponsored an education bill.

The Teachers for Tomorrow’s Careers Act of 2005 looked to boost the number of scientists teaching in high schools. The bill died in committee.

In choosing the speaker, Kennedy said he was looking to spread a message of “making sure that you’re also looking at shared interests, shared goals. It’s part of the solution that we can shine a brighter light on.”

Holt, 63, is also a five-time “Jeopardy” champion. He also sponsored a 2010 bill to combat cyberbullying in the aftermath of a student’s suicide at Rutgers University.

The Graduate School of Political Management has a history of landing high-profile D.C. politicos as commencement speakers. In 2008, former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough addressed graduates, and George W. Bush’s senior advisor Karl Rove spoke in 2006.

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