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Dennis Shulman

“I believe that Congress could use more candor and more people with diverse life experiences. We keep sending career politicians to Washington and what do we have to show for it? A big mess. It may very well take a blind man to show Congress the light.”
Dr. Dennis G. Shulman has dedicated his life to serving others, and he passionately believes that our country must put problem solving above all other considerations. Time and again in his personal and professional life, Dennis has successfully used the approach of breaking problems down into their constituent parts and focusing on how the problem is solved, not on the enormity of the obstacles presented. His professions and spiritual tradition also teach that we are all in this together and that communitarian spirit can and must be reflected in our politics.

Today Dennis is a rabbi, clinical psychologist, educator and author, but he overcame significant obstacles along the way. Growing up working class and losing his sight at a young age, some predicted that Dennis would never graduate high school. Surmounting the challenges of a difficult family life, his academic career flourished. Dennis attended the Worcester Academy on a full scholarship, which led to his acceptance into Brandeis University, where he graduated with Magna cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa honors in addition to various humanitarian awards. He then graduated from Harvard University with a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and public practice. Dennis’ next step was teaching at Fordham University, where he founded the National Training Program in Contemporary Psychoanalysis at the National Institute for the Psychotherapies.

After nearly 30 years as a clinical psychologist and an educator, Dennis added another level to his service – he was ordained as a rabbi. In 2003 he also published his first book, “The Genius of Genesis: A Psychoanalyst and Rabbi Examines the First Book of the Bible.” In addition to continuing to treat patients in his psychological practice, Dennis currently serves as the Associate Rabbi of Chavurah Beth Shalom, a synagogue in Alpine, NJ. For 33 years, he has been married to his college sweetheart, Pam, an obstetrician, and they have two adult daughters.

Dennis is running for Congress in New Jersey’s Fifth Congressional District because he believes fundamental change is needed in Washington. He has been outraged by the direction of our country and the record of the Republican incumbent, Scott Garrett. Garrett has voted against stem cell research, against expanding the state Children’s Health Insurance Program, against a woman’s right to choose, against aiding survivors of Hurricane Katrina and for oil drilling on the NJ shore.

The vision Dennis has for America is a society in which all people – regardless of color, gender, orientation, or disability – would play a leadership role, a society in which equality of opportunity was not a goal but the reality, and a society in which seemingly intractable problems like climate change were identified, assessed, and addressed. Dennis is convinced that our country can and must take a global role in confronting this critical issue, and he suspects that our current government’s willingness to resolve this issue has been underestimated by the needlessly skeptical.

As the next representative from New Jersey’s fifth district, Dennis intends to be a champion for the disabled community. He believes that there is enormous untapped potential among the more than 40 million people with serious disability, and that we must advance door opening programs like the Americans with Disabilities Act, rather than see those advances whittled down by corporate interests and their political allies. Given that 70% of the 10 million people with serious visual impairment are not employed, Dennis is determined to put real energy into making sure that the cure to cancer or next great industrial innovation is not lost because its originator was not given a reasonable opportunity to express her or himself.

An outspoken critic of the Iraq War since 2003, Dennis has signed on to “The Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq” and is proud to have earned the endorsement of retired General Wesley Clark. Dennis’ unique and inspiring background and commitment to problem solving has also earned him the endorsement of 21st Century Democrats.

Race Facts

Race Type: Democratic Challenge
Primary Opponent(s): None
Primary Date: June 3, 2008
Primary Election Results: Won Primary
General Opponent(s): Scott Garrett
General Election Date: November 4, 2008
General Election Results: Lost, 42.1% – 56.2%


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