Life’s Paths – Rep. Josh Gottheimer (Pennsylvania, 1997)
1. Tell us briefly about yourself.
I grew up in North Caldwell, NJ where my mother, a teacher, and father, a small business owner, taught me the value of hard work and giving back to my community. They also always stressed the importance of friends and family, and that life isn’t just about your job; it’s also about smelling the flowers along the way. I have tried my best to follow their advice, first at the University of Pennsylvania, where I made lifelong friends at AEPi, in politics working on campaigns and as a speechwriter for President Clinton, then in the private sector at Ford Motor Company and Microsoft. I also had remarkable experiences at Harvard Law and at the Federal Communications Commission. In 2016, I ran for the United States Congress because I was sick and tired of people going to Washington to fight instead of figuring out how to work together to get things done. I now proudly represent New Jersey’s Fifth Congressional District, and I’m working on bipartisan solutions to lower taxes, invest in infrastructure, and stand up for our vital ally Israel. My most important job these days is being a dad and spending time with my wife, Marla, and our two young children, Ellie and Ben, at our home in northern New Jersey.
2. Why did you join AEPi?
When I arrived at the University of Pennsylvania, I knew I wanted to find a fraternity where I could find good friends and stay close to my Jewish identity. I felt right at home at AEPi; we worked hard, played hard, and never took ourselves too seriously. The fraternity also gave me incredible leadership opportunities, as master and then president of the Interfraternity Council. I still go away nearly every year with my fraternity brothers; I’m close to their wives and their children. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. Without AEPi, these experiences, which helped shape me into who I am today, would not have been possible.
3. What inspired you to run for Congress?
I ran for Congress because, like most Americans, I was sick of the partisan gridlock that kept our government from getting anything done. I started my career working for President Clinton, where finding the common sense middle and bipartisan solutions were good things.
Having spent most of my career in the private sector, I know that refusing to compromise helps no one; we simply cannot afford more inaction and obstruction. I came to Congress to work with members of both parties to get things done for New Jersey’s Fifth District and our country. As Co-Chair of the Congressional Problem Solvers Caucus, I have brought members of both parties to the table to find areas where we can work together like cutting taxes, out-of-date regulations, fixing our crumbling infrastructure, standing by our veterans and first responders, and strengthening our national security.
4. Why are you proud to be a Pi?
There are so many reasons I am proud to be a brother, beginning with the community and campus service our chapter did when I was at Penn, my work with the chapters and for Israel on the Foundation board, and the Jewish values AEPi instills in young men around the world. So much of what I learned as a leader came from my time in the fraternity. AEPi continues to be a strong leader on issues that I’m fighting for in Congress, including combating BDS and connecting people to the Jewish state. More than anything, AEPi and my experience in the fraternity has brought me lifelong friendships that I greatly cherish.