Glendale, Wisconsin , United States
|| February 04, 1970
Aug 17, 2004 09:00pm
Bryan Kennedy has some compelling reasons for running for office and a new and different perspective that is needed in Washington. Bryan and Heather Kennedy are middle class people who come from working class backgrounds. While they have attained a high degree of education, they have not lost touch with their roots.
Bryan was born on February 4, 1970 in Hagerstown, Maryland, a largely blue collar, middle class city in western Maryland. Bryan spent much of his youth as the only child of a single mother. He was very close to his maternal grandparents and spent a great deal of time with them when his mother was working.
Growing up relatively poor instilled in Bryan an understanding that WORK is essential for success in life. With encouragement from his mother and grandparents, Bryan excelled in school and learned to value education as a stepping-stone to a better life.
When Bryan was a teen, he and his mother joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Prior to that time, they were nominal Catholics who rarely attended Church. His mom eventually remarried and Bryan inherited two step brothers, in addition to gaining a father.
Bryan graduated in the top ten of his high school class and attended Brigham Young University on an academic scholarship. He took a two-year leave of absence to serve as a missionary for the LDS Church in northern Portugal. After returning to college, Bryan became interested in Brazil and began pursuing the study of Brazilian culture and literature.
He graduated with his BA in Portuguese and Political Science in 1994 and went to work briefly for former Congressman Bill Orton (D-UT 3rd). Just after graduation, Bryan married his college sweetheart, Heather. Heather was raised on a family farm in eastern Oregon and studied Social Work as an undergraduate. After a short stint in DC, they moved to North Carolina to pursue graduate education. His wife Heather completed a Master’s in Social Work and went to work as a psychotherapist.
While Bryan was still in graduate school the couple had their first child, Noah. At the time, Bryan was writing his dissertation and teaching only on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. They decided that Bryan should stay home with Noah rather than pursue daycare options. This exemplifies a major aspect of Bryan and Heather’s philosophy regarding their family—"No one can raise our children better than we can."
After completing his Ph.D in Romance Languages and Latin American Studies, Bryan taught Spanish for one year. He was hired several years ago to come to UW-Milwaukee and reinvigorate a Portuguese language program that had been floundering. In the first year alone, enrollments tripled. The second year they went up 35% more.
Leighton, their second child, was born at St. Mary’s Ozaukee Hospital in Mequon in late 2001. Bryan and Heather have made many sacrifices to ensure that they do not have to use daycare. They have worked opposite shifts, had one parent work part-time when necessary, and have given up many hobbies and activities to be full-time parents.
Bryan’s academic research is centered on life in the favelas (shantytowns/slums) of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He travels there several times per year and lives among the poor, studying their way of life, their culture, pastimes, religious influences, political leanings and many other aspects of their day-to-day lives. He is most impressed with organizations that empower the poor to take control of their lives and try to pull themselves out of poverty through hard work and fiscal discipline.
It is the outlook of a middle class family man who knows what it is like to survive in our modern society that Bryan will bring to Washington. He knows how hard the middle class work to pay their taxes and he believes that government must act responsibly with the people’s money. Unlike many wealthy elected officials, Bryan has had to work for everything he has achieved. He has overcome many obstacles to get to the point where he is today.