Jim Keady

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Jim Keady
Born (1971-10-04) October 4, 1971 (age 47)
Neptune Township, New Jersey
Residence Spring Lake, New Jersey
Nationality American
Alma mater St. John's University
  • Activist * Educator * Politician
Employer Lighthouse Tavern
Known for Nike sweatshops investigation
Home town Belmar, New Jersey
Democratic candidate for
New Jersey's 4th Congressional District
Election date
  • Primary: June 5, 2018
  • General: November 6, 2018
Incumbent Chris Smith (R)
Website 2018 Campaign Website
Democratic nominee for
New Jersey’s 30th Legislative District of the New Jersey General Assembly
Election date
November 3, 2015

Jim Keady (born October 4, 1971) is an American activist, educator, and politician.

Early life and education[edit]

Keady was born in Neptune Township, NJ and grew up in Belmar, NJ. He attended the Christian Brothers Academy all-boys college preparatory school in Middletown Township, NJ. He later went on to receive a Master's degree in Pastoral Theology at St. John's University.


Nike Sweatshops[edit]

In 1998, Keady was conducting research about Nike’s business practices at St. John’s University, the school signed a $3.5 million deal with Nike, forcing all athletes and coaches to endorse Nike. Keady publicly refused to support Nike and was forced to resign his position as soccer coach.[1]

After resigning, Keady continued to research the conditions in Nike's Sweatshops. He traveled to Indonesia and for a month lived among the Nike factory workers, surviving on the $1.25 per day wage the workers earn.[2] Keady's efforts were recognized on many media outlets, including CBS, NBC, Fox, ABC, MSNBC, CNN, HBO Sports, ESPN, the ABC, the BBC, NPR, WBAI, as well as in the NY Times, Newsday, Sports Illustrated, the Daily News, Daily Kos and many other local radio programs and print outlets. He offers an educational workshops called "Beyond the Swoosh" where he shares his experiences living with Nike’s factory workers and his decade long effort to end sweatshop abuses.[3]

After a decade of activism, Indonesian Nike supplier PT Nikomas Gemiland repaid 4437 production workers for 600,000 of forced unpaid labor.[4]

In September 2018, Nike and Keady were in the news again over a controversial ad campaign with Colin Kaepernick, famed football player and social justice protester. Keady was asked to voice his views regarding Nike's stance on social justice in the United States while the company has a history of social justice controversies globally. [5]

Hurricane Sandy[edit]

In 2012, Keady volunteered to lead recovery efforts in his hometown of Belmar, NJ, after Hurricane Sandy. Two years later, Governor Chris Christie visited the town to publicize state recovery efforts. Keady interrupted the press conference to voice his complaints about the pace of recovery. Christie told him to “sit down and shut up.”[6]

The encounter gained national media attention.[7] Keady appeared on several news networks explaining of the $1.1 billion in federal funding allocated to the program, state data showed roughly $530 million has been awarded and more than $222 million has been disbursed.[8]

Over the three months following the confrontation, more recovery funds were disbursed than in the prior three years.[9]

Syrian Refugee Crisis[edit]

In 2015, Keady spent 10 days in Lesbos, Greece to help refugees from war-torn Middle Eastern countries find new lives in the west. Keady said he went to Greece when he saw rising anti-Muslim and anti-refugee sentiment in the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks. "It’s not just a political issue; these are people," said Keady. "These are people that just want a better life. They left areas that have been ravaged by war."[10]

Hurricane Maria[edit]

In 2017, after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, Keady made multiple humanitarian trips to provide aid to the people of the island.[11]

Legislative career[edit]

Asbury Park City Council[edit]

In 2005, Keady served on the Asbury Park City Council. He ran with two other city residents but he was the only one on his team to be elected. While on council, Keady served as co-chair of the council’s subcommittee on affordable housing; the Asbury Works advisory board; the Springwood Avenue redevelopment advisory committee; the subcommittee on homelessness; and the parking commission.[12] Keady resigned six months before his four-year term was up, due to family reasons.[13]

NJ State Assembly[edit]

In 2015, Keady ran for state General Assembly in New Jersey’s 30th Legislative District, citing the lack of leadership, accountability and transparency following Hurricane Sandy recovery as his motivation to run.[14] Keady received endorsement of Rage Against the Machine guitarist and social activist Tom Morello.[15]

Keady finished in 3rd place behind the two Republican Incumbents in the election.[16]

US Congress[edit]

In 2016, the DCCC recruited Keady to run for the United States House of Representatives in New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional district. He lost the Democratic primary to Democratic Republican candidate Frederick John Lavergne.[17]

In February 2017, Keady announced his run for Congress in his home New Jersey's 4th Congressional District.[citation needed] Keady received an endoresement from Progressive Democrats of America and Our Revolution New Jersey Volunteers, DHU: Demand Universal Healthcare, among others (http://pdamerica.org/elections/candidates/) (http://ourrevnj.org/endorsements) (http://duh4all.org/2018-candidates/ushouseandsenatecandidates.html). He lost the primary to Joshua Welle, who will run as a Democrat against heavily favored Republican incumbent Chris Smith. (https://patch.com/new-jersey/marlboro-coltsneck/new-jersey-district-4-primary-election-results-congress)


  1. ^ Gonzalez, David (1998-09-16). "About New York; God And Swoosh At St. John's". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  2. ^ Vlahoyiannis, Corinna. "Jim Keady speaks out against Nike". Villanovan (Villanova University). Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  3. ^ "Behind the Swoosh:Sweatshops and Social Justice / Jim Keady". ciaspeakers.com. Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  4. ^ "Subscribe to The Australian | Newspaper home delivery, website, iPad, iPhone & Android apps". www.theaustralian.com.au. Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  5. ^ {Cite: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/9/4/1793129/-Colin-Kaepernick-Nike-s-Sweatshops?_=2018-09-04T07:46:33.560-07:00}
  6. ^ Christie to heckler: Sit down, shut up - CNN Video, retrieved 2018-03-11
  7. ^ "Meet man Christie told to 'sit down and shut up'". NBC News. Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  8. ^ "Heckler who Christie told to 'sit down and shut up' says N.J. residents deserve answers". NJ.com. Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  9. ^ "Standing up to Chris Christie: How 4 Shore residents fought the bully -- and got results". Asbury Park Press. Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  10. ^ "Spring Lake man helps Syrian refugees in Greece". Asbury Park Press. Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  11. ^ "Candidates break from the campaign trail to aid Puerto Rico - Insider NJ". Insider NJ. Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  12. ^ "Keady seeks return to council". Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  13. ^ "Asbury Park councilman James Keady plans to resign". NJ.com. Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  14. ^ "Man Christie told to 'sit down and shut up' will run for N.J. Assembly". NJ.com. Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  15. ^ "Rage Against the Machine guitarist promotes Assembly candidate". Politico PRO. Retrieved 2018-03-11.
  16. ^ "Official List, Candidates for General Assembly for GENERAL ELECTION 11/03/2015 Election" (PDF). Secretary of State of New Jersey. Retrieved February 12, 2016.
  17. ^ "Frederick LaVergne to face Rep. Tom MacArthur in fall - Philly". Philly.com. Retrieved 2018-03-11.