Ashley is a passionate believer in the policies that truly benefit everyone.

In 2017 Ashley Bennett made history and national headlines when she was elected Freeholder in the 3rd District of Atlantic County New Jersey.

Motivated to run after the incumbent Republican mocked the 2017 Women’s March asking will they be back in “time for them to cook dinner?”, the 32 year-old mental health counselor, Ashley Bennett was elected to office in a suburban district never before held by a woman, an African American or a Democrat.

Born and raised in Atlantic County, New Jersey, Ashley is the product of three generations of South Jersey working families. Ashley’s maternal grandparents, who migrated from a small town in South Carolina for better opportunities, worked at the Lennox China factory in Mays Landing. Her father’s parents, native to Atlantic City, worked as a janitor and a security guard in the public schools.

Ashley credits her mother with teaching resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity and hardship. Raising three children as a single parent while on disability due to suffering a brain tumor and brain surgery and overcoming crushing financial setbacks, instilled the values of faith, family, hard work and service.

Those values inspired Ashley to consider a vocation in ministry as a young girl but the events of 9/11 set her life on a different course. Agonizing over the fate of two family members, one in the south tower that day and one in a building next door (she later learned they were spared) and seeing the heroic and selfless efforts of the first responders, Ashley was inspired to enroll in EMT school with hopes of one day becoming an emergency room physician.

It was in the back of an ambulance that Ashley truly discovered her vocation as a mental health provider.

She’s been in the field of mental health for over a decade with much of that time as a psychiatric emergency screener providing crisis assessments and linking those in need with mental health treatment.

Accomplishments
Education
In the News

It was my empathy for and connection to those who are too often forgotten, dismissed and ignored in our society that drove me to run for Freeholder.

It is that same affinity, compassion and passion that propels me to the decision I’ve made today.

Ashley Bennett

Accomplishments

In her role as District 3 Freeholder, Ashley currently serves as the Liaison to the Atlantic County Youth Services Commission and Library Advisory Commission. She was recently nominated to the National Association of Counties Human Services and Education Steering Committee for 2019 and renominated for 2020. She is a 2018 New Leaders Council Fellow, as well as serves on their National Advancement team advisory subcommittee.

Ashley is the advisory board chair for the South Jersey Young Dems Black Caucus and in September of 2018 Ashley was named by The Root.com to their 100 influential African Americans of 2018. In 2019, Ashley was chair, organizer, and visionary behind the Inaugural Women’s March in Atlantic City honoring the legacy of Civil Rights Activist Fannie Lou Hamer. She served on the host/planning committee for the YEO Young Elected Officials Network’s first ever Women’s Conference which brought over 100 young elected women at all levels of government from across the country to NYC in early February for training and networking.

Ashley is one of the recipients of the 2019 Shirley Chisholm Breakthrough Leadership Award, presented at the 2019 Summit for Civil Rights, where she served as Co-chair of the Summit with Professor Theodore Shaw, renowned Civil Rights Scholar and former president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

Ashley serves as secretary on the executive board for the Southern New Jersey Freeholder Association. Currently Ashley’s political  story is profiled in the book “Why I Run” which hit bookshelves in March of 2019. As well as documented in the fourth edition of a textbook titled “Women and Politics: Paths to Power and Political Influence” & Rebecca Traister’s book “Good & Mad.”

Education

Ashley Bennett graduated Egg Harbor Township High School in 2003. While in high school, Ashley became an Emergency Medical Technician and discovered her passion to serve others. Ashley went on to attend Rutgers University, where she earned a degree in Psychology and a minor in Organizational Leadership. While at Rutgers, Ashley became a Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program Scholar and completed original research as well as presented at the McNair Conference at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. She went on to pursue a graduate degree at Georgian Court University, where she earned a Masters in Community Counseling.

Ashley furthered her education by completing a Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Clinical Psychology from Fielding Graduate University, where she worked in The Forensic Neuropsychology Research as a Research Assistant. During this time she has presented original research at both the Association for Psychological Science and the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies National Conferences.

Ashley has also been the project leader in the Forensic lab for the past two years on Exposure to Violence and Trauma research. She is currently working with her advisor and research team members on several manuscripts for publication.

Ashley has been in the mental health field for a decade and currently works as a psychiatric emergency screener in a local emergency room where she conducts mental health assessments and links those in crisis with mental health treatment.

Ashley is completing two additional graduate degrees in Public Health and Business Administration, with plans to get involved with policy.

In the News

Coverage of Ashley’s race for Freeholder brought inspired a new generation of candidates and elected officials. Ashley has been featured in national and international media outlets like the Fox29 News with Hank Flynn, News One Now with Roland Martin, MSNBC Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, MSNBC Mitchell Reports with Andrea Mitchell, Daily Show with Trevor Noah, WNYC Sunday Calling with Joan Walsh, MSNBC with Richard Lui, MSNBC with Rachel Maddow, WNYC Brian Lehrer, CNN Erin Burnett Out Front, The View and the Associated Press.

Ashley was a featured speaker at the 2018 Women’s March in New York City. This past January Ashley along with a number of women running for office graced the cover of TIME magazine. Ashley is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.

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