Mario De Santis is a public-school teacher and progressive

Democrat running for office in New Jersey's First Congressional 

District.

     The grandson of educators, Mario has not left the classroom in three

decades. A product of public education, he grew to appreciate the role public schools play in cultivating strong communities. Though he faced challenges growing up in a socially conservative district as an openly gay student, it was his classroom teachers who made him feel safest. These experiences solidified his life-long commitment to education and advocating for others. 

     Early in his career, Mario discovered his musical talents could serve as avenues for building community and promoting advocacy. One of his first jobs was working with The Gabriel Project, a fine and performing arts non-profit which sought to ease the burden of children's medical expenses. Understanding this valuable lesson, he challenged his own students to apply their talents to provide relief during the pandemic and organized similar efforts. The result of these projects provided relief aid for the Camden County Women's Shelter and the Community FoodBank of New Jersey - efforts featured on the local news and honored by the State Board of Education Student Recognition Program. 

                                            During the pandemic, Mario advocated for New Jersey's immigrant students

                                                   and joined a coalition of teachers to pressure our legislature to include 

                                                      immigrant families in COVID-19 relief aid. He successfully lobbied to                                                                    increase accessibility of local municipal meetings and was a strong                                                                  voice in calling on the federal Department of Education to issue                                                                      waivers for state standardized tests. During this time, he organized                                                                 local actions and met with congressional staff to compel                                                                                 representatives to support universal healthcare. He continues to join                                                           national demonstrations for Medicare for All and the Voting Rights Act.                                                         With his partner Fawaz, an academic dentist, he continues to advocate for a                                             single-payer, universal healthcare plan.

     Mario is currently an ABD doctoral candidate at Boston University. Motivated by his first-hand experiences with educational inequities, his dissertation topic concerns educational disparities through the framework of critical race and disruptive innovation theories.