WHO IS NATE KLEINMAN?
I’m an activist, organizer, hurricane recovery coordinator, two-time hunger striker, successful non-profit founder, and — in my fifth year now — a farmer. I’m also a devoted son, brother, uncle cousin, nephew, and friend.
I was born in Philadelphia in 1982, and raised in Jenkintown, PA, with my two siblings Molly and Max. My mother was the late Barbara Wolfson, a longtime professor of medicine and radiologist at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, and my father is Jon Kleinman, a retired psychologist who worked in New Jersey state prisons and now lives in Michigan. I’m incredibly lucky to come from such a loving family, with many aunts, uncles, and cousins, a large close-knit extended family on both sides, and a long family tradition of political and social activism.
I’ve led a privileged life, to be sure, which has given me the strong belief that I have a duty to give back. Helping other people is my responsibility.
I spent my young life at Abington Friends School, where equality and service were key values, and later graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service with a degree in Culture & Politics. At Georgetown, I was fortunate enough to study under people like Madeleine Albright, Jeane Kirkpatrick, and Donna Brazile. Living in Washington, D.C. between 2000 and 2004 gave me a firsthand view of many pivotal moments in American history: I protested the Bush v. Gore case outside the Supreme Court; I watched the Pentagon burn from the roof of my building on September 11th; I looked over my shoulder for weeks while the DC snipers terrorized the region; and I marched repeatedly against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
My life since then has been defined by fighting for what I believe in. It has come with surreal highs (like driving Ted Kennedy around for two days) and staggering lows (like missing one of the last family trips with my Mom before she died from cancer). But I’ve learned a great deal from every success and failure. I believe my life experience has made me uniquely qualified to serve in Congress.
To be completely candid, I am a reluctant candidate. This overheated political environment is intimidating, even scary. In addition, I’m certain, after four years of farming and conducting research aimed at fighting climate change, that I’ve found my calling. But I also know that nothing good comes from good people staying out of politics.
I pledge that I will never become a career politician. I’m a farmer. I hope to start a family one day. But this is a critical moment. The future of our country and the world is at stake. I can’t sit on the sidelines.
Getting the kids working
When the family gets together, Nate cooks — and always gets the kids to help.
Nate and his friend Simon Deng (activist and former child slave from South Sudan) after speaking at a synagogue in 2006