Meet our Campaign Committee!

Campaign Co-Chairs

Barbara Buono

Hon. Jerry Green, Assemblyman, 22nd District

Hon. Brian Hughes, Mercer County Executive

Hon. Shirley Turner, Senator, 15th District

 

Committee Chairs

 Finance Chair - Lonny Kaplan

Policy Chair - Judy Persichilli, RN, BSN, MA

 

 Committee Members

Hon. W. Reed Gusciora, Assemblyman, 15th District

James Johnson, Esq.

Hon. Colleen Mahr - Mayor, Fanwood

Dr. Randal Pinkett

Milly Silva

Hon. Bert Steinmann - Mayor, Ewing Township

John "Jay" Watson Jr.

 

Committee Bios

 

CO-CHAIRS

 

Barbara Buono

 

Barbara Buono was elected to the New Jersey State Senate in 2001 and was reelected in 2003, 2007, and 2011 to represent the 18th Legislative District, which includes East Brunswick, Edison, Helmetta, Highland Park, Metuchen, South Plainfield, South River.  Buono served as a member of the General Assembly for seven years after winning a special election in December 1994 and was reelected in 1995, 1997 and 1999.  In the Assembly, Buono became the ranking Democrat on the Assembly Budget Committee. 

 

Buono, an attorney, currently serves as Vice Chair of the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee, member of the Health, Human Services, & Senior Citizens Committee and member of the State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee. Up until January 2010, she was the first woman to chair the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. Buono then became New Jersey’s first woman to serve as Senate Majority Leader until January 2012. During her tenure in the Legislature, she has established a reputation as a consensus-builder during the state’s challenging fiscal times.

 

Senator Buono authored New Jersey’s “School Funding Reform Act” which ensures that every child regardless of where they live will receive a quality education.  She was the prime sponsor of the “Stroke Centers Law” requiring the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services to designate hospitals as primary or comprehensive stroke centers which provide complete and specialized care to patients who experience the most complex strokes. In addition, she was a prime sponsor of laws authorizing stem cell research in New Jersey and providing funding for construction of the Stem Cell Institute of New Jersey. 

 

Buono has continued her advocacy for health care issues by authoring the law requiring hospitals to implement new infectious disease controls to eliminate drug resistant staph infections.  Senator Buono was also the sponsor of the law banning smoking in college and university dormitories.   She was a prime sponsor of consumer protection measures restricting telemarketing by creating the most stringent “Do Not Call” database legislation in the nation and prohibiting the practice of predatory lending, in which lenders issue loans with hidden costs and excessive fees to homeowners, eroding their financial security and putting their homes at risk.

 

As a mother of four, Senator Buono has dedicated herself to insuring the welfare of children and families.  She sponsored the bill requiring criminal background checks for childcare workers as well as a bill that created the state’s anti-bulling law and strengthened the state’s hate crimes law. She was also responsible for writing the law establishing a “School Violence Prevention Week” in every New Jersey school, as well as a law prohibiting schools from posting personal student information on their websites.

 

Senator Buono was the prime sponsor of the “Global Warming Response Act” mandating the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, followed by a further reduction of emissions to 80 percent below 2006 levels by 2050.  New Jersey was the third state in the nation make greenhouse gas reduction goals law.

 

Buono was the sponsor of the “Paid Family Leave Act,” which authorizes up to six weeks of paid leave for an employee who is caring for an ill family member or bonding with a newborn or recently adopted child.

 

Buono received her law degree from Rutgers University.  She began her career as a criminal trial attorney for the NJ State Department of the Public Advocate and later entered private practice.  As a former Metuchen Councilwoman, she brought a sense of fiscal responsibility to the community by stabilizing tax rates without lowering the quality and availability of local services. While the Metuchen Police Commissioner, Buono worked to increase safety in suburban neighborhoods and instituted Metuchen’s community policing program.

 

Most recently in March 2012, Senator Buono received LUPE’s Amiga Award. In November 2011, she received an award of appreciation for outstanding achievement from the Sierra Club. In October 2011, she was honored by the NJ YMCA State Alliance with the Friend of the YMCA Award in recognition of outstanding dedication and continuous support to the communities. Earlier this year, Senator Buono was also inducted into the Garden State Equality Hall of Fame in June and honored by the Middlesex County Commission on the Status of Women, “Citizen of the Year” Award in Government in March. In 2010, Senator Buono received the Women’s Equality Day Leadership Award from the Department of Community Affairs’ Division on Women. She was also honored at PAM’s List’s Annual Event and the Consumers League of New Jersey’s 110th Anniversary. Also in 2010, she received a certificate of appreciation from the Middlesex County Bar Association at their annual legislators’ breakfast, the “Barbara Jordan Political Action” Award from the Metuchen-Edison Branch of the NAACP as well as the “Community Health Champion Award” from the NJ Primary Care Association. In 2009, she received the 2009 Barbara Boggs Sigmund Award from the Women’s Political Caucus of NJ as well as an Award of Appreciation from the New Jersey League of Municipalities’ Women in Municipal Government Committee in March of 2009. Also in 2009, Senator Buono was honored at the 5th Annual Women’s Health Advocates Recognition Breakfast hosted by the New Jersey Primary Care Association (NJPCA) and the New Jersey Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC). In 2008, Senator Buono was honored by the Agudath Israel of New Jersey at their Inaugural Legislative Breakfast. In 2006, Senator Buono received the Humanitarian Award from Edison Sheltered Workshop and the Peter J. Barnes Community Champion Award from the Metuchen Edison Woodbridge YMCA.  She was presented with “The Advocate” award from NJAWBO in honor of her support of women business owners in 2005.  The NJ Department of Environmental Protection presented her with the 2004 Women’s History Month Government Leadership Award for Protecting New Jersey’s Environment.  She has been honored by the JCC of Middlesex County and is a recipient of the ARC Equal Justice Award and NJ School-Age Care Coalition Legislator’s Award.  NJ Child Assault Prevention Project and MADD both named her their 2003 Legislator of the Year and AARP presented her with their first NJ Advocacy Appreciation Award.  The Senator received the “Woman of Distinction” Award from Soroptimist International of the Greater Westfield Area as well as acknowledgements from the Displaced Homemakers Network of NJ, the Literacy Volunteers of Middlesex County, the Prodigal Foundation, and the Consumers for Civil Justice.  Buono has received numerous awards for her involvement in 2002 including the “Service Above Self” award from the Edison Rotary Club and the Distinguished Legislator Leadership Award from the Hemophilia Association of NJ.  Among her other honors are the 2001 Hubert Humphrey Friend of Labor award from the Middlesex County AFL-CIO Labor Council and the 1999 Legislator of the Year Award from the Association for the Education of Young Children.

 

Senator Buono is married to Dr. Martin Gizzi and has four children: Sarah, Allegra, Lance and Tessa and two step-daughters, Ariella and Sofia.  She resides in Metuchen.

 

Hon. Jerry Green

Assemblyman, 22nd District

 

Gerald “Jerry” Green is the Union County Democratic Organization Chairman and is currently serving his eleventh term in the New Jersey General Assembly. As Speaker Pro Tempore, Assemblyman Green serves in the 22nd Legislative District which includes Dunellen, Middlesex, Green Brook, North Plainfield, Clark, Fanwood, Linden, Plainfield, Rahway, Scotch Plains and Winfield.  He serves as a member of the Assembly Health and Human Services Committee from the 2004 legislative session to the present.. In his years in the Assembly, Jerry has served on the Assembly Housing, Transportation, Local Government and Health Committees.  Jerry is currently Chairman of the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee.  

 

Jerry is a lifetime resident of Union County.  Early in his career, he worked for a major retail food chain in a management position.  For the last thirty years, he has been a self-employed businessperson and consultant. 

 

Jerry has been an active public servant for over twenty five years.  He twice served as Freeholder for Union County in 1982-84 and 1989-91 and was the Chairman of the Freeholders Board in 1990.  He served on the Union County Planning Board, the Parks & Recreation Committee, and Human Services and Economic Development.   He also served on the Union County Adolescent Substance Abuse Program, the Private Industry Council, the Union County Municipal Utilities Authority and is an honorary member of the Union County Police Chiefs Association.   Jerry was one of the facilitators responsible for bringing the Union County College campus to Plainfield.  He was one of the key sponsors of legislature to assist victims affected by Hurricane Floyd. 

 

Jerry has been in the forefront as a Legislator in the Assembly dealing with environmental issues as well as open space.  NJPIRG Citizen Lobby, a non-partisan lobbyist group, gave Assemblyman Green a score of 100% in dealing with environmental issues in the state.  On September 16, 2004, the Constitutional Officers Association of New Jersey recognized Jerry as ALegislator of the Year@ during their annual conference in Atlantic City.

 

Most recently Jerry has received the: 2005 Affordable Housing Award from the New Jersey Builders Administration, 2008 The Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey Legislator of the Year Award, 2009 New Jersey Builders Association Distinguished Service Award, and in 2011 he was a recipient of the US Senate Proclamation recognizing the NJ Legislative Black Caucus for its civil and civic service.

 

Jerry has been a prime sponsor of legislation dealing with crimes that now affect suburban communities.  He has worked hard on behalf of the Seniors, bringing thousands of dollars to the Districts to support Senior Citizen issues. In addition to bringing additional funding to the Districts to upgrade schools, he has worked to ensure that our children are educated in a safe environment Jerry played a key role in returning Plainfield to an Abbott District status which has brought over $100 Million per year to the District to educate the children and millions in construction dollars to renovate and build new schools.  Jerry was one of the key sponsors of the bill that required institutions of higher education to install sprinkler systems in all dormitories.

 

Those less fortunate have always received Jerry's attention.  He served with the Salvation Army, participated in numerous fundraising drives for cancer and organizations dealing with diseases that affect families. Jerry was the Honorary WalkAmerica Chairman for the Northern Jersey Chapter of the March of Dimes as well as its Finance Committee / Membership Chairman. Jerry resides in Plainfield, New Jersey with his wife, Wanda.

 

 

Hon. Brian Hughes

County Executive, Mercer County

 

Brian M. Hughes is the fourth person to serve as Mercer County Executive. He was elected in November 2003, becoming the first Democrat to hold the post in 24 years, and was re-elected to a third term in November 2011.

Hughes, the son of former Governor and Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard J. Hughes, has lived in Mercer County most of his life, both in Trenton and in Princeton. Prior to becoming County Executive, Hughes served as Deputy Executive Director of the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. In 1997, Hughes was elected to the Board of Chosen Freeholders and served two terms, including a term as Freeholder President.

Hughes has focused on restoring fiscal discipline to County government and expanding economic opportunities for all County residents. The county tax rate is significantly lower than it was when County Executive Hughes first took office in 2004. The tax rate at that time was almost 55 cents per $100 of assessed property value. Because of prudent fiscal management and good government practices, the County has actually lowered its tax rate in the past five years through 2008. Today the tax rate stands at 48 cents per $100 of assessed property value. Under his leadership, Mercer County has pursued a stronger relationship with the private sector, opening the government bidding process to more businesses, implementing innovative loan and Co-Op programs, and holding workshops and seminars to assist businesses, contractors, and vendors in doing business with Mercer County.

Since taking office, Hughes has consistently maintained his priorities of sound financial management, job creation, and enhancing and retaining essential County services with minimal impact on taxpayers.

Currently, the County Executive is spearheading the critical effort to construct a new criminal courthouse in downtown Trenton to replace the existing, century-old courthouse. This is the largest, most complex public construction project in the County’s history. Not only does this project bring hundreds of new labor jobs, but it will also restore some of the beauty to downtown Trenton. The new courthouse is being built to environmentally-friendly LEED standards as well, which simply means it will use energy, light, and water very efficiently—saving taxpayer money in the future.

With the struggling economy affecting all residents, Hughes has vowed to help County residents who need it the most. Services for seniors, disadvantaged children and teens, and low-income families have been a high priority, with millions of dollars in funding going directly to these constituencies. Job fairs for youth, veterans, and senior citizens have increased in regularity in the past year. With the recession impacting many of the more than 17,000 independent businesses in Mercer, the Mercer County Loan Fund can offer loans between $25,000 and $125,000 to businesses small and large. No community is complete without a vibrant and diverse economy, and Hughes pledges to continue to attract new economic opportunity to Mercer County.

During his time in office, Hughes has also championed a variety of initiatives to improve health and safety in Mercer County’s constituent communities.  In cooperation with the Mercer County Improvement Authority, the County Executive has continued to encourage County residents to keep our environment pristine. Hughes tripled the number of MCIA “Disposal Days,” which give residents the opportunity to properly dispose of hazardous and electronic waste. Hughes also restructured the County Office of Economic Development by adding a sustainability component, which seeks to find new ways to promote green living in the County. Many ongoing shared services projects, created after the County’s Shared Services Conference in 2007 led by Hughes, are seeking ways to cut costs and reduce waste.

With the belief that all people deserve equal opportunity and equal protection, in 2006 Hughes played an instrumental role in making full health, dental, vision, and retirement benefits available to County employees in domestic partnerships.

As County Executive, Hughes has led an ambitious effort to further the County’s open space preservation efforts, including a successful ballot initiative that provides additional funding to the program. To date, the Hughes administration has preserved 2,873 acres of open space and farmland, for a total of 19,567 preserved acreage countywide, ensuring natural resources and local agriculture will always have a place in Mercer County.

In 2004, thanks to Hughes’ efforts, in partnership with the Board of Chosen Freeholders, Mercer County became the first county in New Jersey – and quite possibly in the nation – to ban the practice of pay-to-play by strictly limiting political contributions from individuals or entities seeking to do business with the County. This focus on ethics reform also led Hughes to create the County’s first Office of Inspector General.

Hughes is a graduate of Thomas Edison State College. He lives in Princeton and is married to Pamela Rago Hughes. The couple has a son, Sullivan.


 

 

Hon. Shirley K. Turner

Senator, 15th District

 

Senator Turner is a Senator for New Jersey’s 15th District.  Prior to serving in the Senate, Shirley served two terms in the Assembly in 1993 and 1995.  During the 208th Legislature, Senator Turner became the first woman and first African-American to be elected as Senate President Pro Tempore.  

    Senator Turner is the founding member of the Women’s Legislative Caucus and a member of the Legislative Black Caucus.  She is a Commissioner for the Education Commission of the States, a national, nonpartisan interstate compact devoted to education, and also serves on the Commission's Steering Committee.
        
Senator Turner has worked in a bipartisan fashion to build a significant record of legislative accomplishments, working to enhance the health, safety, and well-being of New Jersey’s children, strengthen families, promote public health, develop and support small businesses, and also fostering economic safety, production and job growth. The breadth of legislation she has sponsored reflects the needs and interests of her diverse district.

Among Senator Turner’s legislative accomplishments, she has created laws to require that the health and safety of a child be the State’s paramount concern in cases where a child is placed outside the home; require criminal history checks of child care center employees, and school employees and volunteers; establish procedures for the placement of a minor child whose caretaker is incarcerated; enhance school bus safety; provide more scholarship opportunities, including allowing students to attend two-year and four-year state colleges at no cost; establish nutrition standards and eye exams for students; and promote mentoring and after-school programs for at-risk youth.  Senator Turner has been critical of the State’s practice of placing at-risk children out of state and away from the support of their families.  As Chair of the Senate Education Committee, Senator Turner has overseen legislation which has improved education for children in primary and secondary schools and helped to keep New Jersey’s schools among the highest performing in the nation.  She has recently worked to expand school choice by permanently establishing such a program in the Department of Education.

Senator Turner received national acclaim for her efforts to protect jobs by preventing publicly-funded jobs from being outsourced to foreign countries, setting the precedent for 21 other states that followed Senator Turner’s lead. She has also established laws to provide MicroCredit Business loans for women; mandate insurance coverage of minimum hospital stays for mastectomies and child birth; and protect consumers from identity theft, predatory lending, and telemarketing calls.  She also pioneered the legislation that eventually established bars and restaurants as smoke-free.  Senator Turner has also worked to create increased opportunities for affordable housing and homeownership.  

Senator Turner was at the forefront of legislation to abolish the death penalty and worked to create drug court programs statewide for first-time, non-violent offenders.  She has fought to reduce gun and gang crimes and violence by establishing zero tolerance for illegal weapons and ammunition sales and transfers.  She has fought to reform unfair and unaffordable motor vehicle surcharge laws, with a goal of restoring drivers’ licenses and removing the barrier to employment. Senator Turner has been a strong voice for government reform.  She was the prime sponsor of the legislation that created the clean elections pilot programs and has been active in her support for other ethics and election reforms.  Her voting record consistently reflects her efforts to reduce patronage and promote efficiency and transparency in government spending.  She is continuing the fight to help reform New Jersey’s regressive property tax system and to promote and encourage consolidation of school districts and municipalities.

As a career educator, Senator Turner has been dedicated to New Jersey’s youth, helping them to build bright futures.  She is a former Trenton public school teacher, a former EOF counselor to disadvantaged youth who are first-generation college students, and a former counselor for the New Jersey Youth Corps to help prepare youth for employment. She currently works at Rider University where she is an Associate Director of Career Services advising college students and alumni in their career plans.  She received a B.S. in education from The College of New Jersey (formerly Trenton State College) and a M.A. in guidance and counseling from Rider University.  She earned doctoral credits in education at Rutgers University.  Senator Turner is a former Mercer County Freeholder and Freeholder vice president.  She and her husband Donald have two children, daughter, Jacqueline and son-in-law Gregory and son, Chet and daughter-in-law Tonia.  They have five grandchildren, Deron, Briana, Bryson, Faith, and Chandler.

 

FINANCE CHAIR

Lonny Kaplan

 

POLICY CHAIR

Judith M. Persichilli, RN, BSN, MA
Interim President and CEO

Judith M. Persichilli, R.N., B.S.N., M.A., is president and chief executive officer of Catholic Health East. In April 2013, she was also named interim president and CEO of the new ministry to be formed by the consolidation of Catholic Health East and Trinity Health of Livonia, Mich.

Persichilli joined CHE in 2003 as the executive vice president of the Mid-Atlantic Division. She was promoted to executive vice president of acute care for the System in 2008 and then to executive vice president and chief operating officer in December 2009 before assuming the role of CEO. Prior to joining CHE's System Office, she served for eight years as CEO at St. Francis Medical Center in Trenton, N.J.

Persichilli received her nursing diploma from the St. Francis Hospital School of Nursing in 1968, a bachelor of science in nursing summa cum laude from Rutgers University in 1976, and a master of arts in administration summa cum laude from Rider College in 1980. She also received an honorary doctor of health degree from Georgian Court University in 2009. In May 2011, Persichilli received an honorary doctor of humane letters from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn.

Persichilli is a member of various community agencies and is a member of several community boards, including the Health Care Administration Board of the State of New Jersey where she was appointed by the governor.

She also serves on the board of directors of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute; the Hopewell Valley Community Bank as an emeritus director and founder; the Kerney Foundation board of trustees. She previously served on the Rider University board of trustees. Persichilli recently served as vice-chair of the partnership board of Keystone Mercy Health Plan. She is also a member of the American Nurses Association, the New Jersey State Nurses Association and American College of Healthcare Executives.

In 2006, Persichilli was inducted into the New Jersey State Nurses Association Hall of Honor. She also received the Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton's highest honor when she was awarded The 2008 Richard J. Hughes Humanitarian Award. In 2011, Persichilli was named one of the 50 most powerful people in New Jersey health care by NJ Biz and was selected by KYW Newsradio as a recipient of its annual Women's Achievement Award. She also received the 2011 Edward J. Ill Excellence in Medicine Award for Outstanding Medical Executive.

In September 2011, Persichilli was awarded the Benemerenti Medal, a papal honor bestowed on her by Pope Benedict XVI. In October 2011, the Philadelphia Business Journal's inaugural Healthcare Innovation Awards program named Persichilli as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. And in January 2012, she was appointed to the AHA Health Care Systems Governing Council.

Persichilli was named to Becker's Hospital Review's "300 Hospital and Health System Leaders to Know" list in 2012, which recognizes individuals leading prominent American health care organizations. She also serves on the Healthcare Financial Management Association's Healthcare Leadership Council. In October 2012, Persichilli co-founded the Catholic Foundation of Greater Philadelphia, which provides fundraising support to Catholic causes and organizations throughout the Greater Philadelphia region. In April 2013, Modern Healthcare named Persichilli to its 2013 list of Top 25 Women in Healthcare.

Persichilli resides in Pennington, N.J., with her husband, Hon. Anthony Persichilli, Pennington's mayor.

 

 

COMMITTEE MEMBERS

 

Hon. W. Reed Gusciora

Assemblyman, 15th District

 

Assemblyman Reed Gusciora got his start in New Jersey state politics working on the 1989 gubernatorial campaign of the late Barbara Boggs Sigmund.  He studied international relations at The Catholic University of America and earned a J.D. at Seton Hall University in 1988.  Gusciora previously worked in the congressional office of the late Mike Synar (D-OK).

Mr. Gusciora is serving his tenth term in the General Assembly.  He serves as the Chairman for the Assembly Regulatory Oversight Committee and a member of the Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee.   He also sits on the Governor’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS and the New Jersey State Museum Board of Trustees.

Gusciora attained national notoriety when Governor Christie called him “numbnuts,” over the Assemblyman’s bill to allow same-sex marriages in the state, which the Governor vetoed.  He is the first openly gay legislator to serve in the New Jersey State House. 

Not one to shy away from controversy, Gusciora sponsored the State’s Medical Marijuana law as well as the ban on smoking in bars and restaurants.  He is also sponsor of the state’s electronic waste recycling program and the law adopting California’s ‘clean car’ emission standards.  He is currently working on legislation allowing ‘tax credits’ to home and business owners who fix up historic properties.

In previous sessions, Assemblyman Gusciora sponsored the laws mandating “paper trails” for electronic voting machines; eliminating the 100 year old law placing liens on psychiatric patients at state institutions; changing the legal standard in child custody cases to protect the health and well being of a child when abuse has occurred; and streamlining developmentally disabled services through the Departments of Health, Human Services and Education; and establishing the state’s first “needle exchange” program. 

Assemblyman Gusciora was born March 27, 1960, in Passaic, NJ.  He attended public schools in Jamesburg and graduated in 1978.  Mr. Gusciora is currently municipal prosecutor in Princeton, Lawrence and Hopewell Borough.  He also teaches American Government at the College of New Jersey.  He is also a board member of Mercer ARC.  He is resident of the City of Trenton.

 

James Johnson, Esq

Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

James Johnson is a litigation partner who focuses his practice on white collar criminal defense, internal investigations, corporate compliance and corporate crisis management in connection with internal investigations. Mr. Johnson is recognized as a leading lawyer in white collar criminal defense and is commended in The Legal 500 US (2007) for his ‘calm and methodical demeanor’ as well as his ‘clear sense of high ethics and morals’. 

Mr. Johnson has the distinction of having held several senior positions in the United States Department of the Treasury, including Under Secretary of the Treasury for Enforcement (1998-2000) and Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Enforcement (1996-1998). He oversaw the operations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms, the Secret Service, the United States Customs Service, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and the Office of Foreign Assets Control. In total, Mr. Johnson oversaw approximately 29,000 employees and shared oversight of an operating budget exceeding $4.2 billion. Mr. Johnson also served as an Assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York (1990-1996), where he rose to Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division (1993-1996). During his tenure in the Southern District, he assisted in the management of the Criminal Division while prosecuting a wide variety of criminal cases, and was detailed to the United States Department of the Treasury to serve on the White House Security Review. 

At the Department of the Treasury, Mr. Johnson oversaw many complex criminal investigations, including the multinational anti-money laundering investigation code named Operation Casablanca which ensnared banking officials and co-conspirators in Mexico, Los Angeles, New York and Colombia. Mr. Johnson led the development of the United States Government’s strategy against the Black Market Peso exchange, the largest money laundering system in the Western Hemisphere. He also spearheaded the designation of the first High Intensity Financial Crimes Areas, which focused federal and state regional efforts against money laundering.  

Since returning to private practice, Mr. Johnson has represented individuals, audit committees and corporations in connection with a wide variety of regulatory, enforcement and Congressional matters, and has taken on several high profile public projects. He now serves as Monitor in U.S. ex rel. Anti-Discrimination Center of NY v. Westchester County. He also led Governor Corzine’s Advisory Committee on Police Standards. 

Mr. Johnson has received numerous awards for his service and accomplishments in both private practice and public service. He is the recipient of the Alexander Hamilton Award (the Department of Treasury’s highest award, given to officials for excellence in service) and the Attorney General’s Certificate for Excellence in Prosecution. In 2003, Mr. Johnson was named to Black Enterprise’s List of the Nation’s Top Black Lawyers and to Crain’s New York Business’s List of Most Powerful Minorities. Mr. Johnson was recently elected as a member of the Harvard College Board of Overseers. He is former Chair of the Board of the Brennan Center for Justice and is also a trustee of the Montclair Art Museum. 

He is the author of numerous articles that have appeared in national publications, of which a selected few are: “Privacy and Privilege in Cross-Jurisdictional Internal Investigations,” Internal Investigations 2009: How to Protect Your Clients or Company (2009); “Bench Unfair Judge Picking Process Now,” Daily News (2006); and “Don't Make Miranda Meaningless,” co-authored with former FBI Director William S. Sessions in The Washington Post (2003). 

Mr. Johnson joined Debevoise in 1987 and rejoined in 2004 as a partner. He served as a Law Clerk to the Honorable Robert E. Keeton, US District Court for the District of Massachusetts (1986-1987). He received his J.D. cum laude in 1986 from Harvard Law School, where he contributed to the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, and received his A.B. cum laudefrom Harvard College in 1983.

 

 

Hon. Colleen Mahr

Mayor, Fanwood Township

 

Colleen Mahr has represented Fanwood as Mayor since 2004.

Colleen Mahr, 48, is a resident of Fanwood N.J. Born in Scotch Plains, New Jersey; she inherited her interest in politics and public service from her mother Nancy Yewaisis who served on Governor Brendan Byrne’s staff for many years.

Mayor Mahr earned her B.A. from Rosemont College in Pennsylvania. She has held the position of Mayoral Aide in Jersey City, rising to the post of Jersey City's Assistant Director of Housing and Economic Development.  Here, Colleen developed in-depth analyses of business trends, legislation, real estate and industrial capacity and applied the resulting data towards planning, organizing and directing economic enhancement for Jersey City.

Taking a break from the public sector, Colleen moved on to serve as Marketing Director for First Savings Bank where she developed marketing strategies to raise the bank’s visibility. From there, Mayor Mahr moved to Mosaica Education where she served as Director of Development, working with local governments to identify suitable sites, negotiate the purchase and oversee the construction of charter schools for this growing enterprise. 

In 2003 Colleen shifted gears and was blessed with the first of her three sons.  But her boundless energy, moved her to accept the call of the local Democrats, and she ran for and won the seat of Mayor in Fanwood and won the first of three terms.

An activist Mayor, Colleen brought her years of professional experience in development to bear and kick-started the languishing downtown redevelopment plans that had been discussed for decades.  Her election had been something of a referendum on downtown redevelopment and her platform against acquiring properties through eminent domain won the day.

A decade later Fanwood had been transformed with a downtown redevelopment project that was awarded the 2014 Smart Growth Award for Redevelopment and has been featured in the NJ Handbook on Redevelopment.

A strong voice for her constituents, Mayor Mahr led a coalition of mayors working with the Raritan Valley Rail Line to secure direct rail service to Manhattan.  Working to ensure that her residents have what they need,  Colleen also secured a deal with the water company to replace a lot of Fanwood’s aging water mains; bringing  millions of dollars in infrastructure improvements while at the same time improving the water pressure for many residents in town.

Mayor Mahr has had the honor to serve as an Executive Board member of the New Jersey League of Municipalities, Mayor’s Coalition Chair of The Raritan Valley Rail Coalition, member of Mayor’s Against Illegal Guns, Past President and Legislative Committee Chair for the NJ Conference of Mayors, Board of Directors of the Irish Network New Jersey, a member of the Governor’s Local Government Ethics Task Force, Muhlenberg Hospital Community Advisory Group Member and  Board Member of the Union County Academy for the Performing Arts.

 

 

Dr. Randal Pinkett

Founder and CEO, BCT Partners

 

Dr. Randal Pinkett has established himself as an entrepreneur, speaker, author, scholar and community servant. He is the co-founder, chairman and CEO of BCT Partners, a multimillion dollar management, technology and policy consulting firm based in Newark, NJ. BCT Partners works with corporations, government agencies and nonprofit organizations in the areas of housing and community development, economic development, human services, government, healthcare and education. A partial list of BCT's clients includes: Johnson & Johnson, Ford Foundation, Pfizer, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Hewlett-Packard, Annie E. Casey Foundation and Microsoft.

Prior to founding BCT Partners, Dr. Pinkett obtained corporate experience as a Member of Technical Staff at General Electric, AT&T Bell Laboratories and Lucent Technologies. A "serial entrepreneur", he also previously launched four socially responsible business ventures. First, Dr. Pinkett co-founded MBS Enterprises, selling compact discs and cassette tapes out of his dormitory in college and using the proceeds to fund high school outreach activities. MBS later evolved into his second venture, MBS Educational Services & Training, a firm committed to providing the highest caliber training and development for emerging and seasoned professionals. MBS's past clients include General Motors, the United Negro College Fund, Exxon, National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME), Merck & Company, Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund, Johnson & Johnson, PNC Bank, Citigroup and Corning Incorporated. Third, Dr. Pinkett co-founded the Inner City Consulting Group, a multi-disciplinary consulting firm that specialized in the unique needs of inner city communities. Fourth, in affiliation with One Economy, Dr. Pinkett co-founded Access One Corporation, with a mission to ensure that affordable housing was equipped for the 21st century by implementing innovative, sustainable, broadband network and telecommunications solutions. BCT Partners represents his fifth and latest business venture, whereas across all five of his companies and to this day, Dr. Pinkett has maintained a relationship as business partners with his close friends and college classmates, Mr. Lawrence Hibbert, BCT's Chief President; Mr. Dallas Grundy, former BCT Chief Operating Officer; and Dr. Jeffrey Robinson, Chair of BCT's Advisory Board and Professor at New York University (NYU).

A sought after public speaker for corporate, youth and community groups, Dr. Pinkett has been featured on nationally televised programs such as The Today ShowLive with Regis and Kelly, and CNN, as well as featured in Parade magazine, The New York Times,The Washington Post and The Boston Globe. He was the Season 4 Winner of NBC's hit reality television The Apprentice with Donald Trump. He served as an executive withTrump Entertainment Resorts in Atlantic City, NJ, where he was responsible for overseeing both renovation and information technology projects. He has re-appeared onThe Apprentice as a boardroom advisor and is a regular segment host for CEO EXCHANGE on PBS. He is a Leadership New Jersey (LNJ) Fellow, a Next Generation Leadership (NGL) Fellow of the Rockefeller Foundation, and is a recipient of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Graduate Fellowship, Lucent Technologies Cooperative Research Fellowship Program (CRFP), University of Oxford Graduate Scholarship, National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) National Member of the Year, Top 20 Scholars by USA TODAY newspaper, NCAA Academic All-American, NCAA Walter Byers Graduate Scholarship, New Jersey Martin Luther King Commemorative Commission Triumph Award, and the MIT Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award, from among a host of other recognitions and accolades. He is a proud brand ambassador for Verizon CommunicationsOutback Steakhouse, and the Miller Urban Entreprenuers Series.

Dr. Pinkett holds five academic degrees including the following: Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Electrical Engineering from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, that he completed with a 3.9 GPA while serving as President of MEET, the Rutgers Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and Captain of the Rutgers University Varsity Men's Track and Field team competing as a high jumper and long jumper; Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Computer Science from Oxford University, England as a Rhodes Scholar; Master of Science (S.M.) in Electrical Engineering from the MIT School of Engineering and Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) from the MIT Sloan School of Management as a participant in the MIT Leaders for Global Operations (LGO) Program; and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) from the MIT Media Laboratory. Most notably, Dr. Pinkett made history as the first African-American ever to receive a Rhodes Scholarship at Rutgers University.

A published writer and academic scholar, Dr. Pinkett's first book, Campus CEO: The Student Entrepreneur's Guide to Launching a Multimillion-Dollar Business, was released in February 2007. That same year he also released the audio book, The No-Money Down CEO: How to Start Your Dream Business with Little or No Cash. In addition to more than 20 papers and articles Dr. Pinkett has authored chapters in five books including:Managing IT/Community Partnerships in the 21st CenturyJourney to the Ph.D.: How to Navigate the Process as African-AmericansCommunity Practice in the Network Society: Local Action/Global InteractionThe Network Society: A Cross-cultural Perspective; and Universal Usability: Designing Computer Interfaces for Diverse User Populations. His master's thesis at the University of Oxford was entitled, "Hardware/Software Co-Design and Digital Speech Processing". His master's thesis at MIT was entitled, "Product Development Process Modeling and Analysis of Digital Wireless Telephones." His doctoral dissertation at MIT was entitled, "Creating Community Connections: Sociocultural Constructionism and an Asset-Based Approach to Community Technology and Community Building in a Low-Income Community." Lastly, he is currently co-authoring a book with his Rutgers roommate and business partner, Dr. Jeffrey Robinson, tentatively entitled, Black Faces in White Places, which chronicles their experiences as African Americans who have successfully navigagted predominantly white institutions.

Dr. Pinkett maintains an active involvement in community service. He is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated, the Information Technology Senior Management Forum (ITSMF), and the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). He is a national spokesperson for Autism Speaks, the National Black MBA Association (Gold Key Access events), New Jersey Reads ("Change a Life Through Literacy" campaign) and Junior Achievement of New York (Groundhog Job Shadow Day program). BCT Partners does considerable work with community-based organizations; his doctoral dissertation at MIT examined the role of high technology in improving the quality of life for low-income residents. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for the New Jersey Public Policy Research Institute (NJPPRI), the Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network (N-TEN) and the Institute for Innovation in Government Technology (IIGT) and a member of the Board of Advisors for the Community Technology Centers' Network(CTCNet).

Born in Philadelphia, PA, as the son of the Late Leslie Pinkett and Elizabeth Pinkett, and raised in East Windsor, NJ, along with his brother, Dan, a manager at Prudential Insurance Company, he currently resides in New Jersey, where he is happily married to Zahara Wadud-Pinkett, a Senior Alumni Relations Officer at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. They are both proud parents of their daughter, Amira Leslie. Dr. Pinkett is an active member of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in New Jersey, and firmly believes that "for those to whom much is given, much is expected."

 

 

Milly Silva

Executive Vice President, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East

 

As one of the highest-ranking Latina labor leaders in the nation, Milly Silva is an influential and progressive voice for workers’ rights, immigration reform, Medicaid expansion, and the rights of women.  In 2013, she was the Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor of New Jersey, becoming the first standing labor leader in memory to seek statewide office and part of the third all-female gubernatorial ticket in the nation’s history.

 

The daughter of Puerto-Rican migrants, her mother a homecare worker, Milly grew up in the Bronx with a keen awareness of the intersections of race, class and gender within her community. Awarded a scholarship to attend a prestigious school, Milly had the opportunity at an early age to pursue a quality education, a dream out of reach for many of her peers. She became the first member of her family to obtain a college degree after graduating from Columbia University.

 

Milly’s desire to help other low-income families overcome barriers that limit socioeconomic advancement led her to seek a job in community organizing. She became a tenant organizer, empowering families to hold negligent landlords accountable, after which she oversaw an apprenticeship program for new community organizers before joining the labor movement in 1999.

 

Milly currently serves as Executive Vice President of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, the nation’s largest healthcare union, representing over 400,000 healthcare workers in five states and Washington, DC. She is responsible for directing the union's activities throughout New Jersey to improve the lives of nursing home and home care workers and the patients they serve through membership mobilization and political advocacy.

 

Over the past decade, Milly has led 1199SEIU to become the state's largest and most powerful voice for long-term care workers. She has mobilized frontline healthcare workers to win groundbreaking contracts that include living wages and quality health insurance for caregivers and their families. These improved standards have in turn enhanced recruitment and retention of qualified, committed caregivers.

 

Milly is the co-chair of the New Jersey Nursing Home Alliance for Quality Care, a joint labor-management project which engages policymakers and promotes awareness of issues related to nursing home funding and improving resident care. Under her leadership, 1199SEIU and the Nursing Home Alliance campaigned successfully to restore more than $50 million in Medicaid funding for New Jersey nursing homes over the past two years.

 

Milly has been a featured guest for major regional and national news outlets including CNN, Univision, the New York Times, the Star Ledger, and NJTV.

 

She currently lives in northern New Jersey with her family.

 

Hon. Bert Steinmann

Mayor, Ewing Township

 

Bert was born in the Netherlands in 1946, before immigrating to the US with his parents ten years later.  In 1959 his family settled in Ewing.  He has proudly called Ewing home since – attending, and graduating from, Ewing’s public schools, raising a family in Ewing with my wife Christine (Wisniewski), and being active in the Ewing community.

 

After graduation from Ewing High, he received a degree in Electrical Engineering from Trenton Technical Institute.  Christine & Bert raised three wonderful children; Melissa, Nico and Jeremy. They are also blessed with two grandchildren, Travis and Ethan.

 

In 1972 Bert joined the West End Soccer Association, and for over thirty years dedicated himself to the youth of this community. During this time, he created the West End Instructional Division for children four and five years old. The Instructional Division was set up to teach the basic skills necessary to make soccer enjoyable for kids to play (and parents to watch). He is proud to say that twenty-five years later this program still exists.

 

Some years later, in 1998, the West Soccer Association and the Ewing Township Recreation Honor Roll honored Bert by naming the training facility in his name; an honor that he and his family cherish forever.  Bert was also appointed to the Ewing Recreation Commission where he served for six years and as chair for four.

 

Throughout his professional career of over thirty-five years Bert worked for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) – in both the construction and business areas, finishing his career as business administrator for the pension and health care fund, until his retirement in 2007.  Bert also attended the Rutgers University Labor Relations Studies Program at the Bloustein School for Public Policy.

 

Bert’s political career began in 2000 when he was elected to Town Council.  After serving three terms, Bert successfully ran for Mayor in 2010.

 

First as a member of Town Council, the Planning Board and now as Mayor, Bert has been instrumental in bringing new ratables to our town. These new businesses include: Church and Dwight, Computer Associates, The Home Depot; Shop Rite; Parkside Plaza; The Credit Union of NJ; Court Yard by Marriott; The Westin Element; Pfizer; and the condominium communities at  The Madison and Scotch Road.  He is the force behind the current redevelopment efforts of the GM and Naval Testing sites – culminating in the announcement of a developer being named for the GM site just a few short months ago.  He  consistently looks to partner with county and state government where appropriate in pursuit of shared solutions to common problems.  Bert is also a tireless advocate for Ewing with regional business, labor and governmental entities – working with The College of New Jersey around the new Campus town to ensure Ewing and the College’s needs are supported.

 

Bert is an untiring supporter for the Township’s youth – working to modernizing our playground equipment in all our parks and looking to build new green spaces around the community.  During his tenure as Mayor, Ewing was named a “sustainable community” by Sustainable Jersey. 

 

Finally, Bert has been a strong proponent for the Ewing community as a whole – focusing in on quality of life issues including, drafting ordinances that govern collegiate and other rental properties to eliminate over-crowding and safety hazards, as well as holding banks accountable for vacant properties they are responsible in Ewing.  As Mayor, he worked with community leaders, township officials and volunteers to overhaul Ewing’s ordinances in light of the town’s master plan. 

 

Bert is a 21st leader with an eye toward the future and a strong footing in Ewing’s past. 

 

John "Jay" Watson Jr.
Vice President, D&R Greenway Land Trust

 

In April 2010, John “Jay” S. Watson, Jr. joined the full-time staff as Vice President of D&R Greenway Land Trust.  Jay’s responsibilities at D&R Greenway Land Trust include strategic planning, managing the public outreach for St. Michael’s Farm, oversight of land preservation and stewardship, and representing D&R Greenway to foundations, public and private partners.  Most recently, Jay served as the Deputy Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP).  Before being appointed as Deputy, he served as Assistant Commissioner for Natural and Historic Resources for the Department.  Prior to the appointment to the Commissioner’s office, he served as the Administrator for The Green Acres Program which is recognized as a national model for land preservation and park development.  With the NJDEP since 1981, he managed projects across New Jersey’s diverse landscape and has played a part in the protection and enhancement of many of its special places.


Jay brings vast experience in natural resource protection to D&R Greenway Land Trust.  Having worked on waterfront reclamation and redevelopment projects in a number of urban centers, Jay evolved as the agency’s primary specialist and advocate for urban parks and waterfront development initiatives.  He also represented Governor Jon Corzine on the Delaware River Basin Commission; Co-chaired the New Jersey Invasive Species Council; and served on the NYNJ Harbor Estuary Program Policy Committee.  During his tenure with the Department, Jay has represented the NJDEP Commissioner on the New Jersey Natural Lands Trust Board of Trustees; Environmental Justice Advisory Council; State Agricultural Development Committee; Garden State Preservation Trust and others.

Jay is presently on the Board of Trustees at the Princeton Area Community Foundation which promotes philanthropy to advance the well-being of our communities; and serves on the Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area Board of Trustees.

Jay graduated from Mercer County Community College in West Windsor, NJ, and Florida A&M University in Tallahassee Florida.  He is committed to many important environmental, community, and social organizations that promote a healthy and progressive existence in the State of New Jersey. A lifelong New Jersey resident, he lives in Lawrenceville with his wife Debra, daughter Chelsea, and son John S. Watson III.


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