Legislative and Local Races
Our local Democratic candidates -- people who understand our lives, share our values and will work every to make New Jersey a better place -- are competing across state.
District 1 (Incumbent)
State Senator Donald Norcross has been a lifelong advocate for working men and women of New Jersey whose efforts have resulted in the creation of quality jobs for people across the South Jersey region. He has championed programs to expand and diversify the workforce through the recruitment and hiring of women and minorities, and has supported legislative initiatives that put our nation’s veterans to work. He is running for the congressional seat vacated by former U.S. Representative Rob Andrews.
Senator Norcross, who began his career in organized labor in 1979 and rose through the ranks of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers has also been actively involved with United Way. Senator Norcross recognizes that while New Jersey is the richest state per capita many working families have been left behind. He strongly advocates for increasing the minimum wage, giving hundreds of thousands of residents the raise they deserve, and he is committed to making New Jersey affordable through the creation of public-private partnerships and other initiatives that stimulate economic development, revitalize neighborhoods, and rejuvenate business districts.
Senator Norcross and his wife live in the City of Camden. He is the father of three and grandfather of two.
Dave Cole is an entrepreneur and an engineer, with experience growing businesses in the private sector and modernizing technology as a public servant.
As an early member of a new tech company, Dave entered a dynamic technology market and helped grow the company from a half dozen employees to more than 50 in just over two years. Mapbox now competes head-to-head with some of the biggest tech giants and delivers its product through cutting-edge applications to millions of users.
The hard work and determination that made Dave successful in business are values he learned growing up in South Jersey. Dave’s mother brought up Dave and his sister to be conscientious citizens who believed in family and service. An entrepreneur herself, she raised her family while managing her business as a single mother following the passing of Dave’s father.
When Dave left home to go to Rutgers University, he served twice as the President of the Rutgers student body. In 2007, Dave continued on a path of public service to organize the volunteer effort for President Barack Obama’s campaign in New Jersey. After over a year of campaigning in many states, Dave was appointed to the White House where he served during President Obama’s first term, and used innovative technology to make government more efficient and responsive to the needs of citizens across the country.
Dave is running to represent South Jersey because this is home — to his wife and him, to his mother and his sister, to his large family that spans the region, and to the thousands of hard-working women and men that drive the local economy and make this such a great community to live in and raise a family.
Dave has been given many chances to serve, and he has grasped those opportunities and the values he grew up with to build a career of service, working to tackle tough challenges and win. He knows what it takes to grow a business and create jobs, and will put his experience and record of delivering innovative solutions to work for the people of South Jersey.
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Frederick John LaVergne grew up in West Long Branch, New Jersey, and studied Biology at Stockton University. He also studied microbiology and molecular genetics at the Selman Waksman Institute of Microbiology at Rutgers University.
Fred has held an impressive array of positions, including analytical chemist at a large NJ Generic Pharmaceutical Company, where he became familiar with water quality testing and was able to streamline many outdated compliance processes.
Mr. LaVergne has also served his community in a variety of ways, notably as a Scoutmaster for many years, teaching outdoor skills and a love for our natural environment to young men.
Fred is married to his wife of 26 years, Mary L. LaVergne, who presently serves as a parent educator for Burlington County’s Parents as Teachers program. They have five children.
Over the years, Fred has been a trusted advisor to hundreds of families in Burlington County and elsewhere. He has enjoyed an insurance practice with Mutual of Omaha, owned and operated a Net Branch for Mid Atlantic Capital in Moorestown, worked as a residential mortgage banker and broker for the Barclay Funding Group of Princeton, and owned of a small commercial lending brokerage.
Dissatisfied with his representation in Trenton and Washington, Fred takes a strong interest in the political process. With an incisive “underwriter’s eye”, he sees many issues that could be remedied if it weren’t for the absence of political will.
Once described as “a Swiss Army Knife of knowledge and information,” Fred has already managed to build an extensive network of supporters from all walks of life and political affiliations.
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Growing up in North Caldwell, Josh Gottheimer’s childhood was similar to that of most Jersey kids. Josh’s mom was a nursery school teacher. His father started their own business in his basement when he was just 18. Owning their own business meant some years were better than others, but Josh’s parents always sacrificed, so that their children never knew about those struggles.
For Josh and his sister, family trips to the Jersey Shore were the highlight of the summer. He saw his first Bruce Springsteen concert at Brendan Byrne Arena in the Meadowlands. And, at sixteen, Josh got his first job stocking inventory at his father’s store to start saving for a car. Josh’s dad’s business didn’t have an official slogan, but it easily could have been “work hard” and “give back.” They were the two phrases Josh heard most from his dad.
After graduating from West Essex High School, Josh went on to the University of Pennsylvania, became a Thouron Fellow at Oxford, and then paid his way through Harvard Law School.
After graduating from college, Josh was hired to work in the White House for President Bill Clinton as one of the youngest speechwriters in history. Josh helped draft two State of the Union Addresses, wrote extensively on the economy, and served as a Special Assistant to the President until the end of the Clinton administration.
Josh believes Washington must, once again, put people first and solutions first – not partisanship and not extreme ideology. His approach is to offer sound, reasonable leadership: live within your means, work across party lines, make sure programs work and fix those that don’t, and support an economy where opportunity for all is a reality. And always — even in the face of tough challenges — work hard, work together, and find a way to get things done. At the end of the day, if an idea is a good one for the country and for a community, nobody should care which side of the aisle it came from.
Prior to announcing his candidacy, Josh was General Manager for Corporate Strategy at Microsoft, where he worked on the cutting edge of technology, innovation, and management. Prior to Microsoft, Josh served as Director of Strategic Communications at Ford Motor Company, where he helped rebuild the image of America’s iconic car company. He was also a senior advisor to the Chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and published the book Ripples of Hope: Great American Civil Rights Speeches.
Josh also served at the Federal Communications Commission and was its first Director of Public-Private Initiatives, where he help put digital textbooks in classrooms, helped law enforcement infiltrate the growing black market for stolen cell phones, and helped bring thousands of tech support jobs back to America – all without an ounce of regulation or a nickel of taxpayer dollars.
After his time at the FCC, Josh used that experience to help create Connect2Compete and then JerseyOn, a not-for-profit organization, that brings affordable high-speed Internet access to low-income students in New Jersey, so they can compete and win in the digital economy.
Fiscally responsible and socially progressive, Josh is an energetic leader who will bring a new sense of commitment and involvement to the Fifth Congressional District. He lives in Wyckoff, NJ with his wife Marla, a former federal prosecutor, and their two young children.
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Frank Pallone Jr.
District 6 (Incumbent)
Frank Pallone, Jr. is serving his 13th term in the U.S. House of Representatives. Pallone's Central Jersey district covers most of Middlesex County, as well as the Bayshore and oceanfront areas of Monmouth County — an ethnically diverse area with a wide range of business and industry that are on the cutting edge of high technology research and development
Pallone's legislative accomplishments have been geared to the protection and restoration of environmental resources and making health care more affordable and accessible.
He is a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over issues pertaining to energy, environment, health care, commerce and telecommunications, and the top Democrat on the Committee's Subcommittee on Health. Pallone is also a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, which has jurisdiction over fisheries, oceans and other coastal issues.
The son of a policeman, Pallone attended local public schools and earned an academic scholarship to Middlebury College, where he graduated cum laude. He received his master's degree in international relations at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and a law degree at Rutgers University. Pallone is married and has three children.
Peter Jacob wants to work hard representing you, your family, and our community in the United States House of Representatives.
Raised in Union, New Jersey, Peter understands how important a safe and caring community is to success. After attending Union County College, he continued undergraduate studies in Sociology at Kean University. Soon after, Peter studied at Washington University in St. Louis, earning a Master of Social Work from the top-ranked program in the nation. During his undergraduate and graduate years, Peter was a student activist and leader. He worked with the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW), the YWCA, and the International Institute. Through these and other community organizations, Peter helped fight the ongoing scourges of child abuse, human trafficking, and disastrous Iraq War. Meanwhile, he continued to proudly campaign for healthcare reform, environmental sustainability, and immigrant integration back here in the United States.
At Washington University, Peter realized his skills and passion for public service. After moving back to New Jersey, he immediately began work as a community organizer, developing and maintaining a homeless shelter program through a coalition of churches, businesses, schools, hospitals, and individuals. A government official once referred to the position as “the last pit stop before hell” for the most vulnerable in the area. Peter witnessed the impact of the financial crisis on families firsthand, working with them to rebuild after losing homes, jobs, and healthcare insurance. These experiences of assisting the most vulnerable sticks with Peter to this day. He cares about our friends and neighbors who battle mental diseases, senior citizens who have to choose between medicine and food, and working class families seeking life-saving assistance. Peter has served those seeking a way out of poverty in the past, and will do the same down in Washington.
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District 8 (Incumbent)
Born in the Cuba, Congressman Sires grew up in the waning years of pre-Communist Cuba. His family fled in January 1962 with the help of relatives in America.
Congressman Sires became a star basketball player at Memorial High School and received a four-year basketball scholarship from St. Peter’s College, before earning a Masters Degree from Middlebury College in Vermont.
Congressman Sires was a teacher and business owner before entering public service as Mayor of West New York, New Jersey. As Mayor, he balanced twelve consecutive municipal budgets while maintaining and enhancing vital municipal services, earning the title “Mayor of the Year” in 2004. Sires also served in the New Jersey State Assembly, including two terms as Speaker of the Assembly.
In Congress, Sires serves on two Committees: Foreign Affairs and Transportation and Infrastructure. His Committee assignments allow him to focus on protecting human rights and freedoms across the globe, building international partnerships to improving our nation’s security, and supporting increased transit and commuting options.
Congressman Sires resides in West New York with his wife, Adrienne.
Bill Pascrell Jr.
District 9 (Incumbent)
Bill Pascrell, Jr. sits on the Committee on Ways and Means, and the Committee on the Budget -- assignments that allow Bill to be deeply involved in the issues that are important to the citizens of New Jersey.
He is one of the leading Congressional voices on protecting Medicare and Social Security for our seniors., and he uses his Committee position to advocate for a fair international trade policy and on behalf of tax reform that includes the elimination of the Alternative Minimum Tax. Bill also continues to be a strong advocate for the modernization of New Jersey’s transportation in infrastructure.
Before being elected to Congress, Bill proudly served as the Mayor of Paterson from 1990-1996 and a member of the New Jersey State Assembly from 1988-1996. He was previously a member of the Paterson Board of Education, a public high school teacher, and a college adjunct professor at Farleigh Dickenson University.
Bill graduated from Fordham University in New York with bachelors degree in Journalism and a masters degree in Philosophy. He has three sons and resides in Paterson with his wife, Elsie.
Donald Payne Jr.
District 10 (Incumbent)
The Honorable Donald M. Payne, Jr., a Newark native, has worked as a tireless advocate for New Jersey’s working families for over two decades, fighting to create jobs, increase health and economic security, and invest in education.
Congressman Payne, Jr., is a member of the Committee on Homeland Security where he serves as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications, as well as the Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency. He also serves on the Committee on Small Business where he works to expand access to capital for small business owners and increase jobs training. And, he is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).
Congressman Payne, Jr was first elected to Congress in November 2012 following the untimely death of his father, respected former Congressman Donald M. Payne, Sr., who represented New Jersey in the U.S. House of Representatives for twenty-three years. Prior, Payne Jr. served as Newark Municipal Council President and Essex County Freeholder-at-Large. He attended Kean College (now Kean University).
Congressman Donald Payne Jr. lives in Newark with his wife and their 15-year-old triplets.
Bonnie Watson Coleman
District 12 (Incumbent)
Bonnie Watson Coleman is one of New Jersey’s most respected and influential legislators, having been elected to the Legislature for eight consecutive terms. An advocate for hardworking families, Bonnie represents our shared democratic values and cares deeply about the direction our nation is headed.
Among her many achievements in the Legislature, Bonnie was on the front lines in the fight to increase the minimum wage, to pass the Paid Family Leave Act and to create the Office of the Comptroller to battle waste, fraud and abuse in government. She believes that parents are an integral part of the solution to fix our schools and introduced legislation to ensure local control of public schools.
Bonnie also shattered racial and gender barriers to become the first African American woman to serve as Majority Leader of the New Jersey General Assembly, and the first African American woman to serve as Chair of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee. When elected to replace retiring Congressman Rush Holt, Bonnie will be the first African American woman to represent New Jersey in the U.S. House of Representatives.
A graduate of Thomas Edison State College, Bonnie and her husband reside in Ewing Township and are have three sons.