Dan Benson

Mercer County Executive-Elect

Dan is a proud fifth-generation Hamiltonian, raising his son, Nicholas, with his wife, Dr. Hande Benson. Dan’s family grew up in the Broad Street Park neighborhood of Hamilton, near the border of Trenton. He graduated from Hamilton High School West, went on to earn his degree from Georgetown University in physics and government, and later completed a Master of Public Policy at the Bloustein School at Rutgers University. Public policy and public service have been and always will be a passion for Dan.

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For the last 20+ years, Dan has spent his professional career working in both the public and private sectors focusing on energy and telecommunications policy. In addition to his work as a member of the NJ General Assembly, Dan has worked for many years at Ericsson (formerly BellCore), as a contractor helping clients stay informed of new federal regulations.

In 2001, Dan was first elected to Hamilton Township Council at the age of 25, where he served two years as Council President. In 2008, Dan was elected to the Mercer County Board of Commissioners (previously known as the Freeholder Board) through a contested convention. Upon Linda Greenstein’s election to the Senate, Dan won another contested convention to become a 14th District Assemblyman.

In his nearly 12 years in the NJ Legislature, Dan has chaired both the Law & Public Safety Committee and the Transportation Committee. Dan was a prime sponsor on nearly 400 bills signed into law and authored close to 40 bills as a first-prime sponsor that became law. This includes laws to expand pediatric provider availability, cap prescription costs, and put opioid overdose antidotes in the hands of first responders across New Jersey. Dan is proud to have sponsored legislation protecting worker rights, fighting against the stigma of mental illness, building restorative justice practices in our school system, and combating climate change by encouraging the use of electric vehicles through access to more charging stations and tax credits.

As a member of the powerful Assembly Budget Committee, Dan has seen the incredible resources the state has made available to municipalities and counties. We can do more to have a healthier county through community health, a more equitable county through economic development centered on our capital region, and a more accessible county through transportation programs allowing residents, regardless of age, disability, geographic location, or income to get to where they need to go!

On November 7, 2023, Dan was elected as Mercer County Executive.

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Jeannine Frisby-LaRue

Transition Team Co-Chair

Jeannine Frisby-LaRue brings almost five decades of experience to the table in every level of government, education, healthcare, and social justice. She has been both elected and appointed to a variety of positions in public and private sectors. Jeannine has served in leadership capacities during the administrative transitions for former Governor Jon Corzine, Newark City Mayor Ras Baraka, and Trenton City Mayor Reed Gusciora.

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,Frisby-LaRue’s professional career began in the early 1970’s as a high school English teacher, which landed her an associate directorship in government relations for the New Jersey Education Association in 1982, where she remained for a decade. During that period, she was elected to public office in Winslow Township, becoming the first woman and first person of color to serve.  She spent 12 years as a school board member and councilwoman, respectively. 

In 1991, the late Governor Jim Florio appointed Jeannine to the NJ Casino Commission, where she ultimately became Vice Chair. After a five-year term, Jeannine joined the executive suite of RWJBarnabas Health as Vice President of Government/Public Affairs, making her the first African American to serve at that level in the corporate office. In 2006, she was tapped to be Deputy Chief of Staff for then-Governor Jon Corzine, overseeing appointments, intergovernmental affairs, and constituency relations.

In 2008 Jeannine was recruited to join Rutgers University President’s Cabinet to build a public affairs/government relations department where she retired from State government in 2011.

Since 2011 Jeannine has been a Senior Vice President for the very prestigious lobbying firm, The Zita Group, where she focuses on higher education, health, voter reforms, LGBTQIA, and social justice issues. 

Founder of the well-known LaRuelist Café podcast, Jeannine views her greatest achievement as organizing the 1993 Statewide Women’s Summit, the first in the nation. That conference ultimately attracted more than 2,500 women over a 20-year period, which is being featured in her book, to be released in March of 2024. 

Jeannine has served on both Essex and Camden County College Boards of Trustees. She now serves on a myriad of charitable, civic, and non-profit boards, and holds leadership positions as Chair of the Garden State Equality Action Fund and Greater Mt. Zion AME CDC board, and Co-chair of Rowan University College of Education Advisory Board. 

Having been honored by more than 70 organizations, Jeannine annually appears on the most influential lists published by a variety of media outlets. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Rowan University and has two children and four grandchildren. Jeannine recently lost her partner, Maria, of 22 years, and her grandson, Malcolm Frisby.

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Sharon Shinkle Gardner

Transition Team Co-Chair

Sharon Shinkle Gardner is a public affairs professional with over 25 years of experience in state and local government. For the past twelve years, she has served as Chief of Staff to Transportation Chair and 14th District Assemblyman Daniel Benson. She previously was employed by the NJ Department of Transportation as Assistant Commissioner of Government Affairs and Legislative Liaison serving under 3 Governors.

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Ms. Shinkle Gardner has also worked as a lobbyist and a municipal government manager. She is the former President of the Mercer County Park Commission of which she has been a member for 18 years. She is a former Municipal Chair of the Hamilton Democratic Committee and remains active in the Mercer County Democratic party. She is former Vice President of Finance for the Women’s Political Caucus of NJ and she volunteers and donates to national and state women’s reproductive rights organizations. She has served as a delegate to President Joseph Biden and former Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton. Locally, she served as Co-Chair of Mayor Jeff Martin’s transition team in Hamilton Township.

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Mayor Douglas Palmer

Senior Advisor

Douglas Palmer has served the public for nearly 30 years. First, in 1990 he made history as the first African American to lead the Capital City of Trenton. This memorable election paved the way for serving the city for over 20 years as mayor. His critical role in leading the Capital City has made Douglas a consistent advisor to mayors in New Jersey.

Mayor Palmer continues to provide new mayors guidance through the Kennedy School at Harvard University for newly elected mayors throughout the country.

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Beyond his role in Trenton, Mayor Palmer became a national leader by serving for two terms as President of The US Conference of Mayors and continues to be an advisor to the Conference on critical issues, including serving as co-chair on the prestigious Business Council. His tenure at the US Conference of Mayors included serving on the Urban Water Council and leading critical initiatives with utility and energy companies. Doug currently represents water and utility focused clients creating public-private partnerships, and technology supports for utility enhancements across the country.

Since leaving office in 2010, he established Douglas H. Palmer and Associates, LLC, where he holds the position of President and CEO.  This company specializes in intergovernmental and corporate consulting.

Mayor Palmer is serving as board chair to The Trenton Literacy Movement. He is President Emeritus of New Jersey Urban Mayors, after serving 10 years as president, and he has served as Governor’s appointee to the Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission for the past 20 years.

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Arthur Sypek, Esq.

Legal Counsel

Arthur graduated from the Hun School of Princeton and attended LaSalle University in Philadelphia and Seton Hall University School of Law. He clerked for Superior Court Judges Hervey S. Moore and Richard J. S. Barlow in 1974-1975. Arthur has had a distinguished career in private practice for nearly 50 years practicing with Stockman, O’Donnell & Sypek, Teich Groh & Frost, Riker Danzig LLP, and now is Of Counsel at Murphy Orlando in Newark.

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Arthur also served as the Mercer County Counsel, the chief legal officer for the County of Mercer, from 2004 to 2018. Prior to that position, he served as the Counsel to the Mercer County Board of Commissioners from 1991 to 2003. He has spent over half of his professional career involved in representing various municipalities in capacities such as Township Attorney, Zoning Board Attorney, Planning Board Attorney, and Condemnation Counsel. He was the NJ Co-Counsel for the Clinton-Gore Presidential campaigns in 1992 and 1996, and many other political campaigns in NJ. His knowledge of NJ election law has been often described as encyclopedic. Arthur served on the transition teams for Mayor Bert Steinmann of Ewing Twp. and Jeff Martin of Hamilton Twp., and worked on the Governor Corzine transition team. He also served as General Counsel to the NJ Association of Counties (NJAC) and still serves on the board of directors of the NJAC Foundation. 

Arthur was recently honored by the Mercer County Bar Association with the Harry O’Malley Award for pro bono community service involving Anchor House in Trenton, which he helped found over 45 years ago.

In 1978 Arthur was one of the original founders of Anchor House in Trenton, to help move the homeless and runaway youth off the streets of Trenton and reunite them with their families. Today, 45 years later, Anchor House offers a myriad of comprehensive, lifesaving programs and services to over 1,000 youth and their families each year, in Trenton, across NJ, and beyond. The anchor is used as a metaphor representing a ship dropping its anchor as a safe haven to rest and wait out the storm. Arthur has served for many years on the Board of Directors and is now a Director Emeritus. He has spent countless hours in the last 45 years providing pro bono legal advice, fundraising efforts including going on the Annual Ride for Runaways with his wife Maria, and doing whatever the House has needed throughout the years.

Arthur is married for over 50 years to Judge Maria M. Sypek (Ret.). He is the proud father of Lauren Sypek, Esq. of Brooklyn, NY and Abigail Sypek of Washington, DC. Lauren works for the Chancellor of Education for the City of New York, advising the Chancellor on educational policy. Abigail is the Chief of Staff for Everyone Home DC. Everyone Home DC is a vibrant and transformative nonprofit organization serving thousands of vulnerable individuals and families on Capitol Hill and across the District of Columbia every year.

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Anthony “Skip” Cimino

Chair, Administration and Office of Executive Committee

A business executive, long-time government leader and former elected public official, Skip Cimino brings over three decades of experience to his representation of clients before the New Jersey state legislature and executive branch.

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Skip has served in chief executive and other leadership roles for a number of significant New Jersey institutions. As President and CEO of RWJ Hamilton, an acute care hospital with more than 1,800 employees, he strategized the acquisition of surgical and specialty care units, developed a $200 million revenue stream to ensure the long-term stability of the organization, and enhanced the services and marketability of the institution. He also served as President and Chief Administrative officer of CMX Engineering the successor firm to Schoor DePalma, a multi-state engineering firm, and served on the Board of Directors of Spiezle Architectural Group and First Bank.

Skip also has a deep background in New Jersey’s public sector. Immediately prior to joining Stevens & Lee Public Affairs, he was Executive Director to the New Jersey General Assembly Majority Office, advising the Speaker and leadership on policy, research and outreach program efforts. Earlier in his career, he served as an Assemblyman of the 14th Legislative District for the State of New Jersey, worked on the gubernatorial transition teams for Governor McGreevey and Governor Florio, and was Commissioner of Personnel on Governor Florio’s Cabinet.

As an advocate for his home state and neighborhoods, Skip has led many non-profit, philanthropic and community organizations focused on the region’s economic advancement and well-being. He is Chairman Emeritus of Greater Trenton and Immediate Past Chair of the Princeton Area Community Foundation, and he has helped to lead the Mercer County Chamber of Commerce, the Independent College Fund Foundation of New Jersey, and the Chamber of Commerce of Southern New Jersey, among numerous others. In 2022, Governor Phil Murphy appointed Skip to the Board of Directors of the Capital City Redevelopment Corporation, a state agency charged with facilitating redevelopment in the Capital District of the City of Trenton.

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Craig Shofed

Chair, Arts Council

16-year Trenton resident. Craig Shofed was introduced to Artworks in 2007 and has been involved with the organization ever since. In 2011 after Craig’s 2nd kidney transplant, he decided to quit his job in IT and become a full-time artist. Creating work under the name C.a. Shofed. In 2018 Craig became an Artworks board member and eventually became Managing Director of Artworks.

Taraun Tice, Esq.

Chair, Community Services Committee

Taraun Tice McKnight is an Attorney and Public Policy Professional who uses her unique combination of legal, policy and program management skills to support New Jersey’s most vulnerable populations. In her current role as the Deputy Director of Governor Murphy’s Disaster Recovery Office, she leads the state’s $400 million Superstorm Ida recovery strategy to ensure critical investments are made in housing recovery, community reconstruction and resilient infrastructure. She also served in the Governor’s Counsel's Office as Associate Counsel to transportation-related legislation.

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Previously, Taraun served as Policy Advisor to former Governor Christie, overseeing the social services policy agenda as it related to housing and cash assistance, substance abuse, mental health and child welfare. She would later serve as Chief of Staff and Policy Director at the Division of Family Development, where she oversaw the state’s welfare reform program – WorkFirstNJ, as well as the overseeing policy for the state’s Food Nutrition and Assistance Program (SNAP), the Child Care program and the Child Support Program. In all capacities, Taraun developed critical policies and proposed initiatives to sustain a safety net for at-risk populations.

Additionally, Taraun has served on multiple state task forces dealing with topics to include homelessness, domestic violence and COVID-19 recovery. She also engages in numerous community-focused initiatives as a former Trenton School Board member, member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and Co-Founder of the New Jersey Black Women’s Collective, non-profit organization.

Taraun graduated Magna Cum Laude from Temple University, earning her B.A. in Political Science and African American Studies, and holds a J.D. from Rutgers School of Law-Newark. She resides in Trenton with her husband Samuel, and two children- Jameson and Samuel Jr.

Additionally, Taraun has served on multiple state task forces dealing with topics to include homelessness, domestic violence and COVID-19 recovery. She also engages in numerous community-focused initiatives as a former Trenton School Board member, member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and Co-Founder of the New Jersey Black Women’s Collective, non-profit organization.

Taraun graduated Magna Cum Laude from Temple University, earning her B.A. in Political Science and African American Studies, and holds a J.D. from Rutgers School of Law-Newark. She resides in Trenton with her husband Samuel, and two children- Jameson and Samuel Jr.

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Robert James

Chair, Corrections Committee

Robert James embarked on a life devoted to public service, starting with a commendable three-year stint in the US Army, serving briefly overseas, cultivating a strong sense of duty and discipline. Transitioning into civilian life, Robert dedicated an impressive 25 years to Mercer County, serving at the Mercer County Detention Center and the Mercer County Correction Center. Climbing the ranks, Robert retired with the distinguished rank of lieutenant, leaving behind a legacy of commitment to justice and community safety.

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In his continued commitment to public service, he currently serves as the Mercer County Undersheriff, bringing a wealth of experience and leadership to this crucial role. Robert’s duties include administration in the following areas: Criminal Courts, Mercer County Police Academy, and the Sheriff’s Unit at the Mercer County Airport. Robert’s dedication extends beyond professional duties, as he actively contributes to the safety and well-being of Mercer County residents.

Robert exemplifies a life well-lived, characterized by service, dedication, and a strong sense of community.

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Hal English

Chair, Economic Development Committee

Hal currently serves as president and CEO of the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce representing over 1100 Greater Mercer County businesses. He also is president of the Mercer County Convention and Visitors Bureau overseeing tourism marketing in Mercer County for the State of New Jersey.

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He has spent over a decade as a commercial and retail banker and was responsible for business banking in Mercer County for several banks.

He is a graduate of the Princeton Professional School of Business and a fellow of both the National Alliance of Business Leadership, and Leadership New Jersey and attended both Mercer County Community College and Boston College.

Over the years Hal has served on many boards and commissions such as trustee of the Hamilton YMCA; Foundation Director of Mercer County Community College; Trustee of both the United Way and Project Freedom. He also served as a board member of the Mercer County Alliance to End Homelessness.

Hal mentored as a Big Brother through the Big Brother/Big Sister program; served on a special finance committee for Mercer Street Friends and was Chairman of the RWJ Hospital at Hamilton, Strides for Stroke 5K Run, raising funds for stroke victims. In addition, he served on the NJ/DOE Career & Technical Education Advisory Board for financial literacy taught in the Trenton public schools.

In 2004, Hamilton Mayor Gilmore appointed Hal as Director of Economic Development for the Township of Hamilton saying that “Hal English is uniquely qualified based on his combination of government, community and private sector experience.” Mayor Gilmore stated that “Hal has a lifetime of experience in the area of economic development, and he knows this community inside and out”.

In 2017 Robbinsville Mayor David Fried appointed Hal as Director of Community Development directing economic development and community projects, grant writing, infrastructure improvements and sustainable growth for the Township.

Hal has received many honors including Community Service Award from Contact Mercer and Humanitarian Award from Kidsbridge; Community Quarterback Award from the United Way of Greater Mercer County; Platinum Dad Award from the Fathers Center of NJ; and most recently Honorary Commander, Joint Base McGuire Dix Lakewood.

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Dr. Diane Campbell

Chair, Education/Community College/Libraries Committee

Dr. L. Diane Campbell grew up in Trenton and attended the Trenton Public Schools graduating from Trenton Central High School. After attending Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland, she returned to Trenton, and continued her education at the College of New Jersey earning a master’s degree in education. Subsequently, she completed her Doctorate at Rutgers, the State University in Administration, Education Theory and Policy Studies. Her work life and career were primarily at Mercer County Community College where she served for 44 years. She retired in 2020 as the Vice President for Student Affairs. She also served in the Liberal Arts division, as the first director of online learning leading the transition for the implementation of technology in teaching and learning.  As an adjunct Associate Professor of psychology, she taught Introductory Psychology, Child Development and designed courses in the Internet format.

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She has also served for over ten years as a Middle States Commission on Higher Education evaluator.

Involved in community service, she served on the Trenton Board Education for six years including two years as president. She is a lifelong member of the Shiloh Baptist Church where she serves as a Trustee and as a Board member of the Shiloh Community Development Corporation. Her board experience also includes the Henry J. Austin Health Center and the United Way of Greater Mercer County

Dr. Campbell is the mother of three married daughters and the grandmother of seven grandchildren.

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David Rousseau

Chair, Finance Committee

David Rousseau served as state treasurer in the administration of Governor Jon Corzine, capping off a nearly 28 year career in New Jersey state government.

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David began his career with a five-year stint working for the Election Law Enforcement Commission before becoming the Director of Budget and Fiscal Analysis for the New Jersey Senate in 1987.

After 15 years working in the legislative branch, Rousseau moved to the executive side in 2002, becoming deputy state treasurer under Governor Jim McGreevey and Governor Richard Codey. He returned to the Senate in 2006, spending eight months as a Senior Policy Advisor to Senate President Richard Codey, before once again moving to Treasury to serve as Senior Budget and Fiscal Policy Advisor to Governor Corzine. He became Corzine’s Treasurer a year and a half later and served in that position until the end of the Administration in January 2010.

Over the course of his state government career, Rousseau closely interacted with seven New Jersey governors and their administrations: Tom Kean, Jim Florio, Christine Todd Whitman, Don DiFrancesco, Jim McGreevey, Richard Codey, and Jon Corzine.

Since leaving state government, David has been a budget and finance consultant for the City of Trenton and a budget and tax analyst for New Jersey Policy Perspective.

Currently David serves as Vice President of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in New Jersey which represents the fourteen non-profit independent colleges and universities in New Jersey.

David is a life-time Mercer County resident and has resided in Hamilton Twp since 1987.

David received his BA from Temple University in May 1982 and his MBA from Rider University in December 1993.

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Michael Maloney

Chair, Improvement Authority & Airport Committee

Michael Maloney has dedicated his career to serving his fellow working men and women. Since 2004, he's held the position of Business Manager and Secretary-Treasurer for Plumbers and Pipefitters, HVAC/R of Local 9, overseeing the union's operations. He also serves as the President of the Mercer County Central Labor Council AFL-CIO and the New Jersey State Pipetrades.

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Michael received a Liberal Arts Degree AA from Thomas Edison State College. He began his career with training in Am-Pm Welding from Mercer County Vocational Technical School, followed by a four-year apprenticeship through the Plumbers and Steamfitters Trade School. Michael began as a Steamfitter-Plumber-Welder in 1977. He now carries extensive certifications and licenses, and has earned the titles of Master Plumber and Master HVAC/R in the State of New Jersey.

Beyond his professional roles, Michael is actively involved in various professional organizations and boards, including the Department of Community Affairs Plumbing Sub Code Committee, the State Board of Master Plumbers, the State Board of Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning/Refrigeration, and the National Standard Plumbing Code (NSPC and IAPMO). Locally, he is a member of the Hamilton Township Planning Board and the School Development Authority State of New Jersey (SDA).

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Rajvir Goomer, Esq.

Chair, Law Committee

Rajvir S. Goomer is a partner at Hoagland, Longo, Moran, Dunst & Doukas, LLP in New Brunswick, NJ where he focuses on governmental and corporate law and chairs the firm’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.

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As part of his governmental practice, Raj provides legal services to municipal administrations in all aspects of public entity legal matters, including local public contracts law, municipal litigation, eminent domain, and municipal ordinances. His corporate practice includes corporate formations, purchase asset agreements, stock purchase agreements, and shareholder disputes, ranging from hotel or medical practice acquisitions to general counsel for small business owners.

In addition to his transactional law practice, Rajvir has over ten years of experience in election law representing candidates on election day issues, provisional ballot challenges, recounts, and election petitions. He has successfully represented multiple candidates in election trials around the State.

He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) where he advocates for Sikh Americans and hopes to bridge cultural divides, foster understanding, and challenge existing stereotypes. As part of his advocacy work, Raj has worked with the New Jersey Department of Justice, United States Department of Homeland Security, New York City Board of Education, New Jersey Police Academy, and various local police departments regarding minority community awareness education and hate crime issues.

Raj currently lives in East Windsor, NJ with his wonderful wife Sukhmani, and two dogs, Mango and Chai. As an avid Rutgers fan, you’ll find him at most football and basketball games!

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Jay Redd, Esq.

Chair, Mental Health & Recovery Committee

Jason Redd has a wealth of strategic public affairs experience and is well-versed in various policy issues targeting political, governmental, and legal affairs. Having spent the past decade serving in roles at the highest levels of New Jersey government and lobbying on behalf of a broad client base, he possesses a unique combination of internal knowledge and external experience that is critical to the successful management of a challenging roster of clients, from former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords to the Reform Alliance. He has provided strategic guidance to multinational life-science companies and innovative social-enterprising nonprofits. To quote one of his colleagues, “He is on a first-name basis with the movers and shakers of New Jersey—people answer his call.”

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Mr. Redd believes in the value of connection, focusing on impactful results while leveraging his charismatic and energetic networking skills. His longstanding relationships within government, insights into the legislative and executive processes, and deep understanding of the regulatory issues businesses face in the current economy enhance his services.

Mr. Redd has been widely recognized for his notable achievements in government affairs. He was a 2016 recipient of The Network Journal’s 40 Under Forty Achievement Award and has been named to the New Jersey Super Lawyers Rising Stars and New Jersey Law Journal “New Leaders of the Bar” lists. In 2014, Mr. Redd was honored with a Young Alum Award by the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, where he serves as an adjunct professor of public policy.

Committed to giving back to the institutions of higher education that prepared him to execute successfully, Mr. Redd serves on the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy Dean’s Advisory Board and the Alumni Board at the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University. Mr. Redd is involved extensively in pro bono work and community service, including work on domestic violence and mental illness. He is a former president of the Trenton Board of Education.

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Noreen Giblin, Esq.

Chair, Office of Executive & Boards Committee

Noreen currently works as in house Associate Counsel at a New Jersey corporation.

A native of New Jersey, Noreen previously served as the Cabinet Secretary to the Governor, and at the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, as Chief Counsel during the Murphy Administration.  As Chief Counsel, Noreen worked on advancing the Governor’s clean energy agenda, including the 2019 Energy Master Plan, the Offshore Wind inaugural solicitation, the establishment of the State’s first community solar program and the transition of the state’s solar market.

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Additionally, she has also served as Counsel at Gibbons P.C. representing businesses on legislative affairs, public policy, and government affairs matters.

During the Corzine Administration, Noreen served as Chief of Staff to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and was the Chief Advisor to the President of the Board.  In this role, Noreen oversaw the day-to-day management of the Board including core operational, financial, and human resources initiatives.

Noreen formerly served as Director of Executive Office Operations for Governor Corzine and, before that, as State Director to United States Senator Frank Lautenberg where she oversaw the staff and operations throughout New Jersey.  She also served as Deputy Director of the Authorities Unit during the administration of Governor James McGreevey.

Giblin received her B.A. from Villanova University, and J.D. from Seton Hall University School of Law.

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Maria Richardson

Chair, Parks & Public Works Committee

With over two decades of service in municipal government, Maria Richardson has distinguished herself as a consummate professional, blending expertise in engineering, law, and academia. Her career trajectory commenced with a solid grounding in engineering and agriculture, leading to an evolution into legal practice. As an attorney, her proficiency lies in international law, business and international relations, and commercial arbitration. Her academic credentials are extensive and specialized. Maria holds a Master’s in Forestry and Sustainable Development, signifying her in-depth understanding of ecological stewardship and sustainable resource management principles.

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Additionally, her Master's in International Public Law, Business, and Commercial Arbitration evidences her comprehensive grasp of international legal protocols and adeptness in high stakes commercial arbitration. Maria's academic pursuits extend to a Master's degree in E-Learning and ICT, demonstrating her commitment to leveraging technology in educational methodologies. She also has studies in Epidemiology and Public Health. Her scholarly journey is further exemplified by her Ph.D. in Education, which focuses on pedagogical theories and distance education practices. Maria is in the advanced stages of her Ph.D. in Public Administration, specializing in governance, public policy analysis, and administrative frameworks.

During her academic tenure, Ms. Richardson has been a professor, delivering courses in International Law, International Business Law, Environmental Law, and Comparative Law. She is a peer reviewer and evaluator for a national higher education accreditation agency, upholding stringent academic standards and promoting educational integrity. Maria is the City of Trenton Director of Recreation, Natural Resources and Culture and the Acting Director of Health and Human Services.

Maria is married to Michael Richardson, a professional musician, and they are the proud parents of two sons and a daughter.

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Jennifer Coffey

Chair, Planning, Energy & the Environment Committee

Jen Coffey serves currently as the Executive Director of the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC), a role she has held since 2014. In her work, she is committed to advancing responsible and sustainable use of New Jersey's natural resources. Under her guidance, ANJEC has played a pivotal role in implementing key environmental policies, including significant progress in plastic pollution reduction.

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Prior to her role at ANJEC, Jen served as the Policy Director at The Watershed Institute from 2008 to 2014. Jen's dedication to serving her community extends far beyond her professional roles, with extensive involvement in environmental and natural resource-focused causes and organizations, as well as local politics and government.

Jen continues to make significant contributions to environmental advocacy and education in New Jersey. Her passion for environmental stewardship and proven track record underscore her commitment to shaping a sustainable future for the state. She has been recognized by the New Jersey Women in Power List annually from 2014–2022, and received awards from the New Jersey League of Conservation and the New Jersey American Water Resources Association.

Jen holds a Master's degree in Environmental Science and Environmental Policy Studies from the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and a Bachelor's degree in Communications from Stockton University.

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Ana Montero

Chair, Public Safety & Health (Dispatch, OEM & Public Health) Committee

Ana Montero is the former Director of the Public Assistance Division, Recovery Directorate, at the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the Department of Homeland Security. During her tenure, the Public Assistance program provided an unprecedented $55+ billion in critical assistance to communities nationwide to help them respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The program also awarded nearly $7 billion per year Public Assistance recovery grant program. Montero also oversaw the Community Disaster Loan Program, the Fire Management Assistance Grant Program, and the Special Community Disaster Loan Program providing funding to local government to operate essential community services after substantial revenue loss caused by a disaster. The Public Assistance Division includes a staff of over 4000 talented individuals located throughout the US and its territories.

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Prior to joining FEMA, Ana served as a recovery executive for the American Red Cross, overseeing the Hurricane Maria Long Term Recovery Program in Puerto Rico where she managed all aspects of the recovery operations including an investment of over $70 million providing Water, Solar, Health, Agriculture and Community Preparedness throughout the island. A native of Puerto Rico, Ana developed strong cross-sector collaborations with the commonwealth, local government, federally qualified healthcare centers, and community non-profit organizations. In this capacity, she was appointed by Governor Murphy to serve on the Commission on Puerto Rico. During her tenure with the Red Cross, she served in several leadership roles, including Chief Executive Officer of the N.J. Region and Chief Operating Officer of the Los Angeles Region overseeing disaster services, volunteer management, service to the Armed Forces, fundraising and external relations.

Prior to the Red Cross, Montero served as Assistant Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs overseeing Hurricane Sandy housing recovery initiatives. Throughout her career, Ana has been credited for her work on many regional, federal, statewide, and local partnerships related to industry-retention efforts, community health and disaster recovery, community redevelopment, historic preservation, STEM initiatives, and youth development programs.

Montero resides in Mercer County where she has lived for most of her life. She graduated from The College of New Jersey and holds a Rutgers University Law degree.

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Annette Lartigue

Chair, Seniors Committee

Some leaders in business can build a rapport with almost anyone. Annette Lartigue is one of those people who, as an Executive Manager in social services, a small business owner, strategic planner and a force in local politics drives results through collaboration. With an enthusiastic and genuine attitude, Annette radiates a sincere passion for delivering value and benefits to her team, her partners and her customers.

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Lartigue earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science at Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina in 1980. She also earned her Master's Degree in Administrative Science from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey, in 2003. Lartigue began her career at the Mercer County Board of Social Services in 1981 as a caseworker and rose through the ranks. She served as the Executive Chief of Administrative Services for seventeen (17) years from 2004- 2021.

Lartigue served the Trenton community for 12 years as a member of the Trenton City Council with a term of four years as Vice President.

She is the Chief Executive Officer of CoachingU4U consulting specializing in, executive management, Building, Leading, Creating Opportunities, and Connecting People.

Lartigue has repeatedly proven her ability to lead through diverse and challenging situations. She is an excellent agent of change with a record of accomplishments.

She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated Trenton EUO Chapter, T.D.C. and The Women Who Mean Business Association (WWMBA).

She enjoys mentoring, helping to build Communities and personal/business success Annette is motivated by positive people and a desire to create positive change.

Her daily mantra to inspire herself and others is…
I will practice self-care and focus on doing my best.

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Steven Gardner

Chair, Transportation Committee

For more than two decades, Steven Gardner has worked to bridge the gap between the public and private sector and help create economic opportunities that benefit all New Jerseyans. Presently, Gardner serves as director of the New Jersey Laborers'-Employers' Cooperation and Education Trust (NJ LECET), a labor-management partnership of the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA). Previously he served as the organization’s director of government relations where he monitored legislative and regulatory issues affecting the union and its industry partners. His primary focus was on transportation/infrastructure initiatives, public-private partnerships, and economic development.

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Before his appointment as NJ LECET’s director, Gardner worked for Bristol-Myers Squibb as associate director of state government affairs and alliance development. In this capacity he promoted policies aimed at increasing access for patients to innovative biopharmaceuticals over a five state region. He also served as executive director of the New Jersey State Assembly Majority Office. There, he oversaw approximately 30 policy, communications, and administrative staff that serve the 48 elected members of the Assembly Democratic Caucus. Before that, Gardner, served as the senior advisor to the Assembly Majority Leader. In that role he oversaw the majority leader’s legislative agenda. He also helped manage the Majority Leader's relationships within the caucus and with outside interest groups.

Gardner has served on numerous public and private boards. He was appointed to Mayor Jeff Martin’s transition team, serving as the Co-Chair of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee. Gardner chaired The New Jersey Society for Environmental, Economic Development’s (NJ SEED) transportation committee and served on the transportation committee of the NJ Alliance for Action. Steven has also served on the New Jersey Environment Infrastructure Trust, the Mercer County Workforce Investment Board, and the Hamilton zoning board.

Steven Gardner earned his Juris Doctorate from Rutgers Camden Law School and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History from Syracuse University. He lives with his wife and son in Pennington, New Jersey.

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Larry Rosenthal

Chair, Veterans Committee

Graduate of Wm. L. Dickinson High School (Home of the Dupree’s and Four Seasons) in Jersey City and went on to graduate from Saint Peter’s University with a BA in Management. Worked mostly in the government arena, joined the NJ Army National Guard in 1983 (@33 ½ yo). Retired in May of 2009. Activated for Hurricanes, Snowstorms, etc. and 9/11/2001 activated as a Chaplain Assistant assigned to Ground Zero and Operation Respect, (Twin Tower Site and Staten Island recovery site), awarded an MSM. In January 2006 volunteered to deploy for duty at Bagram Airbase, Afghanistan. During my time in service, was in Supply & Food Service. Was part of Team in Supply that was awarded National Supply Excellence Award. Presentation at the Pentagon exactly one month before it was attacked.

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Member of Jewish War Veterans since 1985, with Post 156, which he merged into Post 444. Was Post Commander, then Legislative Committee Chairman. Started the Iraq and Afghanistan committee, which became the Post 9/11 & Gulf War Veterans Committee.

Department Commander 2014 - 2016 & 2020 - 2022. While Department Commander, reestablished the Trenton Office and developed a strong relationship with the State Legislatures, the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, the Veteran Hospital in East Orange, and the Veteran Homes in NJ. Recognized for duty by Brigadier General from Albania.

Received National Recognition as Department Commander of the Year and having the best Department website, nationally.

During his current term 2020-2022, he established an email list so that he can communicate directly with members Communication is part of membership retention. Worked on revamping the Department website and held Department meetings through Zoom have been an interesting part of the past year. Being one of many VSOs certified under JWV, (which he feels is a great tool for PR, Publicity, and Membership). The "thank you" that a VSO gets with helping Veterans and their families is rewarding. He feels that regardless of the military service, only a Vet understands a Vet. Larry was also awarded the Legion of Honor from the Chapel of the Four Chaplains. Larry is also involved with the Silver Star Families Association and was recently awarded the Quilt of Valor from the Turtle Creek Peacemakers.

He has two adult children and two granddaughters, who he takes pride in watching play sports and their other talents. Larry has the support of his partner Carol and her three adult children.

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