Download Insider NJ’s 2022 Insider OUT: 100 LGBTQ Power List or view it below
Welcome to Insider NJ’s 5th Annual OUT 100 LGBTQ Power List, a tribute to politically influential LGBTQ voices in New Jersey Politics.
You Can’t Be What You Can’t See
There’s a pronounced and conspicuous glass ceiling for LGBTQs in New Jersey politics. Sure, the gatekeepers are happy to have us as “the help” on campaigns and in government positions. But when it comes to elected office, opportunities are paltry becaused the gatekeepers and party bosses of New Jersey politics still very much prefer a status quo that’s overwhelmingly heterosexual.
What’s up with that?
Currently, there are two openly LGBTQ US Senators, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. At last count, you’ll find 11 openly LGBTQ members in the House of Representatives including three from New York, right next door.
None are from New Jersey.
None have ever been from New Jersey.
Around the nation, there are dozens of openly LGBTQ state lawmakers as well, doing the peoples’ business in state houses from coast to coast, even in some of the most conservative states in America. There are, for example, four LGBTQ state lawmakers currently serving in the Georgia State House.
That’s more than New Jersey has elected in our centuries long history.
Assemblyman Don Guardian, a republican from Atlantic County, is the only openly LGBTQ member of the New Jersey General Assembly and only the 3rd ever. That paltry figure is a bit higher of you count out-ish lawmakers of yore like former Assembly Speaker Joe Roberts (D-Camden) and those who came out after retirement like Hazel Gluck an Ocean County Republican who served in the state house during the 1980s.
The elected officials on this year’s list – mayors, commissioners, councilmembers alike – have already demonstrated that LGBTQs can win.
Since losing his first election in 1994 (for Freeholder) Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora has complied a 12-1 win/loss record. Passaic County Commissioner Bruce James is undefeated on election day with a 5-0 record. Likewise Rebecca Williams, Union County commissioner and former councilwoman, remains undefeated on election day with a record of 4/0. Even this year’s top Republican, Assemblyman Don Guardian holds a winning record (2-1) against the South Jersey Democratic Machine, the most well-funded political organization on the state.
My point is that LGBTQ candidates are tough and resilient. When given a chance, LGBTQs have long demonstrated the ability to run and to win.
LeRoy Jones runs the state Democratic Party and Bob Hugin runs the NJGOP. George Norcross runs the Camden Machine. They remain the three most powerful and consequential gatekeepers in NJ politics. The next time you see Mr Norcross, Mr Jones, or Mr Hugin out on the trail (or anywhere for that matter) ask them why LGBTQ candidates so rarely make the ballot on their watch.
Download Insider NJ’s 2022 Insider Out 100: LGBTQ Power List or view it below:Insider LGBT Out 100
- Andy Kim
- Bonnie Watson Coleman
- Christian Fuscarino
- CJ Griffin
- Dave Parano
- Dean Dafis
- Don Guardian
- Eddie Freeman
- Gay Pride
- Jay Lassiter
- Jeanne LoCicero
- Jeannine LaRue
- Jeremy Feigenbaum
- Julia Fahl
- Kari Osmond
- Kathy Ahearn-O'Brien
- Kaufman Zita
- LGBTQ Pride
- Maria Rodriguez-Gregg
- Michael DeFusco
- NJ Pride
- Pat Hansen
- Perry Halkitis
- Rebecca Williams
- Reed Gusciora
- Shawn LaTourette
- Tom Prol
Click here for the full Insider Index