Candace Straight, A New Jersey Trailblazing Advocate for Women, has Died

The New Jersey Statehouse and Capitol Building In Trenton

A nationally known fundraiser for WISH list, known for promoting pro-choice Republican women,

Candace Straight
Candace Straight

Candace “Candy” Straight has died. A financial consultant from Bloomfield, Ms. Straight also served as an unpaid vice chairwoman of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority. She worked for numerous corporations including, Merck & Co. Inc, headquartered in Whitehouse Station, and Bankers Trust Company. In addition, Ms. Straight has recently served as an advisory director of Securitas Capital, LLC, a global private equity investment firm specializing in insurance and financial services related industries. She also a director of Providence Washington, a property and casualty insurance company, Summit Global Partners, an insurance brokerage firm.

“Tammy and I are saddened to learn of the death of Candy Straight who, while never holding public office, was a tremendous influence on numerous women who have,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “She served multiple administrations in formal roles and was an informal advisor to a who’s who in our state’s politics. She leaves a strong legacy of advocacy and leadership not just in New Jersey, but nationwide. When we moved to New Jersey more than two decades ago, Candy was among the first to welcome us to our new home.

“Candy and I enjoyed a shared love of Broadway and musical theater,” added the governor. “Her favorite show was ‘A Chorus Line.’ In so many ways, Candy was one singular sensation. She helped raise the curtain on many careers, and the lights of our politics will be a littler dimmer without her.”

Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg today issued the following statement on the death of Ms. Straight, whom she described as a trailblazing advocate for women on Wall Street, in New Jersey politics and in the film industry:

“Candy Straight was a dear personal friend and one of the leading advocates for the election of women in politics not only in New Jersey, but across the nation. She helped elect Christine Todd Whitman, New Jersey’s only woman governor, and was the driving force in WISH List, the national network that raised money to elect pro-choice Republican women to Congress. We did a panel together each year at the “Ready to Run” program at Rutgers’ Center for American Women in Politics that trains women from both parties to run for office. Candy knew the challenges women face because she fought her way up from an entry-level position on Wall Street to the highest corporate boardrooms. Her public service ranged from positions on the NJ Sports and Exposition Authority to the Rutgers Board of Governors. More recently, she started breaking glass ceilings in the film industry; her documentary on the Equal Rights Amendment will be released soon and will be a fitting capstone to a life well lived. I will miss her friendship, her bipartisanship, her passion and her fervor.”

From 1987 to 1996, Ms. Straight was a principal of Head Company, a merchant banking firm specializing in the insurance industry. The Head Group acquired numerous companies including Integon Corporation, Sphere Drake, Marketing One, and Ango American. Straight was president of Integon Corporation from 1990 to 1992 and served as a director until 1995. Straight also served as a director of Integon Life, Marketing One, and Drake Holdings.

In 1982, she was appointed by Governor Thomas Kean to be a trustee of the Public Employees Retirement System of the State of New Jersey, serving until 1988. Straight was co-chair of Governor Christine Todd Whitman’s Budget Advisory Committee and served on Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s Budget Transition Team. Appointed by Governor Whitman to the Board of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority in 1994, Straight was vice chairman from 1996 to January 2003. She also served on Mayor Giuliani and Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Private/Public Initiatives Council and is a former trustee of the New Jersey Network Foundation and a past president of the Financial Women’s Association of New York.

Ms. Straight is the past president and co-founder of the WISH List, a national donor network that supports pro-choice Republican women for high political office. Straight is a graduate of Bloomfield High School. She received her BA from Wilson College and her MBA from New York University. In June of 1994 Straight was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by Wilson College.

She had been heavily involved in helping the 2002 Senate primary campaign of Republican Diane Allen. In fact, the main reason behind Straight’s candidacy was to provide a line for Diane Allen to run on in the GOP Senate Primary. (State election rules requires a federal candidates to run with a candidate for countywide office to fill a slate on the ballot.)

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