The Pete Rodino Commemorative 2018 Columbus Day List of Italian American Politicians

If you have about five minutes and want to hear the American language spoken about as eloquently and forcefully as it can be spoken, please take a few moments to watch the late U.S. Rep. Peter Rodino in this video here.

And please enjoy this list to commemorate Columbus Day.

For the moment, we’re limiting this one to those well-established entities who are unquestionably Italian.

Bergen County Democratic Committee Chairman Paul Juliano.
Bergen County Democratic Committee Chairman Paul Juliano.

Bergen County Democratic Committee Chairman Paul Juliano.


U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-9) (and sons): The diehard Patersonian is 100% Italian.

Bergen County Republican Organization Chair Jack Zisa congratulated Paul Juliano on his election to the head of the county Democrats, a party he says is one of deceit and trickery and has not been serving the needs of the working people.
Bergen County Republican Organization Chair Jack Zisa.

Bergen County Republican Organization Chairman Jack Zisa.

U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone.

Long Branch Mayor John Pallone.


Steve Adubato, Sr. (and son and daughter): The Newark North Ward Democratic Leader sets the pace for Italian Americans in NJ.

Governor Chris Christie: Ok, he’s half. But the half is Sicilian, and anyway, Adubato once told us, “He’s Italian.”

Assemblyman Anthony Verrelli (D-15): He scored a seat this year to fill the vacancy caused by the retirement from the Legislature of Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora.

Senator Gerald Cardinale (R-39): The proud Italian American served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1984, 1988, and 1992 and as a Delegate to the New Jersey Republican State Platform Committee in 1983.

Senator Nick Sacco (D-32)

Senator Nick Sacco (D-32): A popular school principal, Sacco beat seized advantage of the fall of the Mocco Brothers to run North Bergen for the past 25 years.

Senator (and Union County Democratic Chairman) Nick Scutari (D-22): The Linden brand name hails from an Italian family that also produced a senator from the Italian Republic.


Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26): If you’re from Morris, you’re in the camp of one of two senators, and they’re both Italian, the other being…

Assemblyman Tony Bucco (R-25): He lost his father this year, Senator Tony Bucco, and will fill his seat this week. 

Former Congressman Bill Martini: Now a Judge (who presided over the corruption trial of former Newark Mayor Sharpe James), the Republican represented the 8th District from 1995-97.

Hasbrouck Heights Mayor Jack DeLorenzo.

Senator Sarlo

Senator Paul Sarlo (D-36): The South Bergen Budget Committee Chairman is 100% Italian.

Senator Dawn Addiego (D-8): We’re guessing 100%.

Mercer County Freeholder John Cimino.

Former Assemblyman Skip Cimino: Executive Director of the Assembly Majority Office.

Ocean County Freeholder Joe Vicari: The state’s longest-serving freeholder, he’s held the office since 1981.

Donald Scarinci: Power attorney and childhood chum of U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ).

Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (D-28): If you go to a Columbus Day Parade in Essex County and don’t run into Caputo, you’re not in Essex County. You’re lost.


Former U.S. Senator Bob Torricelli: Born in Paterson.

Assemblyman John Armato: Democratic Assemblyman from Buena Vista.

Former Assemblyman John Amodeo: A Union crane operator. Served in the Legislature from 2008-2014.

Former Assemblyman Vince Polistina: An engineer by trade, served in the Legislature from 2008-2012. Ran an epic 2011 campaign for senate against the late Jim Whelan.

Assemblyman Ryan Peters: His mother’s Italian.

Gina LaPlaca: Marlboro roots.

Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise.

Hudson County Democratic Organization Chair Amy DeGise

Hudson County Democratic Committee Chair Amy DeGise: The chair of the party organization made history last year as the first elected woman HCDO chair.

Cumberland County GOP Chair Michael Testa.
Cumberland County GOP Chair Michael Testa.

Cumberland County GOP Chairman Mike Testa: The Vinelander is runnning aainst Sseator Robert andrzejczak in Legislative District 1.

Senator Joe Vitale (D-19): Maybe it’s the influence of McCormac and McCabe, but when you think of the Middlesex delegation, you think Irish. That is until you run smack into the 19th District.

Former Bergen County Democratic Chairman Lou Stellato: The funeral parlor proprietor’s a former Lyndhurst mayor.

Berkeley Township Mayor Carmen Amato: He’s one of the key local components to robust Republican Party organization in Ocean County.

Might Anthony join DiVincenzo (center, with COS Phil Alagia, left) on a 2018 Essex ticket?

Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo. About as Italian as it gets, unless you compare him to his chief of staff…

Phil Alagia: …who might have the edge on him.

Paterson Police Director Jerry Speziale: He’s one of the true torchbearers.


Former Assemblyman (and former Bergen GOP Chairman) Paul DiGaetano: He took an ill-advised shot at the 40th District senate seat in 2017 and lost to…

Senator Kristin Corrado: The Republican former Passaic County Clerk and respected Totowa lawmaker (pictured, bottom). 

Universally respected legislator Burzichelli of Paulsboro (foreground, with Building Trades Prez Bill Mullen) was rumored to have been first in line for the chief of staff job in a Governor Sweeney administration…

Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-3): The ultimate socialized New Jerseyan, Burzichelli can talk movies as easily as deep dive budget matters.

Former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (R-16): The proud Italian American impressed people in his losing 2017 run for governor. He wants to run again in 2021.

Anthony Fazzinga: Paterson-based operative; veteran of numerous campaigns.

Monmouth County Clerk Christine Hanlon.

Joe Parlavecchio: Like Sacco and Adubato, the East Ward Democratic Committee leader has deep roots in urban education.

Camden County Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli, Jr.

Bill Caruso: The former ED of the Assembly Majority Office works at Archer Greiner.

Former Senator Tom Gagliano: The Republican from Holmdel served in the state senate from 1978 to 1989.

Former Speaker Joe Doria (D-31), with former Assemblywoman Joan Quigley (D-32).

Former Speaker Joe Doria: He’s a legend, and not only in Hudson County.

Assemblyman Nick Chiaravalloti (D-31): We’ll try to make this simple. Classic Bayonne is broken into the Polish, Italian and Irish neighborhoods. Guess which one Chiaravalloti is from.

Gaburo in gear.

Somerset County GOP Chairman Al Gaburo: Raritan (the chairman’s hometown) has one of the state’s most authentic Italian American Main Streets in the state.

Former Governor James Florio: Half Italian, but again, like so many, that half can suddenly – and without warning – feel like the totality.

Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-2).

Assemblyman John DiMaio (R-23). Former Mayor of Hackettstown.

Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso (R-13) The Holmdel resident is one of the newer members of the New Jersey General Assembly.

Monmouth County Freeholder Tom Arnone: Italian.

Tinton Falls Mayor Vito Perillo.

Toms River Coucilman Tommy Russo.

Giancarlo Ghione: Head of the NJ Young Republican Federation.  

Ray Ferraioli: The North Jersey Democratic operative has his hands in everything.

Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo (D-14): He’s so good at embodying the Irish or Italian in himself that you can easily forget the other ethnic half depending on the circumstances or occasion, but his name gives it away every time.

State Senator Joe Lagana raised $100,000 at his fundraiser Wednesday night at the Grand Havana Lounge in New York City.
State Senator Joe Lagana raised $100,000 at his fundraiser Wednesday night at the Grand Havana Lounge in New York City.

Senator Joe Lagana (D-38): Italian.

Former Senator John Girgenti (D-35): He still looks like a 1960s Italian cinema star.

Gina Genovese: Running for Governor as an independent, the towns consolidation champ served as the mayor of Long Hill.

Hudson County Freeholder Anthony “Stick” Romano: Hoboken. Need we say more?

Hoboken Councilman Michael Russo: We’re going out on a limb here to say he’s Italian.

Hoboken Councilman Mike DeFusco. Yeah, yeah. “A little bit.”

Nick Acocella: Ok, let’s see, the guy has a TV show called Pasta and Politics. ‘Nuff said.

Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle: North Bergen roots.

Hudson County Freeholder Chairman Anthony Vainieri: I sense another pattern.

Hudson County Sheriff Frank X. Schillari: The Italians are obviously still ubiquitous in Hudson.

Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco: Uh, yeah.

Linden Councilman John Francis Roman: He got to the dance as an independent Democrat and has distinguished himself early.

Bergen County Freeholder Steve Tanelli: South Bergen – just like Sarlo and Stellato.

Former Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi: The Republican took a come-backing crack last year and this  year.

Angelo Genova: One of the top lawyers in the state, and the go-to courtroom guy for Pascrell and DiVincenzo, among others.

Dan DiCesare: Politically active dentist, member of the State Board of Dentistry, and proud founder of the San Gennaro Festival in Belmar.

Danni Van Drew-Dick: Head of DRPR Strategies, she has Italian roots and – as the daughter of presumptive CD2 Rep. Jeff Van Drew – South Jersey roots. 

Ed Kologi: Union County-based veteran attorney.

Cliffside Park Mayor Tom Calabrese: His father was a local legend.

Assemblyman Clinton Calabrese: His grandfather was a local legend.

InsiderNJ General Manager Pete Oneglia: A veteran political operative turned media lynch pin. New Jersey politics is kid’s stuff to him. Remember, the old country town of Oneglia was a battleground between the House of Savoy and House of Genoa.

Angela Delli Santi: The former crack AP news reporter turned League of Conservation Voters communications director is a typical Jersey hybrid: Polish and, yes, Italian!

Alicia D’Alessandro: A definitive Jersey diehard, and the former spokesperson for Tedesco.

Union County Freeholder Alexander “Al” Mirabella: The former Roselle Park Councilman has served on the Freeholder Board for 20 years.

Joe Fiordaliso (and son): President of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.

Ray Pocino: The Vice President and Eastern Regional Manager of the Laborers’ International Union of North America also serves as commissioner to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. That’s Italian.

Former U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-2): LoBo leaves little doubt about his roots.

Corrado on her way to the Senate chamber.


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