NJ POWER COUPLES: InsiderNJ’s 2017 Edition

I love lists. You love lists. We all love lists.

I know you’re all quivering with anticipation for INSIDERNJ’s 2017 Power List that drops in just about two weeks. This year’s edition will be soooo extra!

In this meantime, here’s a little something to whet your appetite while awaiting the most epic Power List ever! It’s a list of Power Couples, in no particular order, all chosen by me with some help from Missy Rebovich, my beard/moll/muse.

You’ll recognize plenty of names. But you also might notice a slight emphasis on the next generation of NJ politicos.

Gail + Bob Gordon She’s a GOP lawyer/fundraiser and he’s a democratic lawmaker from Bergen County. They’re one of several mixed-partisan duos on this list. They had a shot at love while dating briefly in the 1980s. But as we all know, timing is everything. It wasn’t until 2006 that this political pair reunited, fell in love, and tied the knot.

“Every day I look at him and think, ‘Where did you come from? You are the most wonderful thing,’ ” Gail said, as noted in the NY Times’ announcement. “I really thought this is someone who would be with me as long as I’m alive. He’s not a Porsche; he’s a Chevy.”

Which is just about the sweetest damn thing I’ve ever read in my life.

Steve Sweeney + Chris Christie Their marriage of convenience is quickly winding down, but for the past eight years these two have enabled the other, for better or worse. I put Sweeney’s name first in this instance because we know who wore the pants in this relationship.

Valerie Huttle + Frank Huttle She’s a long-serving Assemblywoman from Bergen County and he’s Mayor of Englewood. Their 40th wedding anniversary is next September. That’s a big one which got us thinking… how does one mark such stupendous occasion?

“Ruby is the traditional gift for 40 years ,”Assemblywoman Huttle explained.  “I would love to travel to Southeast Asia – Myanmar and Thailand where the finest rubies are found . They represent love, energy , passion, power, and a zest of life . Going to the source is good enough for me.”

Note to Mayor Huttle: RUBIES! GET ON THAT!

Jeannette Hoffman & Joshua Henne Jeannette comes from the Not Crazy Wing of the GOP and Joshua’s pretty much a bleeding heart liberal. Yet they shared enough in common to fall in love, get married, and have a really freaking adorable baby boy named Grayson!

We often see Jeannette on TV in a fabulous dress serving up some common-sense political dish. Her do-gooder hubby’s current campaign: raising money for homeless kids. You should donate. Because homeless kids.

Alixon Collazos + Brendan Gill   Alixon manages BGill Group, a public affairs and government relations agency that’s her husband’s namesake. In addition to running the family business with his wife, Brendan is also an Essex County freeholder. Each took big roles in Phil Murphy’s campaign and their stock should rise in Murphy era.

Michelle Jaker + Ed Oatman Michele directs government affairs at Horizon Blue Cross/Blue Shield of NJ. Ed’s chief of staff for Senator Scutari.  Ed’s profile will rise next year when his boss shepherds a cannabis legalization bill through Trenton. For her part, Michele’s coming off a big year that included repelling a $500,000,000 shakedown from Governor Christie and Senator Sweeney.

When they’re not in Trenton being relevant, Michele and Ed  are probably at some Asbury Park honky-tonk listening to Grateful Dead cover bands.

Ksenia Lebedeva + Hank Lyon  A former aide to Assemblyman Ciattarelli, Ksenia chairs Somerset County Young Republicans and is a candidate for Bound Brook Council. Hank’s the youngest freeholder ever elected in Morris County.

They’re both super conservative in a way that kinda reminds me of my dad. Who I love.

Kari Osmond + Julia Fahl Kari runs Congresswoman Coleman’s district office . Julia is a Planned Parenthood fundraiser. When they’re not pushing their progressive, lesbian, feminist agenda, life centers around their beloved cat, Randall.

Stay tuned for January wedding bells for these lovebirds!

Kelly Stewart Maer + Bill Maer  He’s the new senior partner at Public Strategies Impact. She’s treasurer of the NJ Democratic State Committee and directs government affairs at Capital Health Systems.

The consummate power couple.

Missy Rebovich & Jay Lassiter  Like many couples of the 21st century, Missy and I met on Facebook in September 2010, quickly joining forces to become one of the most notorious couples in New Jersey politics.

Between us ,we literally have you all on speed dial.

Maggie Moran + Matt Doherty Maggie’s the doyenne of NJ political communications with her firm KIVVIT. Her husband Matt is of mayor of Belmar.

They remain the life of every party!

Missy + Gerry Balmir Missy is Senator Menendez’ senior advisor. Her husband Gerry is a Hudson County freeholder.  These two Hudson County political operatives hustle harder and they look great doing it.

Andrea Katz + Marshall Spevak She’s a lawyer for the Assembly Dems. He’s Assemblyman Mazzeo’s Chief of Staff and president of  the democratic party’s state youth wing.

Their recent nuptials where chronicled in the NY Times.

Liz Mahn + Brandon McKoy She’s a research associate for the NJ Senate Majority office in Trenton. He’s a policy wonk at New Jersey Policy Perspective, a left-leaning political think tank. They met at Rutger’s Blaustein School of Public Policy but it’s wasn’t love at first sight.

“We had met briefly once but didn’t start hanging out for real until the night of Obama’s reelection in 2012,” Brandon explained.

They just squeaked out the win as Most Recently Married on this list, edging Katz/Spevak  by a hair!

Christina Zuk + Vin Gopal She’s a lobbyist at Princeton Public Affairs Group & he’s the Democratic candidate for NJ Senate in Monmouth County. Known for their work ethic, they also manage to cut an exceedingly glamorous figure out on the fundraising circuit.

Laura Matos + Sean Darcy Laura’s General Manager at Kivvit & he’s principal at Round World Consulting, a political communications firm. I wish I knew them better to say something clever about this power couple. But I know enough to know they belong on this list.

Lynn Haynes-Sabath  & AJ Sabath  The own Advocacy and Management Group, a bluechip lobbying firm on State Street. Each brought two kids into their marriage creating NJ’s version of the Brady Bunch. Complete with a golden retriever.

Rosalie Efthim + Joey Novick Rosie is the long-serving matriarch of BlueJerseyNation. Her long-time partner, the affable former Flemington councilman Joey Novick serves on the board of ACLU. Together since 1978 but never married, these Hunterdon honeys are an inspiration to all the other couples on this list who are living in sin.

Victoria + Vinny Napolitano Victoria was the youngest mayor to serve Moorestown. She’s now serving her 2nd term on town council. Vinny served Gov. Christie as director of constituencies.

They’re one of two couples on this list hailing from Moorestown, Burlington County, alongside AJ + Lynn Sabath.

If you believe you and your mate were overlooked, lobbying for next year’s POWER COUPLE list commences now. Find me on Twitter@Jay_Lass.



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