NJ POWER COUPLES: InsiderNJ’s 2018 Edition

INSIDERNJ’s 2018 Power Listdrops next week. In the meantime, here’s a little something to nosh on. It’s a list of Power Couples, conjured up by myself with some help from Facebook. We did a power couple list last year and y’all loved it.

No repeats this year. That would be cheap and lazy. It’s a fresh list with fresh couples to tide you over until next week’s main course!


TAMMY + PHIL MURPHY She’s NJ’s First Lady and he’s our Governor. As First Lady, Tammy Murphy is policy-driven focusing on things like reducing childhood mortality rates. Phil has his hands full leading the most densely populated state in the land, fixing NJTransit, and legalizing weed. No biggie.


MARY PAT + CHRIS CHRISTIE She’s a brilliant and successful investment banker and the primary breadwinner in a household that includes NJ’s ex-Gov. He’s on the shortlist to become the next Attorney General of the United States. So hide your bong.


M. TERESA RUIZ + SAMUEL GONZALEZ She represents Newark in the NJ Senate and he chairs Newark’s North Ward Democratic Committee. As chairperson of the Education Committee, Senator Ruiz exerts tremendous influence on education policy in New Jersey. For his part, Samuel is keeping the powerhouse machine that Steve Audubato Sr built running smoothly. And not for nothing, this power couple is almost always runway ready.


JOE DEIORIO + THOS SHIPLEY This Republican duo occupy two seats on Roselle Park (population 13,500) borough council. Thos reps the 5th ward and Joe’s an at-large councilman who also did a long stint as Roselle Park’s mayor. The NYTimes video’d the pair after their wedding back in 2013 and you need to watch. It’s something sweet and lovely in a world increasing devoid of sweet and lovely things.


CAROL MURPHY + MICHAEL MULLER  Carol is the new-ish Assemblywoman from Burlington County and one of the nicest, most normal people you’ll ever meet in Trenton. Fresh off leading Congressman-elect Jeff Van Drew to victory, Michael’s reputation as one of NJ’s toughest, winningest campaign managers endures.

YVONNE LOPEZ + SAM DELGADO She’s a freshman assemblywoman representing Perth Amboy and the rest of NJ’s 19th Legislative District. Sam’s VP of external affairs for Verizon in NJ and served on Governor Murphy’s Commission on Puerto Rican Relief. The consummate power couple. Don’t believe me? Ask the Perth Amboy slate that got pummeled by Lopez/Delgado- aligned candidates this past Election Day.


NATASHA ALAGARASAN + RAJ MUKHURJI She’s communications director for the New Jersey Department of Human Services and he represents Jersey City in the state legislature. This sartorially gifted Hudson County duo challenge Ruiz/Gonzalez for fashion supremacy on this list.


SARAH + CORT ADELMAN He’s Assistant VP for Government Relations at Virtua Health and she’s Deputy Commissioner at NJ Department of Human Services. They’re two of the most influential and respected voices on health care in the Garden State.


AMBER MARGENTINA + AXEL OWEN She leads Planned Parenthood’s field operations and he’s the political director for the NJ Democratic State Committee. Their greatest collaboration is Oliver, born last fall when Mom gave birth while Dad was managing Vin Gopal’s successful campaign for NJ Senate. Amber and Axel haven’t tied the knot yet, but she has an amazing ring and they already made a beautiful baby so what’s honestly, what’s the rush?!


ANN VARDEMAN + SETH HAHN Seth’s a union labor stalwart who serves as legislative and political director for  CWA’s Trenton district while Ann directs programming at New Jersey Citizen Action. She also played a critical roll helping Andy Kim flip NJ’s 3rd Congressional district, one of the most dramatic election day results in recent memory.


CARRIE + RAJ PARIKH She’s Chief Operating Officer/Chief Data and Privacy Officer at NJ’s Office of Information technology and he’s one of NJ’s top election lawyers. Carrie and Raj are this year’s peoples choice winners, garnering more nominations for this list than any other pair.


TONY HOWLEY + CHRISTOPHER STARK Tony directs field operations for the conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity of NJ and Christopher’s VP at the Insurance Council of New Jersey. Both Tony and Christopher have deep roots in the NJGOP stretching back to their days as Young Republicans


ROBIN KAMPF + LUANNE PETERPAUL Garden State Equality has passed nearly 250 pro-LGBT laws and Luanne Peterpaul’s fingerprints are on every single one of them. Her wife Robin continues a long and venerable tradition of using art to influence politics and culture. Robin’s latest award-winning documentary “Love Wins,” about a lesbian couple in a 50-year-long relationship, did the festival circuit last year to much acclaim.


CATHLEEN LEWIS + PAUL PENNA The Mercer duo met while working for Congressman Rush Holt. She’s now a Councilwoman in Lawrence and went inside MVC earlier this year. He opened his own shop after stints at Department of Banking and Insurance and as Chief of Staff and Executive Director of the NJ democrats.


JENNIFER MANCUSO + NICK FIXMER He’s a longtime Union County operative who scored big in neighboring Somerset on election day where he helped flip 2 freeholder seats and sent Tom Malinowski to Congress. She’s currently the executive director of the Fair Share Hospitals Collaborative. She’s also PAC Chair for Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey.


HILARY BECKETT + JON CHEBRA He’s senior director, Federal Affairs at New Jersey Hospital Association and she’s one of Governor Murphy’s most trusted lieutenants.


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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