Scutari Picks New Executive Director

Senate President Nick Scutari announced the appointment of Alison Accettola as the next Executive Director of the Senate Democratic Majority Office. Accettola, who currently serves as Deputy Executive Director & General Counsel, will succeed Kevin Drennan in the top staff position for the Senate Democrats as of April 19. Drennan will remain as a senior advisor to the Senate President to assist in the transition.

“Alison Accettola is a talented attorney who possesses a strong understanding of the Legislature,” said Senator Scutari. “Alison has the skills and abilities needed to advance the policies of the Senate Democrats as we work to address the priorities of the people of New Jersey. My Senate colleagues share my confidence in her judgement and professionalism.”

Accettola has been at the Senate Majority Office for seven years, has served as General Counsel for the Senate Democrats for the past three years and as the aide to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Prior to that, she was an attorney for the New Jersey Public Defenders Office.

“Kevin Drennan has served as Executive Director with integrity and steadfast commitment to the Legislature, gaining the trust of the Senators, the respect of those who interacted with the Senate and the allegiance of the staff,” said Senator Scutari. “Kevin was prepared to leave at the beginning of the year and I appreciate that he assisted me as I transitioned into the role as Senate President. I thank him for his decade of service at the highest level of the Senate Majority Office. His presence will be missed.”

Drennan served as Executive Director and Chief of Staff for more than a decade, guiding enactment of numerous landmark legislative accomplishments, including: bail reform, marijuana legalization, dedicated funding for the Transportation Trust Fund, increased minimum wage, college affordability and higher education reforms, sports betting and online gaming, the sexual assault survivor law and the elimination of non-disclosure agreements, juvenile justice reforms, and environmental justice. He also shaped the reform agendas in the Path to Progress, Investing in You and Formula-4-Success initiatives, and the creation of the Disability Caucus. Drennan also helped managed responses to Superstorm Sandy and the Covid crisis.

Senator Scutari also announced the appointments of Elizabeth Mahn as Budget and Policy Director for the Senate Democratic Majority and Rose Farias as Senior Policy Advisor to the Senate Leadership.

Senate statements:

“There are very few in this space that have a keen eye, sensibility and knowledge of policy the way Kevin does. His understanding of the process and the implications it holds is hard to find,” said Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex). “We are lucky to have Alison stepping into this role, as someone who is a longstanding staff member and has earned the respect of both her colleagues in the Senate Majority Office and the Senators. I look forward to seeing her excel in this space and am appreciative Kevin is staying on to assist in her transition and see us through the budget process.”

“For the last decade, Kevin has been a powerful force behind every major policy achievement coming out of the New Jersey Senate. I feel grateful to have had him in my corner on so many transformative criminal justice initiatives, and for much of that time Alison was right beside him,” said Senator Sandra Cunningham (D-Hudson). “While we are losing a great mind, I have no doubt that Alison has what it takes to lead the Senate Majority Office and carry on our efforts to improve the lives of New Jersey’s most vulnerable residents.”

“Kevin has been invaluable as we worked on some of the most consequential fiscal conditions in the state’s history,” said Senator Paul Sarlo, chair of the Senate Budget Committee. “The Senate has been resourceful and prudent in crafting budgets that addressed the needs of the people of New Jersey, and Kevin guided the work of the Senate staff in support of the effective fiscal solutions we put in place. I want to welcome Alison as a consummate professional who I know will excel as the next executive director. I trust in her skills and abilities.”

“Kevin Drennan’s leadership in the Senate Majority Office over the last ten years has been critical to the overall success of the Senate operating smoothly and efficiently. On a personal and professional level, I will miss his charismatic personality and his exceptional command of complicated policy issues,” said Senator Troy Singleton (D-Burlington). “Strong leadership during times of transition is paramount. Alison Accettola has played a key role in the Senate Majority Office for the last seven years and, without a doubt, she will be a great Executive Director.”

“I have valued Kevin’s leadership and ability to navigate complicated public policy priorities and to help us get things done for the people of New Jersey,” said Senator Nellie Pou. “I am glad to know that Alison Accettola will be stepping in to lead the Senate Majority Office. I have had the privilege of working with Alison on a number of bills and policies. She is a tireless public servant and passionate about making New Jersey a more livable place. I am confident she will bring that same energy to her duties as Executive Director.”

“Senate Republicans offer our congratulations to Alison Accettola on her promotion to executive director of the Senate Majority Office,” said Senate Republican Leader Steve Oroho. “We look forward to working together in a bipartisan effort to restore the Legislature as a true co-equal branch of government. And to Kevin Drennan, thank you for your dedicated service to the Senate and all of its members. I appreciated my years working with you, and found you to be a hard-working professional and a good person. We wish you the best in your future endeavors.”

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