My Life in New Jersey Politics: An Introduction



When I was first approached to write a bi-weekly column, my thought was, how can I do it without speaking ill of the dead or disturbing those who are still alive? Then I realized that, given my 30+ years of public service as a member of the legislative staff, member of the local council, deputy mayor, mayor, chief of staff of a county executive, former member of assembly, former and current senator, 12 years as GOP county chairman and one of the state’s top political fundraisers, I had a lot to say and tell. Plus, not being on the ballot in 2017 made things a lot easier.

So this is it :

I intend to use my experiences and build on many of these events to put together what I hope will be a worthy column for your time. Let’s be clear, I’m not a journalist and I don’t present myself as the best mastermind or political agent – I’m just that kid (52) from little old Cedar Grove who lived his dream of being a state legislator (22) ), married the love of his life (true), has two perfectly well-behaved teenage children (lie) and now practices law in my own office.

As I head into elective retirement and prepare my life after 29 years in office, I’ll be talking about some life experiences, making some political observations, and giving what I hope are some really cool and topical opinions. . In a nutshell, I hope this column is equal parts political Ann Landers and Charles Kuralt with a hint of Roger Stone (minus the Nixon tattoo).

In the coming weeks, I plan to write about the following (no particular order):

1) What are the most important tools to get elected – money, organization and message. Former Congressman Bobby Franks was the “inventor” of this model and no one was better at their craft.

2) The importance of networking because you never know what the future holds. For example, while working as a landscaper and pumping gasoline to pay for his education at a gas station in Verona, one of my clients was John Graham – I’ve said enough. For our younger readers, you never know where life will take you and you’ll befriend the smart kid in your class because one day you’ll be looking for that person to hire you.

4) What makes a top or effective lobbyist (hint, he looks exactly like Dale Florio).

5) People ask me all the time who is the best politician (hint, Brain Stack is unbeatable, and Chris Christie is the most accomplished {current poll numbers notwithstanding}).

6) Who is the best group leader and inside player

6) How do you become a judge, how do you become a judge and how do you get tenure – since there is no test.

7) The balance in life between politics and family.

This is a sample of some of the things I want to cover, there will be other topics but you will have to come back and see them.

Let me end my inaugural column with this, Dave Murray, a wise political consultant (my emphasis because that’s how he talks and those who know him know what I’m talking about) once told me that the one can predict a person’s future by looking at their past. I don’t even know how it fits in this column, but I think it’s a really cool adage that I adopted as my own and usually don’t give the author any nod. Politics is such a wonderland; and I’ve seen careers make and break over smart, silly decisions, some in a split second. Don’t let ambition rule your every decision and understand that successful people in politics get the “joke” – that most things in politics are just an illusion.

When used correctly, politics can help solve so many of our societal problems, when mistreated, it can exacerbate them.

After reading my columns, please take them the way they are meant to be, as a lightweight (sometimes scorched earth) way to share stories, experiences, and provide historical perspective – because in politics, everything and everything. world has a story.

Kevin O’Toole is the state senator representing the 40th Legislative District.

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