The first family of South Jersey politics

That mantra probably belongs to the Perskie’s. Former Senate Majority Leader Steven Perskie has earned his place in New Jersey history as the father of casino gambling in Atlantic City, but he wasn’t the first family member to propose the idea. Perskie„s family emigrated to the United States in 1882 and settled in an agricultural colony near Vineland. Steven’s great-grandparents had six children, including Jacob Perskie, the oldest son, born in 1865, and Joseph Perskie, the grandfather of the future Senator, the youngest son who was born on the farm in 1885. Jacob became a prominent portrait artist in Atlantic City, and in 1932 drew the portrait of Franklin Rosevelt that appeared on the official campaign banners for his presidential campaign that year. Jacob was considered something of a bohemian, with a mane of white hair and an ascot, and as for politics he was probably something of an anarchist. In the mid 1930„s, Jacob publicly called for the legalization of gambling in Atlantic City, for which his brother Joseph, then sitting as a New Jersey Supreme Court Justice, was mortified by the seemingly outrageous idea. Steven Perskie began his political career in 1971, at age 26, when he was part of a Democratic ticket that upset legendary State Senator Frank “Hap” Farley in an Atlantic County legislative district. Perskie later served as a State Senator, Superior Court Judge, Chief of Staff to the Governor, and Chairman of the Casino Control Commission. When he proposed casino gambling as a legislator more than thirty years later, some old timers in Atlantic City undoubtedly met young Perskie„s radicalism with a similar contempt. After a stint as a partner at Fox, Rothschild, O„Brien and Frankel, Perskie has returned to the bench, serving as a New Jersey Superior Court Judge in Atlantic County. A Cousin, Timothy Perskie, has become a Republican; he works for GOP media consultant David Murray.

The first family of South Jersey politics