The POLITICSNJ.COM ELECTED OFFICIALS POWER LIST 2007 identifies New Jersey’s 50 most powerful men and women currently holding elective public office. For the purposes of this list, we define power as:
- The ability to affect public policy at their level of government, or at multiple levels, and set a public policy agenda, in both subtle and obvious ways. This would include the ability to influence the process.
- The ability to influence public opinion, in the area of policy and/or politics, including relationships with the media, with the understanding that powerful does not necessarily mean popular.
- The authority (directly or indirectly) to award public contracts, hire and fire government employees, make direct appointments, and influence the selection of candidates for public office. This would include the access of money.
- Control and/or influence over large groups of people, most likely based on population, but acknowledging clout over demographic groups. Dual office holding would most definitely increase potential power.
The universe of elected officials includes the Governor, two United States Senators, thirteen Members of Congress, 40 State Senators, 80 members of the General Assembly, five County Executives, and hundreds of Freeholders, county constitutional officers, Mayors and other elected local officials. Realistically, this list begins at #2: the New Jersey Constitution grants such extraordinary powers to the Governor that only in extreme circumstances would a sitting Governor not be #1 on the list.
There are no right or wrong answers, and this list is forever changing. Watch for the Power List to be updated frequently. As always, we welcome your comments on this list or anything else on the PoliticsNJ.com website.