Stanley C. Van Ness, New Jersey's first Public Advocate, died on Friday. He was 73.
Van Ness, who lived in Brielle, also worked as a public defender and counsel to Gov. Richard J. Hughes. He was a partner at the law firm Herbert, Van Ness, Cayci & Goodell.
Public Advocate Ronald Chen issued a statement today praising Van Ness as the model of what a public advocate should be.
“He was a dedicated and passionate advocate on behalf of individuals who lack legal resources or political clout,” said Chen. “He took on some of the most controversial issues of his times, including the need for affordable housing, the rights of the individuals with disabilities and mental health clients, and the public’s access to the state’s beaches, and won over and over again because of his legal acumen and the great team of professionals that he built at the Department.”