Among the legendary stories about former State Senator Anne Martindell, who died yesterday at age 93, was her response to a 1972 assertion by old-time party insider Salvatore Bontempo that “women don’t participate in our back room party meetings because they don’t want to hear four letter words”. Bontempo was the Democratic State Chairman and Martindell, then a Democratic National Committeewoman, was fairly blunt in her rebuke: “That’s a load of shit,” Martindell said. “I don’t need to be protected by Sal.”
Martindell and Alene Ammond were elected in 1973 and joined Wynona Lipman (elected in 1971) as the only female members of the Senate. The first woman to serve in the New Jersey Senate was Mildred Barry Hughes, who won a two-year term in 1965. She was followed by Jerry Fitzgerald English, who won an unexpired term in 1971.