Assemblyman John Rooney (R-Northvale) has served in the Legislature for 26 years, making him the longest serving current assemblyman. This is his last day.
“Two years ago I was in horrible shape,” said Rooney, who suffered a series of problems with his knee and hip that led him to consider retirement. “I kind of made up my mind back then I was going to pack it in. I’m feeling a lot better. Had things been better then, I probably would have stayed.”
Rooney listed three things he says were his biggest accomplishments: the creation of the Division of Developmental Disabilities; passing a parental notification law for abortions, although it was overturned by the State Supreme Court; and amending the state constitution to change the way legislative vacancies are filled.
Rooney, an electrical consultant, does not want to retire, and he has something in mind: to become commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which he thinks his occupational background and years on the Environmental and Solid Waste Committee has prepared him for.
“I’ve been in every environmental area. Been there, done that,” said Rooney.
He submitted his resume along with a letter to Gov.-elect Christopher Christie’s transition team. He’s enlisted supporters to make calls on his behalf.
He has not heard back.
“I’ve got to resume it,” he said.