Barbara Buono (D-Metuchen)

A full-time legislator, Barbara Buono is proud to be the first woman to serve as Senate Majority Leader in New Jersey.

When you learn about Senator Buono’s life you understand exactly why she works so hard for families and taxpayers.

The youngest of three sisters, Barbara Buono was born in Newark. She grew up in Nutley, where her mother was a school teacher and her father, born in Italy, worked as a butcher. Today, she is the proud mother of three daughters and a son and stepmother to two daughters.

During Buono’s freshman year at Montclair State College, her father passed away suddenly from a heart attack. She financed the remaining three years of college with tuition assistance grants, part-time jobs and Veterans’ and Social Security death benefits. She graduated with a B.A. in 1975. Buono then worked two-jobs and took out two loans to attend Rutgers Law School, where she received her J.D. in 1979.

After serving as a public defender for the New Jersey State Department of the Public Advocate, Buono later entered private practice. In 1992, she won a seat on the Metuchen Council, where she stabilized tax rates without lowering the quality and availability of local services. As the Metuchen Police Commissioner, Buono also worked to increase safety in suburban neighborhoods by instituting a community policing program.

It’s that New Jersey story that formed Buono’s strong progressive values and drives her record of putting people first throughout her tenure in the state legislature. She previously was the first woman to chair the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, and she’s established a reputation as a consensus-builder during the state’s challenging fiscal times. In addition to being Majority Leader, Senator Buono serves as Chair of the Legislative Oversight Committee, Democratic Conference Chair, and member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.

Senator Buono is making sure New Jersey’s taxpayers and working families are always at the forefront of the legislative agenda. She is fighting to make Trenton more open, honest and accountable. Just as New Jersey’s families have to tighten their belts during these tough economic times, so too must state government. Senator Buono has a strong record of working to reform New Jersey’s budget process and cut wasteful spending. She fought to create the Office of State Comptroller and will continue the fight to give the office new tools and oversight to account for every single tax dollar.

A mother of four, Senator Buono has dedicated herself to ensuring the welfare of New Jersey’s families. She is making sure our children are able to learn in our schools – safely, with support and with the best chance to get ahead in life. That’s why she authored New Jersey’s School Funding Reform Act, which ensures that every child receives a quality education regardless of where they live or their family’s socio-economic status.

With spiraling health insurance costs squeezing everyone from New Jersey’s working families to our small businesses, Senator Buono is fighting to reform the system so everyone has access to affordable, accessible and quality care. As a prime sponsor of “Grace’s Law,” she’s made health benefits more available for our children. Buono is also spearheading efforts to reform Medicaid disbursements to root out waste and abuse. She wrote the law requiring hospitals to implement new infectious disease controls to eliminate drug resistant staph infections. Senator Buono was also the prime sponsor of the Stroke Centers Law and authored legislation banning smoking in college dorms. Buono believes in investing in medical research and was a prime sponsor of laws authorizing stem cell research and providing funding for construction of the Stem Cell Institute of New Jersey.

Senator Buono was the prime sponsor of the Global Warming Response Act mandating the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, followed by a further reduction of emissions to 80 percent below 2006 levels by 2050. New Jersey is only the third state in the nation make greenhouse gas reduction goals law. Senator Buono is also standing up to those who seek to defraud customers. She was a prime sponsor of consumer protection measures restricting telemarketing by creating the nation’s strongest “Do Not Call” database legislation. Buono also worked to prohibit the practice of ”predatory lending” to protect homeowners from loans with hidden costs and excessive fees, eroding their financial security and putting their homes at risk.

Barbara Buono does not believe in dual office holding. She was first elected to the New Jersey State Senate in 2001, and was once again re-elected in November 2009 to represent the 18th Legislative District – which includes East Brunswick, Edison, Helmetta, Metuchen, South Plainfield, South River and Spotswood. Previously, Buono served as a member of the General Assembly for seven years after winning a special election in December 1994 and was reelected in 1995, 1997 and 1999. In the Assembly, Buono became the ranking Democrat on the Assembly Budget Committee. She is a founding member of the NJ Smart Growth Caucus and was appointed to the Intergovernmental Relations Commission.

Today, Senator Barbara Buono lives in Metuchen with her husband Dr. Martin Gizzi. She has four children – Sarah, Allegra, Lance and Tessa – and two step-daughters, Ariella and Sofia.





View ELEC Reports

View Recent Stories



Legislative Staff:


Chief of Staff: Christina Zuk

Deputy Chief of Staff: Ivette Franco

Scheduler: Ivette Franco


District Office:


Two Lincoln Highway
Suite 401
Edison, NJ 08820


Phone: (732) 205-1372

Fax: (732) 205-1375





Return to New Legislators Page

Barbara Buono (D-Metuchen)