Veteran Assemblyman Joe Malone (R-30) of Bordentown isn’t running for re-election this year.
“I knew there was a very good chance I wouldn’t run and that’s why I stepped down from the budget committee,” Malone said of his thought process leading up to his final decision.
“I want to see what it’s like to be a person who’s an adult outside of elected office,” he added. “I won’t be like Sean Connery and say never say never again. I’m never going to get public service out of my system. The people have given me an opportunity I never would have had without public office.”
A metal shop teacher at New Brunswick High School for eight years, Malone became mayor of Bordentown at age 23.
“My family has been there in Bordentown since the 1840s,” he said. “My grandfather was city clerk and my father involved with the fire companies.”
He started in the Assembly in October of 1993.
“We have problems,” he said as he prepared for departure. “These problems are not going to go away by being political. We’ve made some very bad decisions over the last ten years, including the incredibly bad things Jim McGreevey did, like tobacco monetization. Those are the kinds of things that set this state on a downward spiral.
“I think history will be very kind to Chris Christie,” Malone added. “People might not like the way he does it, but history will appreciate what he does.”
The assemblyman said he has not been involved in a discussion about his replacement on a Republican ticket in what most insiders say will be a competitive District 7 this year, where Malone was rerouted post-redistricting.
His running mate, businessman Chris Halgas, is in a race against Assemblyman Herb Conaway (D-7) and former Assembly Dems Chief of Staff Troy Singleton.
“In my tenure of being around, I would say Chris (Halgas) is one of the top five guys who should get elected,” Malone said of his running mate. “I think he’ll be a no-nonsense guy. He’s not a typical politician.”
Malone said he loved being an assemblyman, both for the surreal elements – such as arguing with Perth Amboy Assemblyman Joe Vas, who told Malone there was no political corruption a day before he was arrested on corruption charges – to the finer examples of social human behavior.
“The fun part is having people involved with the things you do,” Malone said.
Some possible replacements who may screen to run for Malone’s seat in the coming days are Tim Keenan of Mount Laurel, Bob Christo of Riverside, and Kathy Fitzpatrick of Cinnaminson.
“We respect Joe’s decision and wish him lots of luck in the future,” said Burlington County GOP Chairman Bill Layton. “Hopefully this won’t be the last time we see him in public service. Any time you lose a seasoned veteran it’s a loss but it in no way hinders our ability to win those two seats.”