The 30 Most Influential Women In N.J. Politics, Elected and Nonelected

See who made it on to Politicker's list of New Jersey's most influential women.

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno before New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie delivers his budget address, February 25, 2014, Trenton, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.

PolitickerNJ compiled a list of New Jersey’s most influential women. Among the ranks are the Lt. Governor, state senators, assemblywoman, lobbyists, union leaders and mayors.

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See who made the list…

  1. Kim Guadagno. As the Lieutenant Governor, Guadagno is technically the second most powerful person in New Jersey’s state government after Governor Chris Christie. Now, with Christie charging headfirst into his presidential campaign, Guadagno finds herself as acting governor more and more often. She is expected to seek the Republican nomination for governor in 2017.
  2. Loretta Weinberg (D-37). The Senate Majority leader has served on the state senate for ten years and had been majority leader since 2012. As the lead of the Democrats in the senate, she is a key player in New Jersey’s legislative process and a statewide leader of progressive causes.
  3. State Sen. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex)
    State Sen. Teresa Ruiz.

    Teresa Ruiz (D-29). Ruiz is widely considered a favorite for either LG in the aftermath of Guadagno or the senate presidency following current president Steve Sweeney’s impending gubernatorial run. As the senator from district 29, Ruiz represents one of New Jersey’s most important cities: Newark. She is currently an assistant majority leader.

  4. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-12). Watson Coleman is New Jersey’s only currently serving female congressperson. She is the first black woman to win a congressional seat in the state.
  5. Nia Gill (D-20). The Senate President Pro Tempore is a trained attorney whose legal experience gives her a strong foundation to defend issues she feels important. Most recently, Gill has been a strong advocate of the Democracy Act, putting pressure on Governor Christie.
  6. Shavonda Sumter.
    Shavonda Sumter.

    Shavonda Sumter (D-35). Sumter represents Paterson in the N.J. state senate as the majority conference leader. Close to her actual godfather, Democratic State Party Chairman John Currie.

  7. Dana Redd. The Mayor of Camden is making strides towards cleaning up the South Jersey wharf town, reducing crime and improving education. She was elected in 2010 after a stint in the state senate.
  8. Diane Allen (R-7). Allen is the second-highest ranking Republican in the N.J. Senate where she serves as the deputy minority leader.
  9. Jennifer Beck (R-11). Beck is the senator in New Jersey’s district 11, one of the only districts currently led by all women. In 11, the assemblywomen are Mary Pat Angelini and Caroline Casagrande.
  10. Mary Pat Christie. New Jersey’s first lady heads three non-profit organizations in the state: New Jersey Heroes, the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund and the Drumthwacket Foundation. As her husband seeks the U.S. presidency, Christie will continue to play a vital role in his decision making.
  11. Analilia Mejia. The executive director of Working Families helped secure Mayor Ras Baraka’s position in Newark last year. She has also spearheaded initiatives like paid sick leave for N.J. workers.
  12. Patrizia “Trish” Zita. The powerful lobbyist co-founded the Kaufman Zita Group in 2007. Having worked as a lobbyist since the early 1990s, she has paved the way for women in N.J. politics.
  13. Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz.
    Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz.

    Wilda Diaz. The Perth Amboy mayor is the only currently serving Latina mayor in the state of New Jersey.

  14. Holly Schepisi (R-39). Assemblywoman Schepisi sits on the legislature representing New Jersey’s most populous county: Bergen. She is the only Republican woman representing the county in the Assembly or Senate.
  15. Dawn Zimmer. The Hoboken mayor is the only female mayor in Hudson County. She has strong alliances in her municipality and has stood strong against the Christie administration in the past.
  16. Lizette Delgado-Polanco. Delgado Polando works as the vice-chair of the Democratic State Committee.
  17. Idida Rodriguez. The veteran Democratic Party insider leads 1868 with Leroy Jones (chairman of the Essex County Democratic Party). Close to Paterson Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres.
  18. Linda Greenstein.
    Linda Greenstein.

    Linda Greenstein (D-14). The state senate’s assistant majority leader has been at the forefront of legislation on topics like renewable energy and domestic violence prevention. In 2014, she was defeated by Bonnie Watson Coleman in the district 12 congressional race.

  19. Sandra Cunningham (D-31) Cunningham currently serves as the Majority Whip in the N.J. state senate.
  20. Ann Twomey. The founder and leader of HPAE (Health Professionals and Allied Employees), one of the state’s most highly respected unions, sits on the board of a number of important organizations in New Jersey including New Jersey Citizen Action and AFT Healthcare, among others.
  21. L. Grace Spencer (D-29). Assemblywoman Spencer has represented Newark in the assembly since 2008. She is a deputy speaker and chair of the Assembly Environment Committee.
  22. Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-37). Huttle, like Spencer, is a deputy speaker in the Assembly. Some of her main focus areas are sexual assault prevention, anti-bullying initiatives, Port Authority reform and prevention of human trafficking.
  23. Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini.
    Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini. (Photo: Observer)

    Mary Pat Angelini (R-11). The Republican Deputy Conference Leader in the Assembly spearheaded the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights in New Jersey in 2011.

  24. Maggie Moran. Moran is the President and CEO of M Public Affairs. She is critical in New Jersey as a contact and organizer for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
  25. Trish Mueller. The former political director of the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters and the state director for Barack Obama’s 2008 general election campaign works for powerful public relations firm Cammarano, Layton & Bombardieri, LLC. Known too for her ties to powerful N.J. brand names like George Norcross, Mike Capelli and Troy Singleton.
  26. Milly Silva. As the executive vice president of SEIU 1199, Silva has helped the powerful labor group (which represents health care workers) take on for-profit health care. She was Barbara Buono’s running mate in the 2013 gubernatorial race.
  27. Karen Kominsky. The long-time Trenton insider and lobbyist launched her own firm, K Street Public Affairs, earlier this year.
  28. Jeannine LaRue. LaRue is tied to Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman. With a long history as a lobbyist, she is the ultimate Trenton insider. She has worked with former Governor Jon Corzine and at Rutgers University. Currently, she is Senior Vice President at the Kaufman Zita Group and CEO of the LaRuelist Group.
  29. Hetty Rosenstein. Rosenstein is the director of New Jersey’s branch of the Communications Workers of America, one of the largest unions representing workers in the Garden State.
  30. Gail Gordon. This powerful Republican fundraiser and lobbyist has a long history working for the GOP in N.J. She is close to Governor Christie and has worked on many campaigns during her over 30-year career in the field. Her husband is a Democratic state senator Bob Gordon (D-38).


  1. Bergen County Freeholder Tracy Silna Zur.
    Bergen County Freeholder Tracy Silna Zur.

    Tracy Silna Zur. Silna Zur is a Democratic Freeholder in Bergen County. While she is currently at the county level, it seems as through she is a rising star for the party and the county has big plans for her. She is up for reelection this year.

  2. Jennifer Holdsworth. The political director of the Democratic State Committee has worked with Cory Booker, Valerie Vainiere Huttle and Barbara Buono.
  3. Julie Diaz. The former Obama for America organizer now works as NJ Political Director at SEIU Local 32BJ.
  4. Maria Rodriguez-Gregg (R-8). Assemblywoman Rodriguez-Gregg is the first Republican Hispanic woman to ever be elected to the New Jersey Legislature. While she was only elected in 2014, she is believed to be a rising star for the party.

The 30 Most Influential Women In N.J. Politics, Elected and Nonelected