MATT ROONEY – Save Jersey’s Founder & Blogger-in-Chief
Then a 23-year old law student looking to make a difference in his home state, Matt Rooney launched The Save Jersey Blog in August 2008 without any fanfare, a $0 budget and a homemade Facebook group page. He began to write about both trending and under-the-radar topics in New Jersey politics. He had recognized a critical need for an independent, pro-taxpayer voice in the New Jersey media.
Over the next few years, Matt’s one-man blogging operation quickly blossomed into the primary online gathering place for New Jersey’s long-beleaguered conservative movement with thousands of weekly visitors (and some very vocal detractors, too). Since May 2008, Save Jersey has been repeatedly recognized in recent years as a force in New Jersey politics; most recently, Matt was named a “Rising Star” in state politics by Gannett’s New Jersey newspapers and a top politics and policy tweeter by NJSpotlight for his work at Save Jersey. In 2012, he received the nationally-recognized Independence Hall Tea Party Association’s (IHTPA) 2012 Benjamin Franklin Award for Courageous Journalism.
Matt is a life-long New Jersey resident born at Camden City’s Cooper Hospital in 1984. When he’s not fighting for a freer and more prosperous Garden State, Matt is a practicing attorney at the South Jersey-based law firm of DeMichele & DeMichele, P.C. in Haddon Heights, Camden County, focusing on New Jersey family, personal injury, civil litigation and municipal court matters. He earned his Juris Doctorate in 2010 from the Rutgers University School of Law – Camden; in 2007, he graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree and as a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. where he was an active College Republican leader.
Brian McGovern assumed interim “Blogger-in-Chief” duties in August 2010 when site founder Matt Rooney went on a one year hiatus to work in state government. He immediately set to work recruiting new writers and broadening the blog’s appeal with the approach of critical elections in 2011 and 2012.
Brian wears many hats these days including Voorhees Township GOP Municipal Chairman, owner of the Republican campaign consulting firm Exit 3 Strategies, LLC, and corporate attorney at a large south jersey law firm (Brian’s writings and opinions are his own and do not reflect the views of his employer or any of its affiliates).
A South Jersey native, Brian is dedicated to fighting for Save Jersey’s vision of a freer and more affordable Garden State. Brian currently serves as Save Jersey’s managing editor. He continues to lead the blog’s efforts to develop its ever-expanding network across the Garden State.
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Growing up on the Pennsylvania side of the river just outside Trenton, Jersey Shore small businessman Ed Sheppard got his start in Republican politics as the President of the San Francisco Young Republicans and Vice-Chair of Communications for the San Francisco GOP. While Pelosi was Speaker. And he did it all in his free time for fun, as he worked in finance at the time. Now working in the private sector in South Jersey, Ed is pretty much one of the only folks in New Jersey writing about politics south of AC Expressway. And pretty much the only single guy under 30 south of the AC Expressway, too.
Jordan Rickards, Esq. has been practicing law for over seven years, and has handled over two thousand cases in the fields of criminal, civil, municipal, and family law.
He has been nominated by the North Brunswick Republican Organization to serve on the Township Council in 2009, by the Middlesex County Republican Organization to serve on the Board of Chosen Freeholders, and by the Middlesex and Somerset County Republican Organizations to serve in the State Senate. He has been interviewed by the Home News, the Star Ledger, the Old Bridge Sentinel, and the North Brunswick Sentinel, and was endorsed by the Home News for the position of Freeholder in 2010. He was also the Republican nominee for State Senator in Legislative District 17 in 2011.
For 24 years, Dale Glading served as Founder and Executive Director of The Saints Prison Ministry. During that time, The Saints grew from a fledgling non-profit organization into America’s largest athletic prison ministry with a national headquarters in Moorestown, New Jersey and branch offices in Colorado Springs, Richmond, Charlotte and Atlanta.
Under Dale’s leadership, Saints athletic teams played and ministered in over 350 different correctional facilities in 25 states and Canada. As a result of those visits, more than 300,000 inmates were exposed to the Gospel message and 23,000 of them made professions of faith in Jesus Christ.
In 2008 and 2010, Dale ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in New Jersey’s 1st District. Although he didn’t win, Dale still managed to earn more votes than any member of his party in over 35 years. More importantly, he shared his faith openly on the campaign trail as he sought to defend the Judeo-Christian principles our great country was founded upon.
Dale earned a Bachelor of Science degree with summa cum laude honors in Community Recreation from Temple University in 1981. He served as Recreation Director at the Wiley Christian Retirement Community for 10 years before entering full-time ministry with The Saints in 1994.
A licensed minister and a published author (Unconditional Surrender – 2007); (Difference Makers - 2009); and (Consumed by Christ – 2011), Dale formed “Risk Takers for Christ” in 2011 to challenge believers to step out in faith and live life to its fullest for Jesus Christ. Dale and his wife Deanna have been married for 26 years and have three adult children.
Mayor Alexander was elected November, 2007 winning against the incumbent Council President in a landslide vote. The Mayor of Haddon Heights is a volunteer position receiving no salary or benefits. Mayor Alexander ran for office to stop multiple year double digit tax increases and to bring back confidence in the Governing Body after a botched reassessment in 2007.
Kristen Luciani resides in Middlesex County with her husband and three children. She works full-time as an insurance professional, and writes for her own parenting blog, titled “Me and My Three” (www.meandmythree.com), that focuses on finding humor amidst the challenges of motherhood.
After receiving her Bachelors of Science in Accounting from Fordham University, Kristen worked in various industries in a technology capacity, including insurance, financial services, pharmaceuticals, and telecommunications. She formed and ran her own consulting company focused on business process re-engineering, systems quality assurance, and electronic commerce engagements. In addition, Kristen served an adjunct professor of Information Systems at Hofstra University in New York after receiving her Masters of Business Administration in 2005.
When Kristen is not at work and she has a break from her parental duties, she loves to read, write and watch “Shark Tank.”
Martin Marks, D.M.D. is a former member of the Scotch Plains Township Council (1997-2008). He was the last Council-appointed Mayor in 2000 and served two terms as Scotch Plains’ first directly elected Mayor (2001-08). He served on the NJ State League of Municipalities Executive Board from 2003-2008.
In 2003 he ran as the Republican candidate for the NJ State Senate in Legislative District 22 and for the General Assembly in LD 22 in 2009. In 2008 he was a Republican primary candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District
Martin is an endodontist (root canal specialist) by profession and with his wife Lori recently relocated back to his hometown of Cranford. Martin and Lori have a daughter and son, Casey and Jeffrey who attend Drexel and Boston Universities respectively.
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Synnove Bakke was born in NJ to immigrant parents, but moved back to Norway as an infant, and lived there her entire childhood, and young adult years. She came back to the US when she was freshly graduated as a nurse, and wanted to be an Au Pair for a year. She quickly fell in love with this country and never returned to Norway to live.
Synnove has lived in a socialist country, Norway, and from that experience, studying American political history, and comparing the two nations, realized she is a Reagan Conservative Republican. She was an activist for a few years, and belonged to a few different Tea Party groups after Obama was elected in ’08. She went to Tea Party Rallies in DC and NYC, until she realized, living in blue NJ, that she could make more of a difference from within the party.
Synnove helped restart the Young Republicans in Middlesex, and soon after she became the chair. The first campaign she worked on was a county campaign in ’09, based in South Plainfield, which also had a close working relationship with the Christie for Governor Campaign. Senator Sam Thompson, this campaign, along with other organizations locally ensured the sweeping Christie win in Middlesex that year.
Synnove left the Young Republicans to working with the chair Senator Sam Thompson on the Middlesex County Republican Organization, where she still works. She is also currently working for the State in another capacity, and is a Zoning board member in East Brunswick.
Irwin M. Fletcher currently has the best-known political nom de plume in all of Atlantic County, and probably all of New Jersey. Unless of course someone starts rocking “Jane Doe” or “Ted Nugent.” He uses his anonymity to expose the truth about candidates in this year’s races that they don’t want you to know. Because it’s kind of his job.
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Michael is a life-long New Jersey resident born at John F Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Turnersville in 1982. For over a decade, Michael has dedicated his life to pushing forward the boundaries of science and medicine. Michael graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Rowan University where he double-majored in Biological Sciences and Biochemistry. He then went on to pursue a doctorate in Biochemistry from Temple University School of Medicine. It was during his time at Temple that he realized his passion for public service and was successfully elected as a councilman for the borough of Oaklyn, NJ in 2010.
During his time as councilman, Michael served as the Director of Finance and Administration for the borough, where he utilized his acute sense of critical thinking and problem solving abilities to govern. After receiving his doctorate, Michael and his wife moved to Boston, Massachusetts where Michael completed a fellowship in Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School. In the summer of 2013, Michael and his wife moved back to New Jersey where Michael now performs oncology research and discovery at a Fortune100 pharmaceutical company.
A young man with a strong passions for all things local politics and all things North Jersey, Matt Gilson is a life-long resident of Bergen County, a student at Rutgers-Newark Law, the former chairman of the Seton Hall College Republicans, a former candidate for the Rutherford school board, and the current vice-chair of Bergen Young Republicans.
He takes commitment to his community very seriously and when not campaigning for anyone and everyone, he can usually be seen patrolling the sidelines of a basketball court or sitting in a dugout, even recently taking charge of the minors for his local Little League. When he finishes his legal education, he hopes to pursue a career in the legal field while still continuing his community work and his fight for smaller and smarter government.
An ardent believer in conservative Republican principles, Joe is a former candidate for the New Jersey legislature and New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District. He continues to actively work for GOP causes and candidates in the Central New Jersey region. The oldest of four children, Joe presently resides in Helmetta, New Jersey, a Middlesex County suburb, where he and his wife Patricia Genito raised three children.
Earlier in life, Joe served with the United States Air Force 1st Air Commando Wing (TAC) during the Vietnam War era. He subsequently attended Middlesex County College and Union County College for Business Management, and he later owned and operated several small businesses.