By Erica Jedynak
Save Jersey’s 4th annual Right Women to Watch list includes right-of-center and pro-freedom women who were nominated for fighting for a better New Jersey, being principled in their views, and leading in their communities. Many are visionaries upsetting the status quo and up-and-comers charting a new path. Some are powerful in the public eye, and others behind the scenes; but every woman on this list is empowering and lifting up other women in the ranks.
Celebrate them and thank them!
- Rosemary Becchi ran an impressive uphill campaign to unseat Congresswoman Sherrill in CD-11. As a national tax policy attorney and reformer – her expertise remains sorely needed in New Jersey. She is currently a Strategic Advisor and Counsel for Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber, and Schreck.
- Heather Cascone is the Assistant Vice President for State Affairs for the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, having spent more than a decade in pharmaceutical lobbying. She got her start as an aide to Congressman Frelinghuysen and as a Chair of the Morris County Young Republicans.
- Katie Castellano and 4. Gabrielle Bekisz lead Castle Consulting, a fundraising firm crucial to Congressman Van Drew’s re-election campaign in CD-2.
- Maria Chappa, 6. Theresa Mondella, and Jamie Montgomery lead Turnkey Productions, a prominent Republican fundraising and event planning firm.
- Roxy Coburger is the statewide Political Director for the New Jersey Republican State Committee.
- Melanie Collette is the Vice Chair of the New Jersey Federation of Republican Women and Vice Chair of the Cape May Republicans. Collette is also host of “MoneyTalk with Melanie”, a syndicated radio show.
- Maggie Cucci revitalized the Somerset County Young Republicans as Chair and currently works as Director of Outreach for Jack Ciattarelli for Governor. She previously served as Asm. Carroll’s Chief of Staff before his retirement.
Alyssa Dawson is the Chief of Staff for Asw. Schepisi in LD-39 and a leader in constituent services for those hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, whether residents struggling with the state’s archaic unemployment system or small business owners shut down by Governor Murphy’s executive orders. She is also outspoken about removing the stigma revolving mental health.
- Amanda DePalma is the Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations for Saker ShopRites, Inc. and previously served in leadership roles in the Republican Party – from the NJGOP to Chris Christie for President.
- Samantha DeAlmeida is an Ocean County native and the Second Vice President and Government Relations Liaison for Associated Builders and Contractors of New Jersey.
- Deborah DePiano is a Senior Legislative Advisor for the New Jersey Assembly Republicans in Trenton.
- Regina Egea is the President of Garden State Initiative (GSI) and a public voice on New Jersey’s economic competitiveness and fiscal health. In 2020, GSI was an early opponent of the financial transaction tax and called for fundamental reform to state spending. 2021 looks to be a big year as GSI seeks to bring pocketbook issues front and center to voters.
- Susan Enderly is a Passaic County native; tireless volunteer and fundraiser for the Republican Party; and Regional Vice Chair for the New Jersey Federation of Republican Women. Two of her daughters, Danielle Peracchio and 18. Taylor Peracchio, are up-and-coming leaders in their own rights.
- Natalie Collins Ghaul is a Burlington County native and Senior Legislative Advisor for the New Jersey Assembly Republicans in Trenton.
- Kate Gibbs ran a scrappy primary campaign for CD-3 and currently serves as Deputy Director for the Engineers Labor Cooperative ELEC825. As the former Burlington County Freeholder Director, she was one of the youngest women ever elected to countywide office in the state.
- Amberle Gilroy is a fundraiser and event planner, most recently fundraising for Tom Kean for Congress in CD-7 and Pallotta for Congress in CD-5.
- Elyssa Giordano is a Bergen County native and Event Manager for the State Policy Network, a professional association of free market think tanks in all 50 states.
- Tia-Lyn Ghione previously served on the board of the Bergen County Women’s Republican Club and will be a key leader for Doug Steinhardt for Governor in Bergen, Hudson, and Essex Counties. She also launched FEMME Trend in 2020, an online lifestyle publication dedicated to empowering women.
- Kamei Harris is the first African American president of the Hudson County Federation of Republican Women and a community pillar in Jersey City working to solve quality of life issues.
- Jeannette Hoffman Henne is President of Marathon Public Affairs and a regular political commentator for My9 and Newsmax.
- Madi Holmes is the Finance & Events Director for the New Jersey Republican State Committee.
- Natalie Kaczynski is a Burlington County native. She interned for former Congressman MacArthur and currently works for LD-8 Assembly Members Ryan Peters and Jean Stanfield.
- Eileen Kelly ran an uphill race for Summit Town Council. While she lost, she outperformed every Republican above her on the ballot and remains dedicated to recruiting more women to run for office. She understands the importance of sacrifice and hard work, as her mother immigrated to the U.S. from Ecuador and Kelly was the first person in her family to graduate from college.
- Vanessa LaFranco has provided years of leadership to the Federation of Republican Women, increasing its visibility at both a State GOP level and now at the national level on the board. She also serves on the Advisory Committee for the Center for American Women and Politics’ Bipartisan Coalition for Women’s Appointments.
- Dara Servis Melander is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the NJ Cannabis Association.
- Toni Angelini Nagle is the Senior Director of Communications for the Job Creators Network and an outspoken restaurant owner against Governor Murphy’s unfair restrictions on small business.
- Britney O’Neil is Chief of Staff for Sen. Mike Testa in LD-1.
- Jyoti Patel is a respected grassroots organizer and Vice Chair of the Jersey City GOP.
- Christina Renna is the President & CEO of the Chamber of Commerce for Southern NJ and a trustee for the NEW JOBS PAC.
- Jess Rohr managed Congressman Smith’s successful re-election campaign for CD-4.
- Sara Razi is the State Chair for Young Americans for Liberty and a cabinet member of Future Female Leaders of America.
- Ashley Rosone is a Passaic County native and the statewide Grassroots Engagement Director for Americans for Prosperity. Besides leading issue advocacy for New Jersey pension reform and criminal justice, she deployed to Georgia this winter for the tight U.S. Senate race.
- Ariana Rubbet came onto the scene in New Jersey, running the field program for the Union and Essex portions of CD-7. She recruited hundreds of volunteers to make over 200,000 voter contacts in support of Tom Kean’s Congressional run.
- Alexandra “Ali” Almour Stienstra and Jamie Frick lead fundraising and events at Tusk Productions. They remain a force behind Senator Bucco’s re-election campaign in battleground LD-25.
- Candace “Candy” Straight, 42. Kathy Hugin, 43. Laura Overdeck, and Stacy Shuster head up the Women for a Stronger New Jersey PAC – passionately leading a movement to engage, empower, and elect more women. They are training and investing in women to run for office across the state at all levels.
Lauren Zisa Samulka is the Executive Director for the Hackensack Chamber of Commerce and President of All County Media.
- Jennifer Tiedemann is the Deputy Director of Communications for Goldwater Institute, where she leads media relations for the free market think tank across the country.
- Sydney Ugalde served on Rosemary Becchi’s congressional campaign and recently re-joined Asw. DeCroce’s District Office as a Legislative Aide. She currently attends Seton Hall Law School part-time and serves at Municipal Chair in Randolph.
- Jackie Vigilante is Chair of the Gloucester County GOP, a successful employment attorney, and an outspoken voice of Governor Murphy’s failed policies.
- Brittany Wheeler is the statewide Political Director for Jack Ciattarelli for Governor and former Chief of Staff to Asm. DePhillips.
- Theresa Winegar is the Campaign Manager for Doug Steinhardt for Governor and founder of Goldfinch Partners, with an impressive footprint including races in AK, AR, DE, IA, MN, MO, NJ, PA, SC, VT, and WV.
Elected Official Honorable Mentions:
- All the Republican Women of the New Jersey State Legislature
- Danielle DeGerolamo, Phillipsburg Councilwoman
- Christine Hanlon, Monmouth County Clerk
- Kristi Hanselmann, Mullica Township Committeewoman
- Victoria Napolitano, Moorestown Councilwoman
- Sarah Neibart, Mendham Township Mayor
- Susan Soloway, Hunterdon County Freeholder
*The list is in alphabetical order to honor the accomplishments of all these powerful women.