CIG Insider – Budget Edition 2018

State House Happenings
After weeks of bitter disagreement, dueling press conferences and rising rhetoric about how the State should raise revenues to fund its next fiscal budget, Governor Murphy signed a $37.4 billionspending plan late on Sunday, reflecting compromised changes between the Legislative and Executive Branches.  With a government shutdown looming, principals and staff worked around the clock in Trenton to hammer out an agreement which culminated in rare Sunday voting sessions lasting more than 12 hours to approve the legislation.  Governor Murphy immediately signed the budget bills and made a joint public appearance with Senate President Sweeney and Speaker CoughlinSaturday night. Putting aside the contentiousness of the just concluded budget process, all three Democratic leaders pledged to work together, find common ground and accomplish many things in the future.
The final budget includes raising tax rates on multi-millionaires and corporations, and investments in public schools, property tax relief and NJ Transit.  Efforts to restore the sales tax to 7% fell short.  A corporation business tax surcharge will be imposed on companies earning more than $1 million annually.  The levy will increase the current 9% rate by 2.5% in the first two years, and then reduced to 1.5% in the third and fourth years. Revenues generated from the CBT surcharge is projected to generate $705 million in new revenue.  Large companies will also be subject to tightening tax policy concerning combined reporting and repatriation.  These changes, aimed at capturing tax revenues on profits that are generated and products that are produced in New Jersey, are expected to net the State $200 million in new revenue.
School Funding Formula
One of Governor Murphy’s top priorities during this contentious budget cycle has been the battle over revamping the school funding formula.
The current formula hasn’t been sufficiently funded in years, and the Governor promised during his campaign to enact a more equitable structure that would level the playing field for districts across the State. Now, a new mechanism for calculating funding was passed by the legislature and approved by the Governor – this new formula would boost state aid to districts that experienced a negative funding differential in the past, and reduce aid to districts that received a positive differential by certain percentage increments, to go into effect in the 2019-2020 school year.
Additionally, the formula will provide a $57 million appropriation for the expansion of pre-K programs, another priority that the Governor highlighted on the campaign trail.
Movers and Shakers

He’s baaaack…. Kevin Drennan recently returned to his prior post as Executive Director of the Senate Majority Office,  just six months after leaving for the private sector.   The straight-shooting top aide to
Senate President Steve Sweeney ran point and for the Senate Dems throughout the recently-concluded and rancorous budget negotiations with the Murphy Administration.  Also in the Senate Majority Office, Alfred Doblin, the former editorial editor at The Bergen Record and longtime columnist, joined the team as Director of Communications.
Brian Quigley was named the Assembly Majority’s top lawyer earlier this year.  He previously served as the Assembly’s Deputy Counsel and was the chief aide on the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee.  Nicole Brown replaced Quigley on the committee, a position she previously held.  Mickey Quinn was promoted to Deputy Executive Director of the Assembly Majority Office.  The trusted aide was formerly a senior advisor to Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald.      
Ryan Fox recently left his position with Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-5) to join the Murphy Administration as an aide to Chief of StaffPete Cammarano.  Ryan returns home to New Jersey after an 18-month stint with Gottheimer in his Washington office. Jennifer Mangano will assume the open position in the Congressman’s office.

Luke Wolff is the new Budget Director in the Senate Majority Office.  Luke was formerly with the Office of Legislative Services.  Congrats to Elizabeth Mahn, who was promoted to Deputy Budget Director.  She will continue to be the top Senate Majority aide to the Senate Education Committee.  Welcome aboard Kate Milsaps who recently joined the Senate Majority Office after stints at the Sierra Club and the Highlands Coalition.  Kate is staffing the Senate Commerce Committee.
Shannon McManus, the former director of Legislative Affairs in the Treasury during the Christie Administration, has joined Bob Hugin‘s campaign for US Senate as the Deputy Director for Research.
Huge congrats to our friend and client Natasha Hemmings who was recently named chief executive officer of the Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey.  The former Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for Girl Scouts of Central & Southern NJ, Natasha is the first African-American to hold the post. Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey serves more than 17,000 Girl Scouts in Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Somerset, Union and Warren counties.
At CIG,Paul Crupi was appointed to the Middletown Township Planning Board and most recently its Historic Preservation Committee, and was elected to serve on the Monmouth County Republican Committee. CIG Principal Gene Mulroy was reelected to serve another term on the Monmouth County Democratic Committee. Happy one-year anniversary to the Asian Women of Trenton Networking Group.  Co-founded by CIG’s Sabeen Masih, the networking organization is comprised of 30+ professional South and East Asian political movers and shakers throughout the New Jersey.
CIG Client Spotlight
CIG has been working with American Dream, the largest entertainment and retail development project under construction in the country, which is scheduled to open in the spring of 2019.

Located in the Meadowlands, the more than 3 million square foot property will offer a rich blend of global retail, destination dining, upscale arts and entertainment and create more than 16,000 permanent jobs in New Jersey.  American Dream’s creator, Triple Five, owns and manages Mall of America, the country’s largest tourism, retail and entertainment complex.


CIG Insider – Election Edition 2017

Historic Night

After a grueling campaign with heated debates and provocative commercials, this week, Democratic nominee Phil Murphy was easily elected to serve as New Jersey’s 56th Governor. Networks reported the early win for Murphy a minute after 8 p.m. – right after voting centers closed – and Guadagno conceded at 9:30 pm.  The likable Murphy garnered more than a million votes, winning by 16 points (56%-42%).
Governor-elect Murphy’s pick for Lieutenant Governor has again earned her place in New Jersey history. In 2014, Sheila Oliver became the first African-American woman to be elected Speaker.  She will now take decades of experience and political expertise with her to the executive branch as the second-highest ranking elected official in New Jersey, and the first African-American to serve in that role.  It was confirmed today that Lt. Governor-elect Oliver will also serve as the Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. She is the first appointment of the incoming Murphy administration.
All 120 of New Jersey’s legislative seats were up for election this past Tuesday.  Democrats increased their majorities in both houses. Next session they will control the Senate 25-15, and the Assembly 52-28.
In a major upset, challenger Vin Gopal defeated veteran Senator Jen Beck in the 11th legislative district.  The upstart Gopal ran an innovative, grassroots campaign, utilizing digital and cable advertising and relied on mostly individual contributions, ultimately enabling him to unseat the popular Red Bank lawmaker.
In District 2 it was predicted to be a close race between the incumbent Democrat Colin Bellwho replaced the late Jim Whelan, and Republican Chris Brown.However due to Brown’s name recognition and presence in Atlantic County, the race was not that close as he soundly defeated Bell by more than 4,000 votes.


Despite costly efforts to oust Senate President Sweeney in District 3, the NJEA’s backing of Fran Grenier proved to be insufficient, as Sweeney still won by 18 points.  This afternoon  Sweeney, along with Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, were unanimously approved by their fellow members to again serve as Senate leaders when the 218th Legislature convenes in January, 2018.
Movers and Shakers
Governor-elect Murphy has tapped two respected Trenton veterans to lead his transition and front office operations.  Pete Cammarano, former chief of staff to Governor Dick Codey, is expected to be named Murphy’s chief of staff. Widely-known for his integrity, straightforwardness and political skill, Cammarano also served as Director of Public Affairs for the Department of Insurance and most recently was a partner at CLB, a Trenton-based public affairs firm.
Jose Lozano, chief of staff at Hackensack Meridian Health, will be executive director of Governor-Elect Murphy’s Transition Team. The first Latino to lead a transition team in New Jersey,  Lozano was the director of operations for former Governor Jon Corzine and served in the Obama administration as deputy chief of staff at the EPA.
Matt Platkin is expected to serve in the new Murphy Administration as Chief Counsel. A Stanford Law School grad, the erudite Platkin was head of policy for the gubernatorial campaign and an integral part of Murphy’s trusted inner circle.
Congratulations to Atlantic City Councilman Frank Gilliam Jr. who defeated one-term incumbent Mayor Don Guardian. Gilliam campaigned on re-establishing local control of the city’s day to day operations.
Longtime Camden official and Council President Frank Moran, has been elected to serve as Camden’s next Mayor. Endorsed by former Mayor Dana Redd, Moran’s longtime ties to the city and state, and well-known reputation, helped him secure his seat.
One of the most celebrated wins of election night was Ravi Bhalla, who was elected Hoboken’s next Mayor. Previously serving as a Councilman, Bhalla is the first Sikh mayor in New Jersey, and was endorsed by current Mayor Dawn Zimmer, after announcing that she would not be seeking re-election.
Also this Week….
Longtime Congressman Frank LoBiondo (R-Atlantic) announced he will not run for reelection in 2018, after serving 12 consecutive terms.  Pundits believe that Democratic State Senator Jeff Van Drew(Cape May), whose popularity transcends partisanship in South Jersey, would have a clear path to victory in the reliably GOP district.
Governor Christie appointed Christopher Rinn, former Deputy Commissioner, as Acting Commissioner of the Department of Health and Senior Services yesterday. Rinn replaces Cathleen Bennett, whose last day is today.  She will be replacing Betsy Ryan as president at the New Jersey Hospital Association.


CIG Insider – Summer Edition 2017

State House Happenings
Battle of Trenton 2.0
The $34.7 billion budget for FY 2018 was signed in the early hours of July 4th, following a contentious debate between the Governor,  Senate President and Assembly Speaker.  At issue was the restructuring of  the not-for-profit Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey

. Policy differences between the aforementioned parties led to a three-day State shutdown.

The showdown was a test of wills between the Governor, who promised to line item veto all of the Democratic funding priorities if no Horizon bill was passed; the Assembly Speaker, who initially refused to consider the Horizon bill before the Assembly had a chance to fully vet it as well as pass the FY18 budget; and the Senate President, who refused to move the budget unless the Horizon bill passed at the same time, heeding the Governor’s line item veto warning.
In the end, following negotiations between Horizon CEO Bob Marino, Senate President Sweeney, and Assembly Speaker Prieto, the three were able to reach an agreement on the Horizon restructuring bill. After 12 am on July 4th, legislators were called back to the State House to vote on the FY18 budget and the newly compromised Horizon bill. Governor Christie signed both bills into law and the State shutdown ended just in time for New Jerseyans to enjoy state parks and beaches for the holiday.
The newly compromised Horizon bill adds two board members to the insurer, one to be appointed by the Assembly Speaker, and one to be appointed by the Senate President. There will also be a cap on Horizon’s reserves so that any surplus reserves will be diverted back to the premium costs of Horizon’s 3.8 million policyholders.
School Funding Formula
After the Governor implored the legislature to revamp the school funding formula in his February budget address, legislators held months of hearings, soliciting input from educators, administrators, parents, and community groups. The result was an additional allocation of $181 million in the FY18 budget for underfunded districts, preschool expansion, and Extraordinary Special Education Aid. While critics charge that the reallocation of aid dollars will be harmful to certain districts, Senate leaders have called this a “landmark first step” toward funding fairness that has been elusive under the embattled School Funding Reform Act of 2008.
In Other News
Recently, Assemblyman Eustace (D-38) spearheaded an effort with Best Friends Animal Society to pass a “No-Kill” resolution. The measure, which proclaims the intent to make NJ a no-kill state by 2025, had unanimous support and passed the Assembly!
This is the first no-kill resolution to be passed state-wide, following the passage of hundreds of such resolutions at the county and city levels throughout the nation.

Movers and Shakers
Amid the flurry of activity during the early-morning July 4 voting session to approve the budget, the Assembly took a few moments to recognize Assemblyman Dave Rible, as he prepares to leave the legislature to become Director of the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Rible will replace current Acting Director Jon Orsen of Manalapan, who has been nominated for a seat on the State Tax Court. A top unnamed source has confirmed that Nick DiRocco – former deputy chief of staff to Governor Christie, current mayor of Wall Township and government relations director at Horizon – is the odds-on favorite to replace Rible in the Assembly.
Stephanie Lagos joined gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy’s campaign as a policy advisor. The highly-respected aide was former Deputy Chief of Staff to Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-36).

Chris Hughes and Cort Adelmanrecently joined Virtua Health as Assistant Vice Presidents of Government Relations. Chris comes from the Assembly Republican Office where he served as Budget Director; previous to that he was Director of Operations and then Chief of Staff for the NJ Department of Banking and Insurance. Cort previously served as Director of Government Affairs for Wellcare Health Plans and staffer to Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D-6).
Replacing Hughes in the Assembly Republican Office, Debbie DePiano has been promoted to Budget Director.  The veteran staffer had previously worked on six budgets as deputy budget director.

Michele Brown’s
 nomination to the Board of Trustees of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, NJ was approved by the Senate last week. Brown,a longtime confidant to the Governor, oversaw the then U.S. Attorney’s appointments and led the state Economic Development Authority.
Interesting things happening for GOP candidates in Bergen County’s 38th legislative district! Republican candidate Matt Seymour announced he is quitting the race and switching his party affiliation to Democrat. This is the second time in the last two election cycles that a GOP Assembly candidate has unexpectedly dropped a challenge to unseat popular Assembly members Joe Lagana and Tim Eustace (D-38).    
Francine Glaser, former Director of Operations for Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling and Assemblywoman Joann Downey (D-11) and newly-elected Democratic Committee member in Edison, recently joined Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin’s (D-18) office as Legislative Director.
Paulina Banasiak, former Legislative Director for Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle (D-37), has joined Assemblyman Raj Mukherji’s (D-33) office as Chief of Staff. She replaces Justin Shoham who has started his own political fundraising company. Also, Corey Wolkenberg was promoted to Legislative Director for Assemblyman Mukherji.
Shane Mitchell was recently named Legislative Director for Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-37). Mitchell was an aide to Weinberg for the last year or so and started his political career at Parano & Associates after graduating from Princeton University. Tony Bonaides has formally joined Weinberg’s staff as a legislative aide after serving as an intern and just recently graduating from Columbia University.
Longtime veterans of the Christie administration have been nominated to the bench. Greg Acquaviva, the Governor’s current chief counsel, will soon move on to the state Superior Court. Susana Guerrero, who most recently served as the Executive Director of the State Ethics Commission, has been confirmed as an Administrative Law Judge.
Kudos to Senate Majority Policy Chief Mark Magyar who was recently named #1 on InsiderNJ’s top 100 policymaker list.

Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle 
(D-37) recently named Alexandra Acosta as her new chief of staff. Since 2015, Acosta was in charge of community relations for Bergen County Executive Director Jame Tedesco.
Senator Bob Menendez has hired Swarna Vallurupallito serve as his new health policy advisor. Vallurupalli spent the last four years as Representative Mazie Hirono’s (D-HI) health and tax counsel. She also spent time as a staffer on the Senate Finance Committee where Menendez serves on the Health Subcommittee.
Luke Margolis, the Associate Executive Director for the Senate Majority Office and director of media relations, will be leaving to join Atlantic Health as part of their communications shop.
Former OLS counsel Mike Molimock has joined the Senate Republican Office as an aide to the Senate Judiciary and Law & Public Safety Committees.
Michael Muller, the top strategist for the Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee (DACC) for the last 15 years, recently resigned his position.  He and his entire team will still be running the Senate Democratic Majority fall campaigns.  Earlier this month veteran political strategist Mark Matzen replaced Muller as the new executive director of DACC.
In Memoriam

Trenton was shaken last week by news of the untimely death of GOP strategist Rick Rosenberg. A veteran of state and national Republican campaigns, Rick most recently managed Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli’s (R-16) bid for governor, a tightly-run campaign which exceeded the expectations of many. Supremely talented and well-respected on both sides of the aisle, Rick will be greatly missed.

CIG Client Spotlight 

This past January,  Coriell Institute for Medical Research recently named Courtney Mengel Dirks as their new Director of Communications and Government Relations. Courtney visited the busy State House halls this June, and met with legislators including Senate President Steve Sweeney and Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez.
Proximity to Power…
CIG Live on State Street!
As reported in NJBIZ, Capital Impact Group recently launched CIG Live on State Street, a real-time video stream of press conferences, political events, rallies and more. Now you’ll be able to view political developments in Trenton anytime from anywhere, as they happen!

Check it out here:

Out & About
Gerry Gibbs and Gene Mulroy with
Pete Oneglia, General Manager of, at the site’s State House Mixer.  Launched earlier this year, the site has quickly become a must-read for Trenton politicos.
CIG hosted a successful event for
Ambassador Phil Murphy in their Trenton office.
Standing-room only – CIG was proud to host the Women’s Political Caucus PAC awards reception honoring Senator Diane AllenMarilyn Davis and Eileen Kean.
Gerry and Quincy Gibbs enjoying Take Your Child to Work Day.
Paul Crupi and Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno at a Monmouth County reception.
CIG celebrates with Congressman Payne at his Annual Congressional Ball.
Briana Piserchia celebrating her 10-year anniversary with Capital Impact Group, she rocks!
Sabeen Masih speaking to young women during the Center for American Women and Politics’ NEW Leadership NJ panel.

CIG’s Shantè Palmer & Gerry Gibbs join George Hampton and ACDevCo Board Member Bob Holmes for the groundbreaking of the Gateway Project.

Paul Crupi and team BAYADA Home Health Care met with Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto to discuss issues affecting home care in his district office.
Ambassador Phil Murphy, African American Wall Street executives and CIG’s Gerry Gibbs discuss policy affecting AA participation in the public finance, broker dealer, asset management space as well as the utilization of diverse outside counsel.
CIG’s Sabeen with Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Assemblywoman Joann Downey at Pam’s List event earlier this month.
CIG’s Paul CrupiSabeen Masih and other alums joined Eagleton Institute of Politics faculty members John Weingart and Sarah Kozak for a State House luncheon.
Gene Mulroy accepting his award at 128 West State Cafe for being the #1 customer (self-proclaimed).
Congratulations to longtime ODM client, Plainfield Mayor Adrian O. Mapp, on his June primary victory, securing the Democratic nomination for another four-year term as mayor.

Read Plainfield’s Spring newsletter.

ODM was tasked with putting together a special edition of the PSEG Insider

that paid special tribute to former PSEG CEO Al Koeppe.

 Who We Are
Capital Impact Group is a bipartisan, full-service public affairs and business development firm based in Trenton, NJ, 37 steps from the front door of the State House. We offer a wide range of services to help our clients manage the realities of today’s political, economic and regulatory environment and the ever-changing dynamics in the State of New Jersey and Washington, D.C.
Open Door Media is a fast-growing public affairs and communications firm focused on delivering results for our corporate, government and non-profit clients.

CIG Insider – Winter Edition 2017


Movers and Shakers
This afternoon, Assemblywoman Amy Handlin withdrew from the LD13 Senate race to replace retiring Senator Joe Kyrillos, clearing a pathway for Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon to secure the Republican party’s endorsement on March 18th. It is expected that the Assemblywoman will run for reelection, and be joined on the ticket by Monmouth County Freeholder Serena DiMaso.
Her time…Carol Murphy is off and running for an expected open Assembly seat in the 7th legislative district.  Well known and highly-regarded already, she is Director of Policy and Communication for Assemblywoman Gabriela M. Mosquera and was previously Chief of Staff for Senator Linda Greenstein.
Jennifer Nelson is expected to be named Monmouth County’s new Director of Communications. Jennifer was previously the spokeswoman for NJ Transit.

Senate Majority Staffer Thomas Scotton was promoted to serve as an aide to the Senate Transportation Committee.  He recently returned to the Senate Majority Office after working on the Hillary for America campaign.

Earlier this week, Governor Chris Christie nominated the widely-respected Lou Goetting, his former senior advisor, to the board of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.  His nomination is subject to the advice and consent of the State Senate.

Great News!  GOP gubernatorial candidate Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli announced this week that he is now cancer-free.  The Somerset Republican scaled back his campaign in January to undergo aggressive treatments in his battle with throat cancer.  Congrats on your recovery, Jack!
Missy Balmir, former aide to Senate President Sweeney, recently joined the office of Senator Robert Menendez as Senior Outreach Advisor.
Two veterans of the Governor’s legal team have been nominated for promotions. Senior deputy chief counsel Scott Coffina has been selected to serve as the new Burlington County prosecutor. Susana Guerrero, a former attorney in the Governor’s Counsel’s office, an Assistant Commissioner at the Department of Education, and most recently the executive director of the State Ethics Commission, has been nominated to the bench as an Administrative Law Judge.
Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg’s former Chief of Staff Sonia Das recently left the Senate Majority office in pursuit of her own public affairs company.
Kellie Ledet joined East Orange Mayor Lester Taylor‘s administration as his new Chief of Staff to work on completing his policy initiatives.  The Mayor is not seeking reelection.  A well-known and regarded New Jersey public official, Ledet most recently served as Small Business Regional Administrator for former President Obama.
Congrats to Braxton Plummer, Political Director for the Phil Murphy for Governor campaign, Tom Little, Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Director for Assembly members Houghtaling and Downey, and our many friends who were named this week to InsiderNJ’s African American Political Power List.
Last week the New Jersey Business and Industry Association promoted Andrew Musick to Vice President. Andrew’s policy issues include taxation, economic development, and education.
Robert Zuckerman recently joined Assemblyman Joe Danielsen’s staff as the Director of Communications and Special Projects. Previously Robert did campaign work in Middlesex County.

After over two decades in state government, Deputy Treasurer Thomas Neff announced his resignation this week. He had previously served in two prior administrations and was deputy executive director of the Senate Republican Office.

Charles Barker is the newest edition to Senator Cory Booker’s state staff, serving as Constituent Advocate handling banking and IRS casework.
Last month, Claire Wolfe became Legislative Aide to Assemblyman Raj Mukherji. Claire recently received her Master’s in International Political Economy at the University of York, in England.
Coriell Institute for Medical Research recently named Courtney Mengel Dirks as their new Director of Communications and Government Relations. An attorney, Courtney previously worked for University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Medicine and former Congressman Joe Sestak (PA).  Congratulations, Courtney!
Theo Siggelakis, former aide to Assemblyman Dan Benson recently launched Broad Street Strategy, a political fundraising company.
Kimberlee S. Williams, co-owner and marketing director of the Newark-based marketing firm Femworks, has joined the Rutgers-Newark Office of Communications, as Director of Communications.
State House Happenings
Happening Now…Governor Christie delivers his final Budget Address for FY 2018.
At his last budget address, Governor Christie outlined his successes over the past eight years, and his spending plan which proposes a $35.5 billion state budget.
Due to the increased amount of insured under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the administration proposes to cut charity care by $50 million. However with the uncertain fate of the ACA under the Trump Administration, many fear that the plan to “repeal and replace” the ACA may leave many New Jersey residents uninsured.
Governor Christie indicated that an increase of $30 million towards Graduate Medical Education programs will help address the shortage of doctors and nurses in NJ and that he wants Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey surplus revenue to annually fund the state’s most vulnerable populations, who access Charity Care and Medicaid.
The ongoing campaign against substance addiction was also highlighted, allocating funds to the Department of Children and Families to expand residential services for 18 and 19 year olds, and the Department of Health to increase the number of hospital beds used for recovering residents.
Another highly anticipated issue was addressed by the governor – how the state’s broken school funding formula should be fixed. The most recent iteration of the education formula, the School Funding Reform Act (SFRA), was fast-tracked through the legislature in 2008, and promised to deliver help to some of the state’s poorest districts. What resulted, however, was inequity across the state and severe underfunding in many school districts.
Now the governor has called on the legislature for serious reform, with 39% of the state’s entire FY 2018 budget to be dedicated to education spending. Within 100 days, the Governor has directed leaders in both parties to agree on a way to amend the funding formula, stressing the importance that this issue should be resolved by summer. Though the governor proposed his own draconian “Fairness Formula,” which would have severely impacted state aid to some of the poorest school districts in the state, he is now seeking to find a solution through the legislature, and promises to work with them in finding a successful agreement.

In Memoriam

Jamie Fox, an adored and respected New Jersey public servant for the last 40 years, died late last month at the age of 62.  Jamie was
the state’s commissioner of transportation under Governors Christie and McGreevey.  He was also chief of staff for Governor McGreevey and former U.S. Senator Bob Torricelli and served as an advisor to Governors Codey and Corzine.
Jamie had an affable demeanor, infectious laugh and self-deprecating sense of humor that was downright disarming.  But when it came to politics, he was a shrewd strategist who was usually three steps ahead of his opponents and unafraid to make tough decisions.  He was a mentor to so many, helping countless former aides and candidates to succeed.  He was a longtime friend to the principals at CIG and will be dearly missed. Eric Shuffler and the Fox Family are hosting a service in celebration of Jamie’s life on Monday, March 6 at 3:00 at the Grounds for Sculpture, 80 Sculptors Way, Hamilton, NJ.


Former Economic Development Authority CEO Caren Franzini recently died after a courageous battle with breast cancer.   She was 57.  Caren served as chief executive of the EDA from 1994 to 2012, under seven New Jersey governors of both parties. CIG Principal Gerry Gibbs knew Caren personally and professionally, having both served as a members of the EDA Board and the Camden Recovery Board during Governor McGreevy’s administration.  A friend of CIG’s, we extend our heartfelt condolences to Caren’s children and husband.
John White, a longtime education and budget analyst for the Office of Legislative Services, and later a school business administrator and advocate for teens dealing with drug addiction, passed away on February 4, 2017. The father of Assembly Majority senior staffer Keith White, John was a friend and colleague to many in Trenton and will be dearly missed.

CIG Client Spotlight
Best Friends Animal Society, is a national, non-profit organization, that advocates for animal welfare. Best Friends focuses on ending the killing of dogs and cats throughout the country’s shelters, and runs the largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals in the country.  Their goal is to advance no-kill legislation throughout the U.S.


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Proximity to Power…
CIG Live on State Street!
As reported in NJBIZ, Capital Impact Group recently launched CIG Live on State Street, a real-time video stream of press conferences, political events, rallies and more. Now you’ll be able to view political developments in Trenton anytime from anywhere, as they happen!

Check it out here:

In Our Thoughts

Former legislative staffer and insurance lobbyist John Leyman recently suffered a catastrophic fall while on vacation in St. Lucia. To help support John and his family during his recovery, please visit his Go Fund Me page.

Out & About
Team CIG in the halls of the State House awaiting Governor Christie’s last Budget Address.

Murphy & Mulroys — CIG Principal Gene Mulroy and his brother Kyle, shared some laughs with former Ambassador to Germany and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy on the NJ Chamber’s Walk to Washington last month.

CIG’s PaulCrupi with Lieutenant Governor  Kim Guadagno, at
Bayada’s groundbreaking ceremony for its new global headquarters located in Pennsauken.
Last month, Tammy Murphy visited Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore’s Program Center and met with CEO Sue McClure, who is also president of the New Jersey Girl Scouts Council.


Earlier this week the Center for American Women and Politics 

(CAWP) hosted their annual “Women of Power” reception at Marsilio’s Kitchen.  The popular event was packed and bursting at the seams this year as CAWP and women lawmakers paid tribute to retiring Senator Diane Allen.  She will be missed!

CIG’s Shantè Palmer is pictured with Ambassador Murphy, Lolita Cruz and Assemblyman Giblin between takes of The Giblin Report.

Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz, a licensed nurse, delivered an inspired keynote address at the Annual Awards Meeting of ONL NJ – Organization of Nurse Leaders, New Jersey.
Shantè Palmer at NJBIC’s reception in DC with Congressman Payne, Congresswoman Watson-Coleman and Senator Booker for the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference.
Sabeen Kalyan-Masih traveled to California’s Wine Country to participate in the national lobbyist conference for the Wine Institute.


Tuesday, April 18th at 1pm
Capital Impact Group will be hosting a luncheon reception at their Trenton office in honor of former Ambassador and gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy.
More details to follow….
ODM Client Spotlight
ODM has been working closely with Home Towne Rx, a Lawrence Township based pharmacy services company, over the last several months to expand their base of operations, improve their social media footprint and create new strategic partnerships Statewide.
In anticipation of their soon to be expansion into the City of Newark, ODM helped facilitate the inclusion of a full page article about Home Towne RX in the last issue of Newark Bound Magazine.  ODM and Home Towne Rx will have much more exciting news to share in the weeks ahead.

 Who We Are
Capital Impact Group is a bipartisan,

full-service public affairs and business development firm based in Trenton, NJ, 37 steps from the front door of the State House. We offer a wide range of services to help our clients manage the realities of today’s political, economic and regulatory environment and the ever-changing dynamics in the State of New Jersey and Washington, D.C.

Open Door Media is a fast-growing public affairs and communications firm focused on delivering results for our corporate, government and non-profit clients.

Veteran Senate Staffer from Booker’s Office Joins Capital Impact Group

February 17, 2016

Gene Mulroy or Gerry Gibbs

Shante HS (2)

Veteran Senate Staffer from Booker’s Office Joins Capital Impact Group

(Trenton, NJ) Senator Cory Booker’s Projects Specialist, Shantè D. Palmer, has joined Trenton-based Capital Impact Group (CIG) as Senior Vice President of Business Development.  Shantè leaves behind a successful stint in the public sector where she served three New Jersey United States Senators — Frank Lautenberg, Jeff Chisea and Cory Booker.

Shantè is also an Adjunct Professor at Essex County College, where she teaches American Government, and has vast campaign experience having worked for local and statewide candidates over the last decade.

“We are very thrilled to have Shantè join our team” said CIG Principal Gerry Gibbs. “Shantè will be filling a new and exciting position here at CIG as we look to service our rapidly growing business development practice.”

Shantè will be responsible for managing the multistate business development efforts for CIG’s existing and new clients as well as providing day-to-day counsel for the firm’s public affairs clients.

“Shantè has the experience and relationships necessary to make an immediate impact,” said CIG Principal Gene Mulroy.

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CIG Insider – Winter Edition 2015

Movers and Shakers
The Governor’s Office recently made several staff changes in the Office of Policy and Planning and the Office of Community and Constituent Relations.  Peter Simon and Emily Baggett have been named Senior Policy Analysts, while former Assembly Republican Budget Director Jerry Traino was tapped as the Governor’s new Budget Director.  Nick DiRocco will head up the newly formed Office of Constituent and Community Relations, with former Assistant Counsel Hillary Hewit and Vincent Funelas serving as Deputy Directors.
Senate President Steve Sweeney has announced several new hires to the Senate Majority Office staff.  Former Gibbons PC attorney Fruqan Mouzon has been appointed General Counsel; Alan Weinberg has been tapped to be Director of Operations; Mark Magyar has been named Director of Policy and Communications for the Senate President; Roslyn J. Smith has been appointed Assistant Director for Constituent Relations; Rose Farias, Elizabeth Mahn, and Keri Salerno have joined the team as Research Specialists; and Zainab Chaudary and Katia Diaz have been named Communications Specialists.


Roselle Mayor Jamel Holley officially announced his intention to run for the State Assembly in the 20th Legislative District.  Holley, a Democrat serving in his first term as mayor, is running for the seat that was vacated by Union County Sheriff and former Assemblyman Joseph Cryan.


In Bergen County, Michael Pagan, who previously served as Press Secretary for NJ’s General Assembly has been tapped to serve as County Executive Jim Tedesco’s County Public Information Officer and Division Director for the Office of Public Information.  Additionally, Alicia D’Alessandro, former Communications Director for the New Jersey Democratic State Committee, has accepted the position of Communications Director for Tedesco.



 State House Happenings


Calling for “a New Jersey renewal and an American renewal,” Governor Chris Christie delivered his 2015 State of the State of the Address to a joint session of the New Jersey Legislature today, focusing on economic growth, continued pension and benefit reforms, and an expansion of drug treatment programs.

Governor Christie, who is expected to declare his presidential candidacy within the next month, delivered a speech that reiterated his achievements of the past five years while focusing on broad national themes of fiscal responsibility, economic development and urban renewal.

Touting the successful expansion of the drug court system, Governor Christie called for new policies to streamline drug treatment and expand offender re-entry programs to five major cities.  The Governor highlighted his partnership with Democrats in Camden, including Mayor Dana Redd, in improving education, reducing crime, and creating jobs.

Finally, while the Governor did not detail any specific proposals in his speech, he stated that the bipartisan pension commission is crafting reforms to address the state’s unfunded pension liabilities. Leaders of the Democrat-controlled Legislature have vowed to push back against any further reductions to state employees’ health and benefits packages.

Click here to read the text of the Governor’s 2015 State of the State address.

Freshmen NJ Members of Congress
As the 114th session of Congress convened last week, three New Jersey members took the oath of office in the nation’s Capital for the first time-Congressman Donald Norcross (CD 1), Congressman Tom MacArthur (CD 3) and Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (CD 12).  Congressman Norcross and Congresswoman Watson-Coleman were selected by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to serve on the House Armed Services and the House Homeland Security Committees, respectively.  Congressman MacArthur, a Republican, was appointed to the House Armed Services Committee and the House Natural Resources Committee.Several New Jersey political operatives and government officials have been appointed to staff the Washington, DC and New Jersey district offices:

Congressman Donald Norcross

Michael Maitland, Chief of Staff,

Amanda Caruso and Fran Tagmire, NJ District Directors.

Congressman Tom MacArthur

Ryan Carney, Chief of Staff

Frank Luna, NJ Chief of Staff

Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman

James Gee, Chief of Staff

Kari Osmond, NJ District Director

Joel A Griffith, Special Assistant

 Client Spotlight 


The National Tax-deferred Savings Association (NTSA) is an independent, non-profit association representing providers and practitioners in the 403(b) marketplace, which includes hundreds of New Jersey small businesses.  NTSA members provide retirement services to more than 80% of New Jersey’s 600+ school districts and manage more than $2 billion in New Jersey retirement savings.