CIG Insider - Winter Edition 2017

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.