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Barbara Buono
Barbara Buono 2012.jpg
Majority Leader of the New Jersey Senate
In office
January 12, 2010 – January 10, 2012
Preceded bySteve Sweeney
Succeeded byLoretta Weinberg
Member of the New Jersey Senate
from the 18th district
In office
January 8, 2002 – January 14, 2014
Preceded byDavid Himelman
Succeeded byPeter Barnes
Member of the New Jersey General Assembly
from the 18th district
In office
December 1, 1994 – January 8, 2002
Preceded byJoanna Gregory-Scocchi
Succeeded byPatrick Diegnan
Personal details
Born (1953-07-28) July 28, 1953 (age 66)
Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Martin Gizzi (m. 2002)
EducationMontclair State University (BA)
Rutgers University, Camden (JD)

Barbara A. Buono (born July 28, 1953) is an American politician who served in the New Jersey Senate from 2002-2014, where she represented the 18th Legislative District. She is a member of the Democratic Party and was the Democratic nominee for Governor of New Jersey in the 2013 general election, which she lost to Republican incumbent Chris Christie.[1]

Before entering the Senate, Buono served in the lower house of the New Jersey Legislature, the General Assembly, from 1994 to 2002, where she served as the Minority Parliamentarian from 1996-98. In the Assembly, Buono became the ranking Democrat on the Assembly Budget Committee. She was Democratic Conference Chair from 2004 to 2007.[2] She served from 2010 to 2012 as the Majority Leader in the Senate, succeeding Stephen Sweeney.


Buono was born in Newark,[3] grew up in Nutley, New Jersey[4] and attended Nutley Public Schools, graduating from Nutley High School in 1971.[5] Buono received a B.A. in 1975 from Montclair State College in Political Science and earned a J.D. in 1979 from the Rutgers School of Law–Camden.[2][6][7]

Before joining the Metuchen borough council, she was a member of the Middlesex County Democratic Committee. While serving on the borough council, she served on the Metuchen Planning Board for one year in 1994.[7]

Buono is married to Dr. Martin Gizzi and has four children with her first husband and two step-children with Dr. Gizzi.[7] In 2015, Buono sold her home in Metuchen and moved to Portland, Oregon.[8]

Political career

She began her career as a criminal trial attorney for the New Jersey Department of the Public Advocate and later entered private practice. Buono first ran for local office on November 3, 1992, serving on the Metuchen, New Jersey Borough Council from January 1, 1993 to December 1, 1994.[2]

Buono ran against and beat incumbent Republican State Assemblywoman Joanna Gregory-Scocchi in 1994, who had been chosen by a Republican special convention in February 1994 to fill the vacant seat of Republican Assemblywoman Harriet Derman (who was chosen by Governor Christine Whitman to head the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs). In the November 8, 1994, special election, early favorite Gregory-Scocchi was defeated by Buono, after disclosures that a temporary employment firm owned by Gregory-Scocchi had hired illegal immigrants,[9] with Buono having received 27,229 votes (53.74%) and Gregory-Scocchi 23,436 votes (46.26%).[10] Buono was sworn into office on December 1, 1994. After serving seven years in the New Jersey General Assembly she was elected to the New Jersey Senate on November 6, 2001. Buono served in the Senate on the Budget and Appropriations Committee (as Chair), the Intergovernmental Relations Commission and the Joint Budget Oversight Committee.[2] She was the first woman to serve as Chair of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. At the beginning of the 2010 session, Senator Buono became the first woman to be elected Majority Leader of the New Jersey State Senate. She held the position through the end of the 2011 session, when she was succeeded by Loretta Weinberg, after Buono declined to agree with Senate President Stephen Sweeney on the terms of a power-sharing deal.[11]

Buono was the author of the New Jersey "Anti-Bullying Law", which requires school districts to implement anti-harassment and bullying prevention policies to make schools safer for vulnerable children.[12] She was also the prime sponsor of consumer protection measures restricting telemarketing by creating the most stringent "Do Not Call" database legislation in the nation.[13] Senator Buono is also the prime sponsor of the law prohibiting the practice of predatory lending, in which lenders issue loans with hidden costs and excessive fees to homeowners, eroding their financial security and putting their homes at risk.[14][15] She currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee, and serves on the Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, and the State Government, Wagering, Tourism, & Historic Preservation committee.

Buono voted for the legalization of medical marijuana.[16] Word bills related to the measure were signed into law by Democratic Governor Jon Corzine[17] and six bills related to the measure were vetoed by Republican Governor Chris Christie.[18]

District 18

Each of the forty districts in the New Jersey Legislature has one representative in the New Jersey Senate and two members in the New Jersey General Assembly. The other representatives from the 18th District for the 2012-2013 Legislative Session were:[19]

2013 campaign for Governor

On December 11, 2012, Buono announced her candidacy for Governor of New Jersey in the Democratic primary, with the winner to face Republican incumbent Chris Christie in the 2013 election.[1] Buono gained considerable party support by late January.[20] In the primary election on June 4, 2013, she was chosen over one opponent to be the Democratic nominee for Governor of New Jersey in the 2013 general election.[21] Despite New Jersey being a historically Democratic state in presidential contests, her campaign struggled to gain traction against Christie.[22][23][24]

On July 29, Buono selected Milly Silva, executive vice president of 1199 SEIU, as her running mate for lieutenant governor.[25]

On November 5, Buono was defeated by incumbent Governor Chris Christie by a 60.3% to 38.2% margin.[26]

Post election

Buono moved to Portland, Oregon in 2015 and became advisor to Mayor Ted Wheeler. She returned to the East Coast in 2019.[27][28]

Election history

New Jersey gubernatorial election, 2013[26]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Chris Christie (incumbent) 1,278,932 60.30% +11.80%
Democratic Barbara Buono 809,978 38.19% -6.71%
Libertarian Kenneth R. Kaplan 12,155 0.57% +0.37%
Green Steve Welzer 8,295 0.39% +0.39%
Glass-Steagall Now Diane W. Sare 3,360 0.16% +0.16%
Peace and Freedom William Araujo 3,300 0.16% +0.16%
Independent Hank Schroeder 2,784 0.13% +0.13%
NSA Did 911 Jeff Boss 2,062 0.1% +0.1%
Majority 468,954 22.11% +18.53%
Turnout 2,120,866 38.48% -8.4%
Republican hold Swing
New Jersey State Senate elections, 2011[29]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Barbara Buono (incumbent) 19,631 60.1
Republican Gloria S. Dittman 13,042 39.9
Democratic hold
New Jersey State Senate elections, 2007[30]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Barbara Buono (incumbent) 21,365 62.4
Republican Daniel H. Brown 12,896 37.6
Democratic hold
New Jersey State Senate elections, 2003[31]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Barbara Buono (incumbent) 18,561 58.49
Republican Richard F. Plechner 13,175 41.51
Democratic hold
New Jersey State Senate elections, 2001[32]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Barbara Buono 33,487 64.96
Republican John Cito 18,064 35.04
Democratic gain from Republican
New Jersey General Assembly elections, 1999[33]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Barbara Buono (incumbent) 19,327 31.8
Democratic Peter J. Barnes, Jr. (incumbent) 18,068 29.7
Republican E. Martin Davidoff 11,853 19.5
Republican Norman Van Houten 11,632 19.1
Democratic hold
New Jersey General Assembly elections, 1997[34]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Barbara Buono (incumbent) 33,248 28.6
Democratic Peter J. Barnes, Jr. (incumbent) 31,781 27.3
Republican Wendy L. Weibalk 25,729 22.1
Republican Thomas J. Toto 25,612 22.0
Democratic hold
New Jersey General Assembly elections, 1995[35]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Barbara Buono (incumbent) 20,530 26.6
Democratic Peter J. Barnes, Jr. 19,531 25.3
Republican Jeffrey A. Warsh (incumbent) 17,941 23.3
Republican L. Jane Tousman 16,790 21.8
New Jersey General Assembly Special election, 1994[10]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Barbara Buono 27,229 53.7
Republican Joanna Gregory-Scocchi (incumbent) 23,436 46.3
Democratic gain from Republican


  1. ^ a b Renshaw, Jarrett. "N.J. Sen. Barbara Buono is first Democrat to challenge Christie for governor", The Star-Ledger, December 11, 2012. Accessed January 28, 2013. "State Sen. Barbara Buono today announced she's running for governor, becoming the first high-profile Democrat to launch a campaign aimed at toppling popular Republican incumbent Chris Christie next year."
  2. ^ a b c d "Senator Barbara Buono (D)". New Jersey Legislature. Archived from the original on October 6, 2013. Retrieved September 13, 2015.
  3. ^ Senator Barbara A. Buono, Project Vote Smart. Accessed January 29, 2013.
  4. ^ Staff. "Exclusive interview with Barbara Buono, N.J. candidate for governor", Courier News, December 17, 2012. Accessed December 29, 2012. "I know growing up in Nutley, if I didn't have a strong, quality public education, I wouldn't have prepared to then go to college."
  5. ^ Kuraj, Hasime. "Buono describes humble Nutley upbringing", Nutley Sun, January 21, 2013. Accessed January 28, 2013. "Buono credits Nutley schools system for her strong foundation. She attended Washington Elementary School, the former Franklin Middle School, and Nutley High School."
  6. ^ Legislators Who Have Attended Rutgers, Rutgers University. Accessed January 28, 2013. "Senator Barabara Buono (D18) Senate Majority Leader Rutgers School of Law-Camden Class of 1979"
  7. ^ a b c Manual of the Legislature of New Jersey - Two Hundred and Eleventh Legislature (First Session) (PDF). Skinder-Strauss Associates. 2004. p. 229. Retrieved September 13, 2015.
  8. ^ "After campaign trail, Buono takes the Oregon Trail - The Auditor". NJ Advance Media for July 15, 2015. Retrieved September 13, 2015.
  9. ^ Edge, Wally. PolitickerNJ How Buono got to Trenton,, January 12, 2010. Accessed July 4, 2010.
  10. ^ a b Official List Candidate Returns for General Assembly For November 1994 Special Election, Secretary of State of New Jersey, January 11, 2010. Accessed February 2, 2013.
  11. ^ Staff. "NJ Dems pick leaders, vow to take on Christie", Today's Sunbeam, November 11, 2011. Accessed January 29, 2013. "She replaces Sen. Barbara Buono of Middlesex County, the first woman to hold the position of majority leader in New Jersey. Buono, who has clashed with Sweeney, decided not to seek a second term rather than share power with Weinberg as co-leader. 'Sweeney made me an offer I couldn't accept,' Buono told The Associated Press on Thursday."
  12. ^ Cyberbullying, New Jersey Coalition for Bullying Awareness and Protection. Accessed October 20, 2007. "In NJ, Barbara Buono, the state legislator who helped create and pass NJ's anti-bullying law, has proposed a cyberbullying law, not yet passed: it would extend NJ's existing anti-bullying law to this new form."
  13. ^ "Governor signs anti-telemarketing bill into law" Archived January 16, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, North Brunswick Sentinel, May 29, 2003. "A bill sponsored by Sen. Barbara Buono (D-18) that gives New Jersey the strongest anti-telemarketing legislation in the nation was signed into law by Gov. James McGreevey May 21."
  14. ^ Griffin, Jim (2007-05-08). "Buono Moves to License Mortgage Solicitors". Politicker NJ. Retrieved 2013-06-03.
  15. ^ Pizzuro, Salvatore (2011-12-20). "Senator Buono is not afraid to speak out on sensitive issue". Hall Institute of Public Policy - NJ. Archived from the original on 2013-04-14. Retrieved 2013-06-03.
  16. ^ "Senator Barbara Buono's Voting Records on Drugs - Project Vote Smart". Retrieved 2013-07-28.
  17. ^ David McNew/Getty Images. "N.J. medical marijuana law is signed by Gov. Corzine". Retrieved 2013-07-28.
  18. ^ 06/28/2012 9:23 am Updated: 06/28/2012 10:20 am (2012-06-28). "Jon Stewart Criticizes Chris Christie Marijuana Veto Hypocrisy (VIDEO)". Retrieved 2013-07-28.
  19. ^ Legislative Roster 2012-2013 Session, New Jersey Legislature, backed up by the Internet Archive as of November 2, 2013. Accessed January 14, 2014.
  20. ^ Symons, Michael. "Buono: I may have ruffled some feathers." The Asbury Park Press. January 28, 2013. (accessed January 29, 2012).
  21. ^ Celock, John (June 4, 2013). "New Jersey Primary Results Show Easy Wins For Chris Christie, Barbara Buono". Retrieved 2013-07-28.
  22. ^ New Jersey. "New poll shows Gov. Christie with a 40-point lead over Barbara Buono". Retrieved 2013-07-28.
  23. ^ Star-Ledger File Photo. "Buono's money woes threaten campaign, cause a change of mind". Retrieved 2013-07-28.
  24. ^ Leslie Savan on June 11, 2013 - 11:28 AM ET (2013-06-11). "Media Yawn at Barbara Buono, the Only Dem Willing to Take On Chris Christie". The Nation. Retrieved 2013-07-28.
  25. ^ Renshaw, Jarrett. "Buono announces Milly Silva as her lieutenant governor pick". Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  26. ^ a b Official List Candidates for Governor For GENERAL ELECTION 11/05/2013 Election Archived 2017-04-29 at the Wayback Machine, New Jersey Department of State, December 4, 2013. Accessed January 14, 2014.
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^ Official List Candidate Returns for State Senate For November 2011 General Election Archived 2012-07-13 at the Wayback Machine, New Jersey Department of State, December 14, 2011. Accessed June 22, 2012.
  30. ^ Official List Candidate Returns for State Senate For November 2007 General Election, New Jersey Department of State, December 3, 2007. Accessed June 22, 2012.
  31. ^ "Official List Candidate Returns for State Senate For November 2003 General Election" (PDF). Secretary of State of New Jersey. December 2, 2003. Retrieved September 13, 2015.
  32. ^ "Official List Candidates for State Senate For November 2001 General Election" (PDF). Secretary of State of New Jersey. April 17, 2008. Retrieved September 13, 2015.
  33. ^ Official List Candidate Returns for General Assembly For November 1999 General Election, New Jersey Department of State, January 11, 2010. Accessed February 2, 2013.
  34. ^ Official List Candidate Returns for General Assembly For November 1997 General Election, New Jersey Department of State, January 11, 2010. Accessed February 2, 2013.
  35. ^ Official List Candidate Returns for General Assembly For November 1995 General Election, New Jersey Department of State, January 11, 2010. Accessed February 2, 2013.

External links

New Jersey General Assembly
Preceded by
Joanna Gregory-Scocchi
Member of the New Jersey Assembly
from the 18th district

Served alongside: Jeffrey Warsh, Peter Barnes
Succeeded by
Patrick Diegnan
New Jersey Senate
Preceded by
David Himelman
Member of the New Jersey Senate
from the 18th district

Succeeded by
Peter Barnes
Preceded by
Bernard Kenny
Chair of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee
Succeeded by
Paul Sarlo
Preceded by
Steve Sweeney
Majority Leader of the New Jersey Senate
Succeeded by
Loretta Weinberg
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jon Corzine
Democratic nominee for Governor of New Jersey
Succeeded by
Phil Murphy
This page was last edited on 10 October 2019, at 16:30
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