Senator John F. Russo, Sr., is a member emeritus of PPAG– Princeton Public Affairs Group. He was the first Democrat elected from his district in nearly one hundred years and was re-elected five times by some of the largest margins in the state. He has spent 18 years in the New Jersey Senate, has authored more than 200 laws and been involved in virtually every major public policy issue at one time or another. Senator Russo served as the state’s Senate President and acting Governor from 1986 to 1990. He served as Majority Leader in 1978 and again in 1984 and 1985 and was the primary sponsor of the New Jersey death penalty law. Senator Russo served on the Joint Committee on Appropriations and a Special Sub-Committee on Tax Reform. He chaired the Committee on Energy, Agriculture and Environment as well as the Senate Judiciary Committee.
In 1985, Senator Russo finished second in a field of six candidates in the New Jersey Democratic Gubernatorial Campaign. He then went on to co-chair Governor Jim Florio’s successful gubernatorial campaign. Senator Russo was elected Ocean County Democratic Chairman for four terms during the 1970’s. A former First Assistant Prosecutor in Ocean County for ten years, he graduated cum laude from Notre Dame University in 1955 and received his law degree from Columbia University in 1958. He was an active pilot, skier, tennis player and golfer.