Tuesday, April 16, 2013

NJ Lt. Gov. Guadagno Speaks at Biggest-Ever NJISJ Graduation

Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, graduation speaker, between
Cornell Brooks, President and CEO of the NJISJ (on her left)
and Al Williams, Director of Workforce Development (on
 her right), with graduating trainees and others.
The graduation ceremony for the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice trainees on April 15 was the biggest ever, with 16 graduating trainees and altogether more than 100 men, women and children (families of the graduates)  taking part in the program held at the PSE+G conference center at 80 Park Plaza in Newark.

The featured speaker was Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, who since July 2009 has been Governor Christopher J. "Chris" Christie's running mate and is now his second in command and the 33rd New Jersey Secretary of State.

Lt. Gov. Guadagno began by noting some of the successes of New Jersey's economic development strategy, which she oversees as part of the work of the New Jersey Partnership for Action. The PFA includes a Business Action Center to respond to the business community; the New Jersey Economic Development Authority; and Choose New Jersey, a nonprofit created to nurture economic growth in the state. She noted that her office had helped get 17 building contracts under way, creating 5,400 construction jobs. She chairs the Red Tape Review Commission, which attempts to streamline the State's regulations. She said she is surely "the best Lt. Governor New Jersey has ever had," and she can say this with confidence because she is the first and only person to have had the office.

In her dual role as Secretary of State, she oversees economic development programs and streamlining of government regulations. Guadagno moved to New Jersey in 1991 and has been a resident of Monmouth Beach since marrying Michael Guadagno in 1991. He is a judge of the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division. The Guadagnos have three children.

Born Kimberly Ann McFadden in Waterloo, Iowa, Lt. Gov. Guadagno earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Ursinus College in Pennsylvania and a law degree from the American University's Washington College of Law. Former Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York and the District of New Jersey, she was also Assistant New Jersey Attorney General.

Serving as deputy chief of the U.S. Attorney's office's corruption unit, Guadagno was responsible for the corruption prosecutions of former Essex County Executive Thomas D'Alessio (a Democrat) and of Somerset County Prosecutor Nicholas Bissell (a Republican).

She taught legal research and writing at Rutgers School of Law—Newark from 2003 until she was elected to state office and in 2005 she was elected to Monmouth Beach's governing body as one of its three Walsh Act commissioners.

She was elected the 75th sheriff of Monmouth County in 2007, the first woman sheriff. She managed  a staff of 650 and a $65 million budget that included operation of a 1,328-bed maximum security prison. She told the graduating seniors:
Don't let anyone ever tell you that you can't do something. Look, if I can be sheriff, you can be anything you want to be. 
She noted that Gov. Christie is a big supporter of the pre-apprenticeship training program and has also championed the "Helmets to Hardhats" program for returning veterans.

Other speakers at the graduation ceremony included Mr. Lash Green, who manages the Office of Diversity in the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He described the NJISJ training program as
one of the most effective programs around.

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