Power Issue: D-H

From the arts to politics, these are the 101 most influential people in the Garden State.

Commissioner, Department of Education

Despite some controversies and a pending lawsuit by the state’s school superintendents, Davy, 53, probably wields more influence now than when she was appointed commissioner in 2005, thanks to a new law giving her authority (which she’s since drawn on) to set regulations involving school budgets.  She’s also taken on the thorny issue of state testing, raising the minimum passing score for middle school students and working to revamp high school tests. Under the former math teacher’s watch, nearly two-thirds of New Jersey’s schools showed improved scores on state math tests in 2007.—LGP

Political boss

Dubbed “the Queen of King Street” for wielding considerable power from her Hillside living room, the Union County Democratic chairwoman, 64, can make or break candidates with a single tap of her Pall Mall. Ruthless to some, a savvy powerhouse to others, DeFilippo is a potent force in a county where Democrats have ruled since 1997. Until last year, the unelected ringleader also served as legislative aide to Assemblyman Neil Cohen, who resigned amid child-pornography allegations. In 2007, state investigators subpoenaed DeFilippo, who is also executive director of the Union County Improvement Authority, for documents relating to her public and private dealings, sparking rumors that her reign may be coming to an end.—DS

Chairman, Department of Community Affairs

Doria, 62, used to run mock elections for his social studies students at Holy Family Academy in Bayonne.  He later won real ones, working his way up from the board of education to the local mayor’s office, the Assembly (where he was minority leader and speaker), and the state Senate. In January 2008, Governor Corzine named Doria to his current job as head of the DCA, which deals with quality-of-life issues. DCA accomplishments over the past year include enforcement of stringent amusement-park-ride safety regulations and facilitating the creation of affordable housing for working families.—JB


Wally Edge is the Spiderman of Garden State political insiders. The identity of the politickernj.com editor, whose pen name pays tribute to a former state governor and senator, is one of the hottest topics in political circles. That’s because the anonymously operated website gets the scoop on virtually everything that occurs in Jersey politics. Republicans say he’s a Democrat, while Democrats are convinced he’s a member of the GOP. One thing is for sure: The website has become required reading for political junkies across New Jersey.—PD

Attorney, Lobbyist

After a run as mayor of Englewood and chief counsel to governors McGreevey and Codey, Fader, 49, wields clout as a partner in former governor Jim Florio’s law firm, Florio, Perrucci, Steinhardt & Fader. Big-time clients include United Water, Cablevision, the Newark Downtown Redevelopment Authority, and the South Jersey Transportation Authority.—JAM

Attorney, lobbyist

This Cuban-American trial lawyer gained prominence when Governor Corzine named her attorney general in January 2006, making Farber, 64, the first Hispanic woman in a governor’s cabinet. A long string of traffic tickets and bench warrants didn’t stop her from getting the AG job, but intervening when her longtime boyfriend was stopped for driving an unregistered vehicle did force her to resign just seven months after getting the post. Today she is reinventing herself as a key member of Issues Management, a Princeton-based lobbying firm affiliated with her old law firm, Lowenstein Sandler PC, where she is still a partner.  As a lobbyist, she focuses  on employment, immigration, and health care.—JPC

Wine Merchant

Amazing to think that twenty years ago, liquor stores in New Jersey mainly sold, well, liquor, and a token amount of wine. Fisch, the 51-year-old CEO of Gary’s Wine & Marketplace, largely changed that. Opening his first store in Madison in 1987, he combined the New York idea of the wine superstore with the European idea of the upscale wine-and-food emporium, developing an almost $45 million-a-year business (after adding stores in Bernardsville and Wayne). His down-to-earth style has made him a Food Network regular, an oft-quoted wine commentator, and an informative lecturer. Over the last twenty years, his annual Grand Tasting has contributed $250,000 to Morristown and
area charities.—EL


Florio’s lobbying firm, Princeton Public Affairs Group, one of the highest paid in the state, has clients from both sides of the aisle despite Florio’s role as the longtime chairman of the Republican party in Somerset County. It testifies to his effectiveness and credibility. A strong fundraiser and political organizer, Florio, 53, has made Somerset a key Republican stronghold. His hands-on involvement helped him deliver the county to Leonard Lance, the Republican who just won the congressional seat in Florio’s district.—CC


As the president of the HealthCare Institute of New Jersey, Franks, 57, lobbies for 22 pharmaceutical companies in the state. A longtime Republican politico, he started in the state Assembly in 1979 before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1993. He left the House for an unsuccessful U.S. Senate race against Jon Corzine in 2000, then lost the Republican gubernatorial primary the next year. Franks claims no further political ambitions, but that could change if Corzine stumbles on the way to reelection.—RS


The morning-drive host at New Jersey radio station 101.5 FM delights in lobbing verbal stink bombs at whatever political party is in power. A self-styled watchdog for the people, Gearhart rallies listeners to tackle incumbents and protest everything from high taxes to gas prices. Some liken the crusading broadcaster to an on-air car crash—they hate his shtick but just can’t turn away. The veteran talkmeister ranked number 64 on Talkers magazine’s annual “Heavy Hundred” list of top talk-show hosts.—DS


As president of the New Jersey Audubon Society for the past 25 years, Gilmore, 62, expanded NJAS into ten staffed centers with international recognition. He played an integral role in the passage of New Jersey’s stringent 1987 Wetlands Law and helped the Highlands Coalition secure full protection of the Pequannock River Watershed. Other Gilmore initiatives include the Cape May Bird Observatory and the Weis Ecology Center in Ringwood.—LW


Once the head of the Department of Transportation and the Department of Insurance, Gluck, 74, is now a powerful Republican lobbyist with an impressive roster of clients. A close friend of former governor Christie Todd Whitman, Gluck has become an informal advisor to Governor Corzine. In 2007, he named her to the New Jersey Public Officers Salary Review Commission, which eyes compensation for the governor and cabinet members, among others.—JM


As cofounder and president of Roseland Property, Goldberg, 57, is changing the face of a large chunk of New Jersey’s Hudson River waterfront with the ambitious Port Imperial development of 200 acres of residences and office and retail space. Goldberg, known for his political ties with statewide powers like Senator Robert Menendez, wears a second hat as chairman of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which operates the Meadowlands Sports Complex and oversees its ambitious football stadium and Xanadu construction projects.—AS

Lawrence Goldman
President and CEO, NJPAC

In addition to fostering a world-class arts scene, Goldman, 63,  aims to revitalize the city of Newark, a goal that stems from his background in urban redevelopment. To those ends, he has assembled a “who’s who” board of directors and raked in $171 million toward a $180 million fundraising goal. Next step: A redevelopment effort that would turn NJPAC’s adjacent courtyard into the city’s “town square,” at the center of residential towers and street-level cafés, shops, and restaurants—reflecting Goldman’s view that a city needs the arts, but the arts need a vibrant city.—JK 

Steve Goldstein

As chairman of Garden State Equality, New Jersey’s most active gay advocacy group, Goldstein, 45, has been out front on most issues affecting the LGBT community, from playing a key role in securing passage of the state’s civil-union law to challenging Ocean Grove for prohibiting those civil unions from being held on the Boardwalk. Goldstein—who married his partner in Canada in 2002—is now pushing for marriage-equality legislation in New Jersey. Having managed Jon Corzine’s 2000 Senate campaign, Goldstein is also seen as an effective fundraiser.—JPC


Last September, more than 19,000 poetry fans attended the twelfth biennial Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival at the old Waterloo Village site in Sussex County. The man behind the poetry pow-wow is 58-year-old Dodge Foundation president and CEO Grant. Since taking over the executive leadership of the foundation in 1998, the aptly named Grant has raised the organization’s profile in four areas of giving: education, the arts, animal welfare, and local Morris County projects. On the side, he tours in a one-man show as Mark Twain.—PD


All successful restaurants get something right—maybe even several things. Cuisine, service, decor, wine list, bar menu, dessert, parking, price—the list goes on. What is unique about Harary, the 35-year-old chef/co-owner of Restaurant Nicholas in Red Bank, is that he got everything right (and keeps working to make everything better). Even before the Ryland Inn closed, Restaurant Nicholas had become the standard of excellence in the state, a total dining experience as exquisite as anything in Manhattan, yet relaxed, comfortable, and reasonably priced. How does he do it? “You could be smarter than me, you could be a better chef than me, you could be a better businessman than me,” Harary told this magazine in 2007. “But at some point, sheer hard work is going to be involved, and there’s no way you’re going to outwork me.”—EL

CEO, Schering-Plough

When Hassan, 62, took over at Schering-Plough in 2003, the pharmaceutical giant was clearly at its nadir. Sales had dropped 20 percent in a year and were threatened with more downside, since the company’s star drug, the allergy medication Claritin, had gone off patent.  Hassan has replaced much of management with allies from his former company, Pharmacia, and stepped up research, but has yet to come up with a new Claritin-like blockbuster. He has been the most politically involved of the state’s pharma  chiefs, serving on Governor Corzine’s transition team and Economic Growth Council.—RS

Mayor of Jersey City

Being the mayor of the second largest city in New Jersey gives Healy, 59, substantial clout. As Jersey City’s population and stature grow, so, too, does Healy’s influence. It doesn’t hurt that this former assistant county prosecutor and municipal court chief judge also chairs the Hudson County Democratic machine, one of the most important county organizations in the state. Not even a conviction in 2007 for obstructing justice and resisting arrest after a clash with a police officer, or being photographed on his porch nude after a night of drinking back when he was a councilman, were able to derail his political career.  That’s staying power.—CC

Real estate

As president and CEO of Mack-Cali Realty Corporation, Hersh, 57, is the state’s biggest landlord. Mack-Cali owns or has interest in 179 properties in New Jersey comprising 23.4 million square feet of mostly commercial space in communities such as Cranford, Jersey City, Moorestown, Parsippany, Princeton, and Totowa. As might be expected, the company’s stock has been battered this year, slipping from a twelve-month high of $43 to below $20 amid concerns about the commercial real estate market. Mack-Cali got a vote of confidence in October when, despite the credit squeeze, it obtained a $240 million mortgage on one of its Jersey City waterfront properties.—KS


Hodes, 66, began his career as executive assistant to Newark mayor Ken Gibson and went on to serve as Govenor Brendan Byrne’s chief of staff. Viewed as grounded, pragmatic, and armed with good instincts, Hodes was invaluable to Richard Codey when he was interim governor. Public Strategies Impact, the lobbying firm Hodes runs with Roger Bodman, a veteran of the Kean administration, claims to be the best in Trenton. Unfortunately, among the names associated with Hodes are state Senator Joseph Coniglio, who faces federal corruption charges, and Hillary Clinton, whom Hodes advised on her failed presidential run.—CC

James Hughes and Joseph Seneca
Educators, economists

When Hughes and Seneca speak, legislators, politicians, business leaders, and the media listen, often with trepidation. Hughes, 65, dean of the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers, has been a longtime advisor on demographic and economic issues to leaders in Trenton and Washington. Seneca, 66, a professor at the Bloustein School, was for many years chairman of the New Jersey Council of Economic Advisors. But the pair may wield their greatest influence with their Rutgers Regional Report, in which they deliver unflinching assessments on economic and demographic issues. They’ve proved prescient at times, as in a 2005 report in which they warned that “real problems may be imminent” in the housing market.—LGP

To read about the rest of our power players, click on the links below:




Bill Baroni

Reginald T. Jackson

Woody Johnson

Will and Jack Morey

Clement Price and Mary Sue Sweeney Price

Shirley Tilghman

Loretta Weinberg

Ted and Nina Wells

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