TRENTON – The official gubernatorial portrait of former Governor and Senate President Richard J. Codey was unveiled today at a ceremony in the Senate Chambers of the State House before legislators, current and former staff, and family members. Codey will join other governors from recent history whose portraits hang in the Governor’s Outer Office at the Statehouse.
“This is truly a great honor. Without a doubt, my time as Governor was one of the best experiences of my life,” said Codey. “I certainly never expected the job, but I couldn’t be more grateful. The accomplishments we were able to achieve in those 14 months were some of the proudest of my life and I want to thank my former staff for all their hard work along the way. I’d also like to thank Paul Jennis for the outstanding job he did in making me look even better on canvas than in real life.”
The portrait, painted by New Jersey native Jennis, commemorates Codey’s tenure as governor from November 16, 2004 to January 17, 2006. Codey’s 14 months in office were marked by his advocacy for mental health-care, raising the state’s minimum wage, signing a statewide indoor smoking ban, doling out the first public funding for human embryonic stem cell research in the nation, and conducting an unprecedented statewide school security audit.
“Dick Codey never sought this job, but he rose to the occasion and served with a sense of decency, humor and a steady hand during a trying time for our state,” Governor Corzine said. “He made the most of his time in office by focusing on important issues that are too often overlooked and the state owes him, his wife Mary Jo, and his family a debt of gratitude for that and for helping to restore the public trust.”
Codey selected Jennis from among dozens of candidates because of his unique qualifications and life-long connection to New Jersey. Jennis, who was born in Newark and currently lives in Flemington, is a seasoned artist with more than twenty years of experience. Jennis painted the official black and white print for Present Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore after their 1996 re-election.
The total cost for the portrait, including frame and photography, was $24,500, which was paid for by the gubernatorial transition fund.