SENATOR RICHARD J. CODEY
- 651 OLD MT PLEASANT AVENUE, SUITE 195
LIVINGSTON, NJ 07039
- PH: (973) 535-5017
- EMAIL: SENCODEY@NJLEG.ORG
- ERIN RICE, CHIEF OF STAFF
- ERIN O’GARA-MEIER, DISTRICT OFC. DIRECTOR/CONSTITUENT RELATIONS
- MARION WADE, SCHEDULING DIRECTOR
27th Legislative District
Mr. Codey is a former governor and Senate president who began his career in state government in 1973 when he was elected to the Assembly at age 26, becoming, at the time, the youngest person ever elected to the State Legislature. He served four Assembly terms before being elected to the State Senate in 1981. He has been re-elected 11 times.
Mr. Codey served as senate co-president from 2002 to 2004 when the upper house was evenly split 20-20 between Democratic and Republican senators. When Democrats gained the majority in 2004, he was selected senate president for the 211th, 212th and 213th legislative sessions. When Governor James E. McGreevey resigned before his term expired, Mr. Codey became the state’s 53rd governor on Nov. 16, 2004.
As a legislator, Mr. Codey has advocated for better care and treatment for individuals with mental illnesses. Early in his legislative career, he exposed problems in state psychiatric hospitals when he assumed the name of a deceased convicted criminal and was hired at Marlboro Psychiatric Hospital. His undercover operation received national attention and led to reforms that significantly improved the quality of care and quality of life for patients in mental health facilities.
As governor, Mr. Codey continued to bring the struggles of individuals with mental illness to the forefront of the public’s attention. His first official act was to establish the Governor’s Task Force on Mental Health to report on the direction New Jersey should take in delivering improved services to its mentally ill. During his 14 months as governor, he was successful in implementing more than 90 percent of the task force’s recommendations. Along with his wife, Mary Jo, he launched a statewide postpartum depression awareness campaign. He also sponsored legislation that requires doctors and healthcare professionals to screen and educate all new mothers for postpartum depression. These efforts would later see the couple create The Codey Fund for Mental Health, an organization dedicated to removing the stigma of mental illness while working to improve access to high quality care for those afflicted.
During his governorship, he also signed numerous landmark laws including the Smoke Free Air Act, GPS tracking for convicted sex offenders, and a minimum wage increase, and played a critical role in advancing medical research and scientific progress in New Jersey. Under his watch, New Jersey became the first state to award public funds to support human embryonic stem cell research, and the first to establish a public umbilical and placental stem cell bank.
Throughout his four decades in public service, Mr. Codey has worked to make New Jersey communities and schools safer. He sponsored the nation’s first statewide assault weapons ban and childproof handgun law, and, as governor, he created a task force to examine steroid use and prevention, and sponsored bills establishing random drug testing for student-athletes and establishing training for coaches to identify the symptoms of steroid abuse. He also sponsored legislation to better protect student-athletes from sustained health effects of brain and head injuries and concussions.
The senator has sponsored legislation reforming New Jersey’s health care laws to cut costs while protecting quality of care. He helped establish the state’s Charity Care program, which helps hospitals treat uninsured patients, and a program that provides prescription drug cost assistance for seniors and individuals with disabilities.
Senator Codey was born in Orange. He is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University. He was a teacher in the East Orange public school system before joining his family’s business, Frank J. Codey & Son Funeral Directors. He was president of an insurance company for 25 years prior to selling the business in 2008.
The senator and his wife, the former Ms. Rolli, are the parents of two sons, Kevin and Christopher and grandparents of Brooke Codey.