Former Agent Codey Becomes N.J. Governor

November 16, 2004

Richard J. Codey, long time Democratic legislator and local independent insurance agent in his West Orange community, became New Jersey’s acting governor at the stroke of midnight.

Codey assumed the office from James McGreevey, who resigned following his admission of an extramarital gay affair.

Codey was first elected to the legislature as an assemblyman in 1973, at the age of 26. At that time, Codey was the youngest legislator ever elected in New Jersey

Codey has represented the 27th legislative district in Essex County, which includes the towns of Caldwell, Essex Fells, Fairfield, Livingston, Maplewood, North Caldwell, Orange, Roseland, South Orange, West Orange, and part of the City of Newark.

Codey was re-elected three times to the Assembly, where he chaired the State Government Committee for six years and played a central role in the development of New Jersey’s Casino Control Act, which established the first legal gambling casinos in the country outside of Nevada.

He was selected Senate President for the 211th Legislative Session beginning January 13, 2004. During the previous legislative session, Codey served as Senate Co-President, due to an unusual 20-20 split between Republican and Democratic senators that session. Codey also served as Senate minority leader from 1998-2002, and served as Acting Governor for several days in 2002.

A retired federal judge will oversee Codey’s insurance agency during the Essex County Democrat’s tenure as acting governor.

Codey signed a blind trust agreement on Oct. 14 that names Nicholas H. Politan sole trustee of the Olympic Agency Inc., giving Politan the authority to act as chairman of the board and the power to sell, merge or consolidate the company.

Codey has also severed ties to his insurance business and had asked the state Department of Banking and Insurance to suspend his insurance license.

“Even though these actions are not required under law because I’m governed by the Legislative Code of Ethics, I’ve removed myself completely from the day-to-day activities of my company and will receive no income from my business in order to eliminate any appearance or actual conflict of interest while I’m acting governor,” he said at the time.

Codey will fill the 14 months remaining of Gov. James E. McGreevey’s term.

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