Former State Sen. Joseph J.  Suliga, Jr. was killed late Friday evening in a car accident in Linden.  He was 46.  According to the Star-Ledger, Suliga was the passenger in a car that was struck by another vehicle. 


Visiting hours are from 2PM to 5PM and 7PM to 9PM, Monday and Tuesday, at the Suliga residence. The funeral service will be held on Wednesday at 10:AM at Saint Elizabeth Church in Linden .



“Joe Suliga spent his entire adult life committed to public service and New Jersey is a better place today because of that commitment," Acting Gov. Richard Codey said in a statement today. “My heart goes out to Joe’s wife, his family, and the many friends that loved him.  He will be greatly missed.”

"This was a devastating loss to our Union County family, and especially for the people of Joe's hometown, Linden" said Democratic County Chairwoman Charlotte DeFillippo.  "Joe was a compassionate advocate for those in need.  His loss was not only sudden and tragic, but a loss for Linden and everyone in the state who knew him."

"Joe was my longtime friend and colleague who I formed a tremendous bond with when we first served in the Legislature," said his former running mate,  Assemblyman Neil Cohen.  "To put it simply, I am devastated by his loss." 

"Joe was a man who was passionate in his desire to help the people of Linden and the people of New Jersey.  He never forgot his roots," said Assemblyman Joseph Cryan.

Assemblywoman Linda Stender says that Suliga "was a driving force who exhibited great vision on many issues, and especially fiscally matters.  He cared deeply for the people of Union County."

"Joe was a friend and dedicated legislator who served as an advocate for the young and those less fortunate," said Assemblyman Gerald Green.

Suliga was 19-years-old when he launched his political career in 1977 as a successful candidate for the Linden Board of Education.  He was a City Councilman from 1984 to 1988 and a Union County Freeholder from 1988 to 1990.  He won a State Assembly seat in 1993 and moved up to the Senate in 2001 after redistricting moved Linden from the solidly-Democratic 20th district into a new seat that helped his party secure a second Union County Senate seat.  He defeated Republican Milton Campbell, a one-time Olympic gold medallist from Plainfield, with 60% of the vote.

He was seeking a second term in 2003 but withdrew from the race for personal problems and was succeeded by a political ally, Nicholas Scutari.  He remained the Linden Democratic Municipal Chairman and the city's Chief Financial Officer, until his death; he was widely viewed as the top candidate for Mayor of Linden when John Gregorio retires.  Senator Suliga is survived by his wife, Annmarie.  (02/19/05)

February 20, 2005