Joseph A. Palaia
Before entering politics, Palaia was an educator, and principal of the Wanamassa Elementary School in Ocean Township. Prior to entering the Senate, Palaia served in a variety of state and local elected offices. He served on the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders from 1979 to 1981 and was a member of the Ocean Township Council from 1967 to 1971 until he ran for Mayor in 1971. Palaia served as Ocean Township's Mayor until 1979.
In 1982, Palaia was elected to the New Jersey General Assembly, the lower house of the New Jersey Legislature, where he served until 1989, when he was elected to the state Senate. In 1984, he served as the Assembly's Assistant Minority Whip.
He was elected to the Senate in 1989 and since served there in a variety of leadership roles. From 1992 to 1993, Palaia was the Assistant Majority Leader and from 1994 to 2003 he was President Pro Tempore of the Senate. In 2002-2003 he was the Republican President Pro Tempore when the Senate was evenly split 20-20. Palaia was a member of the Senate Education Committee.
Palaia is a graduate of New Jersey's Rider College where he received a B.S. degree in Business Administration, and was awarded an M.Ed. from Rutgers University in Administration and Supervision. Palaia was born in Neptune, New Jersey and resides in Ocean Township. Palaia's daughter Denise has followed her father into education and is principal of Wayside Elementary School.
In 1998 the Deal Test Site in Ocean Township was renamed Palaia Park in his honor.
He was one of the sponsors of the New Jersey Childproof Handgun Law that passed in 2002.
Each of the forty districts in the New Jersey Legislature has one representative in the New Jersey Senate and two members in the New Jersey General Assembly. The other representatives from the 11th Legislative District during the 2006-2008 legislative session were:
- Senator Palaia's Senate Legislative Website
- Senator Palaia's web site
- Senator Joseph A. Palaia, Project Vote Smart
- New Jersey Legislature financial disclosure form for 2006 (PDF)
- New Jersey Legislature financial disclosure form for 2005 (PDF)
- New Jersey Legislature financial disclosure form for 2004 (PDF)