Arline Friscia

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Arline Friscia
Member of the New Jersey General Assembly from the 19th Legislative District
In office
January 9, 1996 – January 13, 2004
Preceded byStephen A. Mikulak
Succeeded byJoseph Vas
Personal details
Born(1934-11-13)November 13, 1934
Newark, New Jersey
DiedOctober 16, 2019(2019-10-16) (aged 84)
Edison, New Jersey
Political partyDemocratic
Other political
Republican (2003–?)

Arline M. Friscia (November 13, 1934 – October 16, 2019) was an American politician who served in the New Jersey General Assembly from 1996 to 2004, where she represented the 19th Legislative District. Originally elected as a Democrat, Friscia switched to the Republican Party in 2003 after losing organization support for her re-election bid from the Democratic Party in that year's primary.

Born in Newark, New Jersey, Friscia attended public schools in Newark and high school at Benedictine Academy.[1][2] She earned her undergraduate degree in music from Caldwell College and was awarded an M.A. from Seton Hall University in Administration and Supervision. Prior to becoming a politician, Friscia worked as a school teacher and a field representative for the New Jersey Education Association.[3] Before taking office in the Assembly, Friscia served on the Woodbridge Township Council from 1988 to 1991.[4]

Democrats statewide saw a net gain of three seats in the Assembly in the 1995 elections, with two of the pickups coming in the 19th District where Friscia and John S. Wisniewski knocked off the Republican incumbents Stephen A. Mikulak and Ernest L. Oros.[5] She was re-elected with Wisniewski in 1997, 1999 and 2001.[6] While in the Assembly, Friscia served as Associate Minority Leader starting in 1998 and was a member of the Labor Committee and the Senior Issues and Community Services Committee.[4] In the Assembly, Friscia sponsored a bill that would expand the state's family leave law by allowing those on leave to collect unemployment for 12 weeks and would make New Jersey the first state in the nation to adopt a provision requiring all business with 50 or more employees to hire back an employee at the same or comparable position after they return from their leave.[7]

In the 2003 Democratic primary, Friscia lost the official endorsement of the Middlesex County Democratic Organization, which went instead to Perth Amboy mayor Joseph Vas. Friscia objected to being knocked off the party line, stating that "a history of women being knocked off tickets in Middlesex County" exists as "part of a long sad history of the Democratic Party disenfranchising qualified women".[8] Following her defeat in the primary and after briefly considering an independent run for the Assembly, the Middlesex County Republican offered her a position to run on their ticket in the general election.[8] Friscia was defeated by the two Democratic candidates, incumbent Wisniewski and Vas, in the general election that November.[3]

Friscia reregisted as a Democrat after her departure from the Assembly. She died at the JFK Medical Center in Edison on October 16, 2019 at the age of 84.[2][3]


  1. ^ Fitzgerald's Legislative Manual, State of New Jersey, p. 269. E.J. Mullin, 2003, Accessed September 17, 2019. "Arlene M. Friscia, Dem., Woodbridge - Ms. Friscia was born in Newark and attended public schools there and the Benedictine Academy in Elizabeth."
  2. ^ a b "Obituary - Arline M. Friscia of Woodbridge, New Jersey". Costello-Greiner Funeral Home. October 2019. Retrieved October 18, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Wildstein, David (October 18, 2019). "Arline Friscia, former Middlesex assemblywoman, dies at 84". New Jersey Globe. Retrieved October 18, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Assemblywoman Arline M. Friscia, New Jersey Legislature, backed up by the Internet Archive as of February 22, 1998. Accessed June 3, 2010.
  5. ^ Associated Press. "Democrats Chip Away At GOP In Assembly", The Press of Atlantic City, November 8, 1995. Accessed July 7, 2010. "In the 19th, the Democratic sweep will bring John Wisniewski and Arline Friscia to office."
  6. ^ NJ Assembly 19 - History, Accessed June 3, 2010.
  7. ^ Garhunathan, Abhi. "The Capitol; A Feud Brewing Over Family Leave", The New York Times, February 4, 2001. Accessed June 3, 2010.
  8. ^ a b Fitzgerald, Barbara. Reflections on a Glass Ceiling", The New York Times, August 10, 2003. Accessed June 3, 2010.