Raj Mukherji

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Raj Mukherji
Member of the New Jersey General Assembly from the 33rd Legislative District
Assumed office
January 14, 2014
Serving with Annette Chaparro
Preceded bySean Connors
Ruben J. Ramos
Deputy Mayor of Jersey City, New Jersey
In office
March 2, 2012 – June 30, 2013
Preceded byLeona Beldini
Succeeded byJohn Thieroff
Commissioner & Chairman,
Jersey City Housing Authority
Assumed office
October 22, 2008
Preceded byLori Serrano
Personal details
Born (1984-07-15) July 15, 1984 (age 39)
Calcutta, India
Political partyDemocratic
Residence(s)Jersey City, New Jersey
Alma materUniversity of Pennsylvania, MLA
Seton Hall Law School, JD
Thomas Edison State University, BA
WebsitePolitical website
Military service
Branch/serviceUnited States Marine Corps
Years of service2001–2009

Raj Mukherji is a State Assemblyman in the New Jersey Legislature, who was first elected in 2013 and represents the 33rd Legislative District. Since 2022, he serves in the Assembly as Deputy Speaker and formerly served as Majority Whip of the New Jersey General Assembly.[1] He is also a lawyer, former healthcare and information technology CEO, former Deputy Mayor of Jersey City, former municipal prosecutor, and political science professor.[2][3] Mukherji was reelected in 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2021, most recently by a 4-to-1 margin.[4][5][6] In February 2022, following the adoption of a new 10-year legislative map by the New Jersey Legislative Apportionment Commission, Mukherji announced his candidacy for an open seat in the New Jersey Senate in a reconfigured 32nd Legislative District and was rapidly endorsed by local and statewide officials such as New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop.[7] He is a former U.S. Marine Corps sergeant who enlisted two weeks following the September 11th terrorist attacks.[1] Mukherji serves as Chairman of the Assembly Judiciary Committee and Vice Chairman of the Assembly Appropriations Committee.[8] He previously served as Vice Chair of the Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee.[9][10][8]

Mukherji started multiple successful businesses before completing his teenage years[11][12] and was sworn into his first public office at age 24.[13]

At 28, Mukherji - as a running-mate of longtime State Senator Brian P. Stack - won a six-way Democratic primary election for the Assembly by a 36-point margin in 2013 and won the November general election by a 20-point margin,[12][14][15] becoming the second South Asian legislator in state history (after Upendra J. Chivukula).[14][16] In 2016 and 2017, Mukherji was identified by POLITICO as the most prolific lawmaker in the state because of his primary sponsorship of more bills signed into law than any other legislator.[17][18]

The 33rd district includes the Hudson County municipalities of Hoboken, Jersey City, Union City and Weehawken.[19] It is the most densely populated legislative district in the state.[20] Mukherji's newly drawn 32nd legislative district, as of January 2024, will comprise Hoboken and Jersey City.[7]

Early life, education, and career[edit]

President Obama discusses urban issues with Jersey City leaders. From right to left: Mukherji, County Executive Tom DeGise, and then-Mayor Jerramiah Healy

Mukherji is the son of Indian American immigrants who arrived from Calcutta in 1970.[13][21][22] According to news accounts, he supported himself through high school, college, and grad school as an emancipated minor when economic circumstances forced his parents to return to their native India.[13][21] After suffering a pituitary tumor, stroke, and other ailments, Mukherji's father – an accountant and musician[23] – could no longer work as a result of his health but could not afford health coverage without employment.[13][21][24]

Labeled a "wunderkind" by the media,[25][26][27][28] Mukherji was previously the CEO of an Internet consulting and software development company that he founded while in the sixth grade.[15][24][26] Mukherji later sold the company to a federal contractor to enlist in the Marines two weeks after the September 11 attacks at age 17, where he served as a reservist in military intelligence.[13][26][27][28][29][30] The young entrepreneur withdrew from high school at 15 to enroll in an early college program at Bard College at Simon's Rock,[13][31][32] eventually earning his bachelor's degree from Thomas A. Edison State University.[8] He also holds a masters from the University of Pennsylvania[8] and a Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Seton Hall Law School,[2] and he has performed on Broadway[12][30] and in motion pictures, as a member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG).[33]

Mukherji cofounded and led as CEO companies that achieved an aggregate half billion dollars in enterprise value, spanning healthcare, information technology, medical cannabis, and real estate.[3][13][34] At 19, he had cofounded a public affairs firm[13][35] that he grew into the state's third largest lawyer-lobbying firm,[13][30][36] reportedly through his ties to New Jersey Democratic establishments and the Obama administration.[25][37][38][39] In 2011, he was named an annual "Legends" honoree by the Hudson County Chamber of Commerce.[35]

Prior public service[edit]

At 24, Mukherji was appointed by the Mayor of Jersey City and confirmed by the City Council to replace Lori Serrano (who had been removed and was later charged with corruption) as the youngest Commissioner and Chairman to ever serve on the Jersey City Housing Authority,[40] the state's second largest public housing authority and a $70 million agency serving over 16,000 residents and over 6,700 households.[2][13][9] During Mukherji's tenure, the JCHA was applauded by HUD for attaining the highest score for Section 8 management among similar agencies in the state.[30][41] The agency was also showered with federal grants and aid from the Obama administration, which dispatched then-U.S. Secretary of HUD Shaun Donovan to Jersey City on multiple occasions to announce tens of millions in competitive federal grants the agency had won.[42][43][44][45][46][47][48]

At 27, Mukherji was tapped to fill a vacancy as Deputy Mayor of Jersey City, New Jersey, the state's second largest city with a $500 million operating budget.[49][50] According to The Jersey Journal, while Deputy Mayor, Mukherji declined the $110,056 salary and a city-issued car, instead opting to earn one dollar per year due to "the austere economic climate."[30][49]

Mukherji was previously appointed by then-U.S. Senator Jon Corzine to his Military Academy Board in 2003.[30] In 2004, Governor Jim McGreevey appointed him to the Governor's Council on Volunteerism and Community Service.[27] He was also a Superior Court-appointed member of the Juvenile Conference Committee.[30]

Legislative career[edit]

In the Assembly, Mukherji has been a primary sponsor of dozens of bills that passed both houses and were signed into law, including:

  • Enacting a comprehensive, bipartisan overhaul of the state's outdated and ineffective bail system and expanding legal aid for low-income New Jerseyans;[51][52][53]
  • Combating the state's heroin, opiate, and prescription drug addiction epidemic by requiring physicians and pharmacists to access the state's Prescription Monitoring Program to prevent "doctor shopping;"[54]
  • Making New Jersey the first state in the United States to enact a ban on ivory commerce (in an effort to thwart profits for poachers and wildlife traffickers and to protect elephants and other endangered or threatened species), which effort garnered public support for Mukherji's ivory ban legislation by actress Meryl Streep and musician Billy Joel and inspired similar prohibitions in other states;[55][56][57][58][59][60]
  • Legislation expanding the state's Drug Court programs and creating a substance abuse recovery housing program at NJ's four-year public colleges and universities with on-campus housing in order to provide a supportive substance-free dormitory environment that recognizes the unique risks and challenges faced by recovering students, along with other legislation expanding access to mental health and substance abuse treatment and recovery services;[61][62][63][64]
  • Repealing prohibitions on sports betting in New Jersey to help Atlantic City's gaming industry rebound;[65][66]
  • "The Parkinson's Disease Public Awareness and Education Act," a first-in-the-nation law dedicating resources to create a public education and outreach campaign for Parkinson's disease diagnosis and treatment, inspiring a similar effort in Kansas;[67][68][69][70][71]
  • Combating bedbugs by requiring sanitation, protective, and labeling procedures in the sale of used mattresses and boxsprings;[72][73]
  • Legislation improving prison addiction recovery programs (allowing certain drug treatment programs to operate in state and county jails) to help break the cycle of recidivism;[74][75]
  • Creating criminal penalties for fatal hit-and-run boating accidents;[76][77][78][79]
  • Improving the state's higher education system, develop an advanced cyberinfrastructure plan, and initiate a Big Data consortium;[80] and
  • Securing state infrastructure investments for his home county of Hudson.[81][82]


Committee assignments for the current session are:[8]

  • Judiciary, Chair
  • Appropriations, Vice-Chair
  • Budget
  • Joint State Leasing and Space Utilization Committee

District 33[edit]

Each of the 40 districts in the New Jersey Legislature has one representative in the New Jersey Senate and two members in the New Jersey General Assembly.[83] The representatives from the 33rd District for the 2022—23 Legislative Session are:[84]


Mukherji became embroiled in controversy when he was tapped to be the new Chairman of the Jersey City Housing Authority.[40] Amidst his nomination, critics opposed the Housing Authority's plans to demolish and redevelop a six-tower 549-unit public housing project known as Montgomery Gardens.[85] Later, while under Mukherji's leadership, the agency came under fire for its strict "One-Strike" eviction policy, enabled by federal legislation enacted under President Clinton, allowing housing authorities to evict entire households where a resident is charged with a serious crime (without being convicted).[86][87] While defending the legislation, Mukherji convened public hearings prior to ordering an overhaul of the One-Strike policy, telling Jersey City Independent that the policy had "served as a deterrent and important tool to reduce drug-related and violent criminal activity in public housing (...but) certain revisions may be appropriate to ensure an equitable policy and eviction process... We want to be fair and equitable to criminal defendants, as the presumption of innocence must be sacrosanct, while being mindful that our foremost responsibility is to do all that we can to keep our tenants safe."[86][87]

As a teenager, Mukherji pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of possession of a fake identification in 2004 that was used for underage drinking.[88]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b “Mukherji Appointed Assembly Majority Whip in 218th Legislative Session.” Insider NJ, 01-12-2018.
  2. ^ a b c Political bio of Assemblyman Raj Mukherji.
  3. ^ a b LinkedIn profile of Raj Mukherji, Esq.
  4. ^ Fox, Joey (November 2, 2021). "Stack, Chaparro, Mukherji win in the 33rd district". New Jersey Globe.
  5. ^ "2021 General Election Results - 33rd Legislative District" (PDF). NJ Division of Elections.
  6. ^ Desai, Ronak D. "Why Indian Americans Were Among The Biggest Winners In U.S. State & Local Elections". Forbes. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  7. ^ a b Heinis, John (February 18, 2022). "Fulop, Stack, & Bhalla endorse Assemblyman Mukherji for state senate in LD-32". Hudson County View.
  8. ^ a b c d e Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, New Jersey Legislature. Accessed January 30, 2022.
  9. ^ a b “Press Release: Mukherji Appointed...” Assembly Democrats, 02-06-2014.
  10. ^ “Mukherji Appointed to Budget, Commerce, and Labor Panels.” Mile Square View, 02-06-2014.
  11. ^ Lim, Jeremiah. “Assemblyman Talks Business Development, Sick Leave.” The Alternative Press, 09-10-2014.
  12. ^ a b c “Why a Young New Jersey State Assemblyman Is Working to Protect One of the Earth’s Oldest Animals.” The Dodo, 06-02-2014.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j “Seton Hall Law at Work: Raj Mukherji and Michael Murphy” Alumni Features, Seton Hall University School of Law, retrieved 10-14-2014.
  14. ^ a b “Indian-American Political Star Rises in NJ.” Voices of NY, 11-12-2013.
  15. ^ a b “Indian-American Raj Mukherji Wins Local Body Polls in New Jersey.” Archived 2014-10-14 at archive.today Jan Darpan, 11-08-2013.
  16. ^ Kabita Sonowal. “The Rise of Indian-American Leaders in the American Political Scene.” USINPAC, 11-28-2013.
  17. ^ “Mukherji was most prolific N.J. lawmaker of 2016.” POLITICO, 12-30-2016.
  18. ^ “Democrat Mukherji was last session's most prolific legislator.” POLITICO, 01-31-2018.
  19. ^ Legislative Roster, New Jersey Legislature. Accessed March 4, 2022.
  20. ^ DP-1: Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data for General Assembly District 33. United States Census Bureau.
  21. ^ a b c Singh, Yoshita. “Want to see more Indian faces in US government: Raj Mukherji” rediff News, 11-27-2013.
  22. ^ “Indian-Americans enhance political footprints in US” Pravasi Herald, 11-10-2013.
  23. ^ Isherwood, Darryl. “Condolences to Raj Mukherji and family.” Politicker, 03-14-2013.
  24. ^ a b “Want to see more Indian faces in US government: Raj Mukherji” Deccan Herald, 11-27-2013.
  25. ^ a b Bishop, Brad. “Owner of Dean Oil site eager to break ground.” Archived 2014-10-22 at the Wayback Machine The Record Press, 02-11-2005.
  26. ^ a b c Quinn, William T. “A Teenage Entrepreneur Goes to War.” Business News NJ, 10-02-2001.
  27. ^ a b c “Devineni and Mukherji named on NJ advisory panels.” India Abroad, 08-06-2004.
  28. ^ a b Karsnak, Mike. At 20, he’s done it all: Lobbyist is college grad, Marine vet, and real estate whiz. Star-Ledger, 06-09-2005.
  29. ^ Bresswein, Kurt. “Route 22 toll bridge proposal honors Marine killed in Afghanistan.” The Express-Times, 06-23-2014.
  30. ^ a b c d e f g “Raj Mukherji named Deputy Mayor of Jersey City.” India Post, 03-08-2012.
  31. ^ “Notable Simon’s Rock Alumni.” Bard College at Simon's Rock, retrieved 10-14-2014.
  32. ^ “Newsmakers.” The Annandale Triangle, Bard College, November 2013.
  33. ^ "Raj Mukherji". IMDb. Retrieved February 22, 2022.
  34. ^ “Meet the Impressive Lineup of Speakers...” Elephants DC Blog, 09-18-2014.
  35. ^ a b Casselberry, Lauren. “Hudson County Chamber of Commerce's annual Legends Ball.” The Jersey Journal, 12-13-2011.
  36. ^ “Top 10 N.J. Lawyer-Lobbyists in 2010.” New Jersey Law Journal, 03-09-2011.
  37. ^ OpenSecrets.org: Donor Lookup of Raj Mukherji
  38. ^ OpenSecrets.org: Barack Obama Inauguration Donors – Top Donors Archived 2012-04-15 at the Wayback Machine
  39. ^ Video: “Obama’s Re-election Campaign Begins.” FOXNews.com, 04-05-2011.
  40. ^ a b Koepp, Paul. “Housing Authority replaces chair with young lobbyist. The Jersey Journal, 10-27-2008.
  41. ^ “HUD: Jersey City Housing Authority scores high rating on Section 8.” New Jersey Newsroom, 06-25-2009.
  42. ^ Hack, Charles. “Federal HUD secretary visits Jersey City to announce $9.7 million in scarce funding will help complete Duncan Avenue housing.” The Jersey Journal, 06/03/2010.
  43. ^ Whiten, Jon. “Jersey City Housing Authority Gets $2.1M in Federal Grant Money.” Jersey City Independent, 08-11-2010.
  44. ^ Smith, Shane. “Jersey City Housing Authority Gets $9.7M Federal Grant for Changes at A. Harry Moore.” Jersey City Independent, 06-02-2010.
  45. ^ Smith, Shane. “Jersey City Housing Authority Nabs $1.8M to Provide Rental Help to the Disabled.” Jersey City Independent, 10-05-2010.
  46. ^ Hunger, Matt. “Jersey City Housing Authority Set To Receive Grant From Department of Housing and Urban Development To Build Childhood Education Center.” Jersey City Independent, 02-06-2012.
  47. ^ Whiten, Jon. “Jersey City Public Housing Complexes to Receive $9M in Energy Efficiency Upgrades.” Jersey City Independent, 04-26-2011.
  48. ^ “HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan Visits Communities Impacted by Hurricane Sandy.” The White House, 11-16-2012.
  49. ^ a b McDonald, Terrence T. “Lobbyist and chair of the JCHA Raj Mukherji is quietly sworn in as deputy mayor.” The Jersey Journal, 03-05-2012.
  50. ^ JerseyCityNJ.gov: 2012 Municipal Budget (Introduced)
  51. ^ “Bail Overhaul Wins Passage in New Jersey.” Office of the Governor, 08-11-2014.
  52. ^ “New Jersey Assembly Judiciary Committee to Vote Thursday on Bill to Reform Costly and Ineffective Bail System.” Drug Policy Alliance, 06-11-2014.
  53. ^ “NJ Criminal Justice System Reform Bill Signed Into Law.” The Lakewood Scoop, 08-12-2014.
  54. ^ “Governor Christie Strengthens New Jersey’s Prescription Monitoring Program to Further Curb Prescription Drug Abuse.” Office of the Governor, 07-20-2015.
  55. ^ Samuel, Jen. “Opinion: N.J. bill banning domestic ivory, rhino horn sales deserves Gov. Christie's signature.” Times of Trenton, 06-28-2014.
  56. ^ Villanova, Patrick. “Meryl Streep encourages Christie to sign bill banning sale of ivory.” The Jersey Journal, 06-19-2014.
  57. ^ Hanna, Maddie. “N.J. outlaws ivory trafficking.” The Philadelphia Inquirer, 08-07-2014.
  58. ^ Byers, Michele S. “Byers: NJ first to ban ivory trade.” Hunterdon County Democrat, 08-28-2014.
  59. ^ Ingle, Bob. “NJ law will cut into profits of ivory poachers.” The Daily Journal, 08-08-2014.
  60. ^ “Governor Christie Signs Bipartisan Legislation To Crack Down On Black Market.” New Jersey Business, 08-05-2014.
  61. ^ “Pinkin & Mukherji Bill Requiring Recovery Housing Programs in Certain Colleges Signed into Law.” Assembly Democrats, 08-10-2015.
  62. ^ Zeitlinger, Ron. “Bills sponsored by Hudson County legislators signed into law.” The Jersey Journal, 02-05-2015.
  63. ^ “Governor Chris Christie Signs Bills To Expand Substance Abuse Recovery Efforts.” Office of the Governor, 08-10-2015.
  64. ^ Roberts, Kevin. “Governor Chris Christie Signs Bills To Expand Substance Abuse Recovery Efforts.” PolitickerNJ.com, 08-10-2015.
  65. ^ "Caputo, Mazzeo, Burzichelli & Mukherji Bill to Help Clear Way for Sports Betting in NJ Now Law." Assembly Democrats, 10-17-2014.
  66. ^ “Caputo, Mazzeo, Burzichelli & Mukherji Bill to Help Clear Way for Sports Betting in NJ Advanced by Assembly Committee.” Public Gaming Research Institute, 10-05-2014.
  67. ^ Celock, John. “Christie Signs First In Nation Parkinson's Bill.” The Celock Report, 12-23-2014.
  68. ^ Press Release: Parkinson Disease Public Awareness and Education Act (A-2576) signed into law in New Jersey. American Parkinson Disease Association, 12-16-2014.
  69. ^ “Mukherji, Quijano & Pinkin Bill to Promote Public Awareness and Education About Parkinson's Disease Continues to Advance.” Assembly Democrats, 09-15-2014.
  70. ^ Celock, John. “Lawmakers Advance Parkinson’s Bill.” The Celock Report, 09-15-2014.
  71. ^ “Mukherji, Quijano Parkinson’s Disease Legislation Advances.” News, Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, 05-08-2014.
  72. ^ Legislative Research: NJ A3217. LegiScan, retrieved 10-17-2015.
  73. ^ S2586/2587/A3217/3218 ScsSa (SCS/1R) Requires certain sanitary and protective procedures for used mattresses. New Jersey Legislature, retrieved 10-17-2015.
  74. ^ “Christie Signs Mukherji Legislation to Improve Prison Drug Treatment Programs, Break Cycle of Recidivism.” News, Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, 04-18-2014.
  75. ^ “Press Release: Governor Christie Continues Commitment To Providing... Office of the Governor, 04-17-2014.
  76. ^ “Mukherji & Mainor Bill to Increase Penalties for Fatal Hit-and-Run Boating Accidents Signed Into Law.” Assembly Democrats, 07-07-2014.
  77. ^ “Press Release: Gov. Christie Signs Legislation to Promote Safe Boating In New Jersey.” Office of the Governor, 07-03-2014.
  78. ^ Fernandes, Nicolas. “Bill increasing penalty for hit-and-run boaters becomes law in NJ.” The Jersey Journal, 07-21-2014.
  79. ^ “Assembly Approves Mukherji and Mainor Bill to Toughen State Boating Laws, Increase Penalties for Fatal Hit-and-Run Boating Accidents.” States News Service. Highbeam, 05-22-2014.
  80. ^ “A2218-Designates New Jersey Big Data Alliance as State's advanced cyberinfrastructure consortium.” TrackBill, 08-15-2014.
  81. ^ “Assembly Oks $22.5 million in loans for dam restoration projects.” The Jersey Journal, 09-16-2014.
  82. ^ Hayes, Melissa. “Christie signs bill allocating $22.5M for repairs to Passaic River dam, other projects.” The Record, 11-14-2014.
  83. ^ New Jersey State Constitution 1947 (Updated Through Amendments Adopted in November, 2020): Article IV, Section II, New Jersey Legislature. Accessed January 28, 2022.
  84. ^ Legislative Roster for District 33, New Jersey Legislature. Accessed January 11, 2022.
  85. ^ Martin, Antoinette. “End Nears for Unloved Housing.” The New York Times, 10-10-2008.
  86. ^ a b Whiten, Jon. “Housing Authority Holding Public Hearing on ‘One-Strike’ Eviction Rule Next Week.” Jersey City Independent, 08-05-2010.
  87. ^ a b “Housing Authority Holding Public Hearing on ‘One-Strike’ Rule Next Week.” The Huffington Post, 08-05-2010.
  88. ^ McDonald, Terrence T. “Jersey City’s newest deputy mayor...” The Jersey Journal, 03-14-2012.

External links[edit]

New Jersey General Assembly
Preceded by Member of the New Jersey General Assembly for the 33rd District
January 14, 2014 – present
With: Carmelo Garcia, Annette Chaparro
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by
Leona Beldini
Deputy Mayor of Jersey City, New Jersey
March 2, 2012 – June 30, 2013
Succeeded by
John Thieroff