Virginia Samaras Bauer (born 1956) is an advocate for families of the victims of the September 11 terror attacks and a government leader in New Jersey. She currently is a Commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. She is a former New Jersey Secretary of Commerce, Economic Growth and Tourism.
Her first husband, W. David Bauer, was a bond trader for Cantor Fitzgerald and was killed in the collapse of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Bauer, a mother of three, became an advocate for 9/11 families, working to secure tax relief and other benefits from the federal government. Her advocacy work brought her into contact with New Jersey political leaders. A graduate of Rosemont College in Rosemont, Pennsylvania, Bauer is the daughter of Peter J. and Virginia K. Samaras. Bauer remarried in October 2007; her husband is Donald A. Steckroth (b. 1947), a widower and a judge in the United States Bankruptcy Court. Raised in Middletown Township, New Jersey and Little Silver, she attended Red Bank Catholic High School. Bauer lived in Rumson, New Jersey before moving to Red Bank.
A former analyst for Merrill Lynch, Bauer was appointed New Jersey Lottery Director in 2003 by former Gov. James McGreevey. In the summer of 2004, McGreevey appointed her as Chief Executive Officer and Secretary of the New Jersey Commerce, Economic Growth and Tourism Commission, a position she retained in the cabinet of former Gov. Richard Codey. On January 16, 2006, Governor of New Jersey Jon Corzine announced his intention to retain Bauer in his cabinet. In March 2007, Corzine announced his nomination of Bauer to serve as a Commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a part-time position running the bi-state transportation agency, which owns the World Trade Center site. She is the first 9/11 widow from New Jersey to be appointed to the Port Authority Board.
After being appointed to the Port Authority Board, Bauer announced that she was stepping down as Commerce Secretary as part of a planned restructuring of state economic development agencies by Corzine. After leaving Commerce, it was announced that she was becoming head of government relations for a major real estate developer in New Jersey. There has been speculation in the media that Corzine was considering Bauer as a running mate for Lieutenant Governor in the 2009 election. However, earlier in the year she moved into a new position with Covenant House as Senior Vice President, Development.
- Virginia S. Bauer, New Jersey Next Stop. Accessed August 31, 2016. "Ginny grew up in Little Silver, Monmouth County as the eldest of five children. All through high school she had jobs, from babysitting at age 11 to afternoons and weekends as a cashier at the A&P in Little Silver. She graduated from Red Bank Catholic High School and Rosemont College before immediately landing a job with a Merrill Lynch training program."
- Staff. "SEPT. 11 ACTIVIST BAUER WEDS JUDGE", Red Bank Green, October 9, 2007. Accessed August 31, 2016. "The paper reports that Bauer, of Red Bank, wed U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Donald H. Steckroth in a ceremony held Saturday at Georgian Court College. Bauer, 51, grew up in Middletown and was a Rumson resident when her first husband, David Bauer, died in the terror attacks."
- Port Authority of NY & NJ - Board of Commissioners