Sen. Barbara Buono
New Jersey state senator representing the 18th Legislative District; Democratic nominee for Governor of New Jersey
Barbara Buono was born in Newark, N.J., and grew up in Nutley. Her father, an Italian immigrant, worked as a butcher, and her mother worked in an office and as a substitute teacher. She graduated from Montclair State College in 1975 with a B.A. in political science, and from Rutgers Law School in 1979 with a J.D.
After law school, Buono served as a judicial law clerk and as a public defender for the New Jersey State Department of the Public Advocate. She later entered private practice.
In 1992 Buono won a seat on the Metuchen Council, where she stabilized tax rates without lowering the quality or availability of local services. As the Metuchen Police Commissioner, she worked to increase safety in suburban neighborhoods by instituting a community policing program and actively recruited more women and minorities to the force.
Buono was the first female Senate Majority Leader in New Jersey. As chair of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, she was a consensus-builder during the state’s challenging fiscal times. As budget chair, she decreased New Jersey’s overall budget, cutting $4.5 billion while increasing funds for schools and health care.
She currently is a member of the Health, Human Services & Senior Citizens Committee and the State Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee and is Vice-Chair of the Legislative Oversight Committee. While Chair of the Legislative Oversight Committee, Buono led hearings on transparency at the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, as well as the investigation into the Christie administration’s bungling of the Race to the Top application, which cost students $400 million in federal education funding.
Buono’s commitment to engaging the next generation yielded her Young Women’s Leadership Program, a seminar introducing high school students to the political process.
Senator Buono remains focused on strengthening New Jersey’s middle class and looking out for our families. She’s working to create jobs, protect workers and improve our schools. Buono consistently fights for New Jersey’s environment, standing against attempts to diminish regulations that would threaten our land, air and water.
First elected to the Senate in 2001, Buono is proud to represent the 18th Legislative District, which includes East Brunswick, Edison, Helmetta, Metuchen, South Plainfield, South River and Highland Park. Buono previously served in the General Assembly for seven years, where she became the ranking Democrat on the Budget Committee