Meet Democrat Jim Devine

James J. Devine is a masterful Democratic Party campaign strategist, a crusading journalist and an accomplished leader with extensive experience managing large organizations.

Over the past 35 years, Devine accumulated experience in every facet of politics (running campaigns for local school board, city council and mayor to state legislature, governor, congress and the presidency) and government (as a top level legislative staff member and manager of a federal agency with 1,150 employees under his command).

At the center of political activity in New Jersey since 1980, Devine served as a principal counselor, expert tactician or campaign manager to federal candidates, state legislators, county executives and mayors, among others. As the Democratic State Committee Political Director in 1992-93, Devine authored the coordinated campaign plan that helped Bill Clinton become the first Democratic presidential candidate to win New Jersey since 1964. Devine's leadership in that position is credited with reversing the party's unprecedented losses suffered in 1990 and 1991, making Democrats at all levels competitive once again in New Jersey.

Carteret Mayor Dan Reiman and former Rahway Mayor Jim Kennedy relied on Devine as their chief political consultant for many years. Devine managed the upset victory of Wilda Diaz, a political neophyte who toppled an 18-year incumbent Perth Amboy Mayor in 2008. In 2009, Devine helped Joe Menza overcome the entrenched machine of the county political boss in her own hometown to become Hillside Mayor.

In 2010, Devine marshaled the Democrats for Change campaign that elected Linden Council President Jimmy Moore, after successfully upsetting the regular organization candidate in a hotly contested Democratic primary. Devine's strategy gave South Amboy Mayor Fred Henry the edge in his razor thin victory in 2011. In 2012, Devine managed the campaign for every successful Rahway City Council Democratic candidate in both the primary and general elections.

Devine earned accolades for effective leadership in government and business.
Devine commanded more than one thousand federal employees operating throughout four New Jersey counties while he was employed as a manager with the U.S. Department of Commerce, from 1989 through 1990.


In addition to his decade of experience publishing a chain of weekly newspapers, including the News Record, the Patriot, the Perth Amboy Gazette, the Atom Tabloid, the South Amboy-Sayreville Citizen, Devine was publisher of several monthly special interest magazines, including New Jersey Wreck Diver and Kid Zone, During that period, he served two years as secretary of the Rahway Chamber of Commerce.

Devine started his career in journalism as a reporter for WKNJ FM Radio, the Elizabeth Daily Journal, and the Bridgewater Courier News (a Gannett newspaper) and as managing editor of the Kean College Independent, a student-run campus weekly newspaper. He is a currently a contributing editor and consultant to New Jersey's oldest weekly newspaper and its website, WWW.NJTODAY.NET.

Outspoken and daring in defense of American principles, Devine has exhibited dedication and courage.
His sincere commitment to ecology and preserving our natural resources is reflected in having worked for the New Jersey Environmental Federation (NJEF), the state chapter of Clean Water Action, as a fundraiser and community organizer; becoming one of the first New Jerseyans to earn Scouting's World Conservation Award; and having established the Neighborhood Organization Against Pollution while he was a fifth-grader in 1971.

Believing in American strength and responsibility, Devine vociferously opposed the Republican Bush administration's illegal and unwise invasion of Iraq in 2002, even after critics burned him in effigy. In addition to being elected six times as a member of the Union County Democratic Committee, Devine served as a council coordinator with, member of the Sierra Club, ACLU, NOW (National Organization for Women), AARP and NAACP, president of the Elizabeth Democratic Association and chairman of the Coalition for Quality Education.

Devine never retreated from ethics and honesty, even as his reputation suffered unfairly and he paid a steep price for refusing to become one of those people of integrity who get worn down by a corrupt political system.
Throughout his life, Devine maintained vast moral courage, often paying a high personal price for showing unequaled bravery by taking principled stands against fierce adversaries and standing up to his friends when he believed them to be wrong. The qualities his critics may never acknowledge have been documented from his earliest days in politics right through to the current time; by some of the very friends he suffered for opposing.

An ardent believer in lifelong learning, Devine studied Political Science, Journalism and Mass Communications at Kean University. He has been accredited by the New Jersey Press Association and as a member of the Academy of Political Science, as well as numerous other professional and civic associations.

Over the years, Devine has been employed by seven Democratic state lawmakers as a legislative aide or chief of staff. In those capacities, he developed New Jersey's first laws banning computer crime, led oversight investigations into the parole system and environmental law enforcement, helped enact appropriations enabling better education for children and requiring criminal background checks for foster parents.

Devine sought to replace the archaic property tax system with revenue programs that are more fair and to ensure that there was always adequate funding for education needed by children, medical and other programs necessary for senior citizens, plus coordination among such services as drug rehabilitation and job counseling. He advocates expanded Social Security benefits and a lower retirement age, funded by eliminating the cap on taxes paid by the richest Americans and applying Social Security taxes to unearned income. Devine also supports amendments to President Obama's health reform law that would allow every American to enroll in Medicare and he has campaigned for laws to increase the minimum wage.

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez appears at the unveiling of a major solar energy project in this 2006 photo with James J. Devine, who today is among the only public figures in Rahway calling on global pharmaceutical giant Merck to come clean on its plans for employment, renew its century old commitment to the city and pay its fair share of taxes.

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