State Senator and former New Jersey Governor Richard J. Codey has announced he will be retiring from politics at the end of his term in January. He is the longest-serving lawmaker in New Jersey, having served for 50 years.
“I’m not gonna lie, this is a tough day for me. An emotional day,” Sen. Codey said during his announcement.
Codey served as the 53rd governor of New Jersey from 2004 to 2006. He has served in the New Jersey Senate since 1982 and as the President of the Senate from 2002 to 2010. Codey grew up in his family’s funeral home in Orange, but left the funeral trade to try his hand in politics in 1973 when he was first elected to the State Assembly.
To the residents and taxpayers of New Jersey, he is described as a “a selfless servant of the people.” A New York Times profile once called him “a dealmaker who gets along well with his colleagues … preferring back-room negotiations to mission statements or grand gestures.’’
Codey was expected to run for a 14th Senate term in November, after beating Sen. Nia Gill. Codey said now is the “time to step aside and watch the next generation do their thing.”
He says he is most proud of some of the work he did to establish a Task Force on Mental Health, and legislation he signed that required GPS tracking for sex offenders and additional laws aimed at cracking down on internet predators.
“From mental health and addiction services to bans on indoor smoking and championing our toughest-in-the-nation gun laws. I’ve fought for who and what I believe in, even when it wasn’t easy,” he said.
The former Governor insists his departure is not health-related, making a joke, “Now, listen, before you get any ideas, no, I am not dying … but if you or someone you know is, please call Codey Funeral Home in Caldwell or Codey & Mackey in Boonton.”
He added, “I’ve been your Assemblyman, your Senator and your Governor. Now, it’s time to trade all those trips to Trenton for more time as a husband, father and grandpa. I’ll still be running my businesses — an insurance agency and those funeral homes — but I’m ready for something different.”