Dear Friends and Clients:
We continue to mourn the loss of our colleague and dear friend Joe, thank you so much for all the kind words and heartwarming stories you have shared with us.
Many of you have asked about arrangements, please find the link below for his obituary – the arrangements are listed here as well.
Calling hours will be held on Wednesday, March 22, from 2 to 4 pm and from 6 to 8 pm at the Van Horn-McDonough Funeral Home, 21 York Street, Lambertville, NJ 08530.
The memorial mass will be offered on Thursday, March 23, 2023 at 11 am at Saint Martin of Tours Catholic Church, 1 Riverstone Circle, New Hope, PA 18938. Committal services will follow at the parish cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations in the memory of Joseph A. Simonetta may be made to the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, 195 Little Albany St., New Brunswick, NJ 08901 or to the Bucks County Playhouse, 12 West Mechanic St., Suite 2A, New Hope, PA 18938.
Thank you again for the outpouring of support.
Roger A. Bodman, Managing Partner
With a heavy heart, it saddens us to inform you that Joseph A. Simonetta, CAE has passed away.
We have not just lost our colleague, but we’ve lost a trusted partner, a mentor, and a dear friend. Joe has been a partner at PSI for over 30 years. Though he fought recent health issues with bravery and positivity, we are saddened to have lost him so suddenly.
Joseph Simonetta, who joined the firm in 1991, has worked in political advocacy and association management for nearly 40 years, starting with his first role as campaign chairman for the Mayor of Phillipsburg in 1973 and Chair of volunteers for Congresswoman Helen Meyner in 1974. A member of the Democratic Party, he served as legislative director, followed by chief of staff, at the Mayor’s office in Trenton and legislative liaison for Assemblyman Francis J. “Franny” McManimon and Assemblywoman Helen Szabo.
Widely considered an expert in public policy and legislation, Joe was an accomplished lobbyist having earned the respect of his peers and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Additionally, Joe was a pioneer in bringing his association management skills into the contract lobbying firm setting when he joined PSI.
Joe’s management skills were often recognized beyond the borders of NJ. Joe was asked to serve in various leadership roles regionally and nationally on behalf of organizations like the National Society of Professional Engineers and the American Institute of Architects, including having been honored among his peers as the Association Executive of the Year. Joe earned the designation of Certified Association Executive (CAE), the highest certification in the association management field. He held a bachelor’s degree in business and political science from Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
In addition to his work at PSI, Joe was a passionate advocate on social reform issues, an avid golfer and member of Trenton Country Club, a world traveler, a wine aficionado, a boat captain, and a lover of the arts. Joe will always be remembered for his desire to make the world a better place for everyone, and for the way he would light up the room at any event the minute he walked in the door.
“In a very real sense, Joe was a larger-than-life figure. For me, our PSI colleagues, and our many trusted clients, it is a devastating loss. I simply have no words to express how shocked and saddened I am.” PSI Managing Partner, Roger Bodman said.
The passing of Joe is a huge loss that will be felt broadly across family, friends, clients, and everyone that knew him. We offer our special prayers and condolences to Joe’s loving husband, Kevin. Memorial arrangements will be provided once available.
Our deepest regrets,
The PSI Family
Welcome to InsiderNJ’s 4th Annual OUT 100 Power List, a tribute to politically influential LGBTQs in NJ Politics. [Read More]
Congratulations to #53 – Senior Partner Joe Simonetta!
Congratulations to PSI Strategic Partner Brendan Gill on being named one of NJ ROI’s 2021 influencers!
You may know PSI as a top lobbying firm in Trenton, but do you know anything about the people who make up our team? We asked each of our partners and associates to answer some fun questions, so you can get to know them better. Check it out below:
Hometown: Bernardsville, N.J.
Fun-Fact: Appointed in 1982 by Governor Thomas Kean, I was the youngest New Jersey Department of Labor Commissioner at age 29
Awards: “Good Guy” Award, Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey; PolitickerNJ Power List; NJBIZ Power List; Eagle Award, New Jersey Alliance for Action
Education: Ohio University, cum laude
Favorite Food: Cheeseburgers
Hobbies: Golf, boating, and restoring old vehicles
Hometown: Teaneck, but currently living in Manasquan, N.J.
Fun-Fact: During college, I had my first full-time campaign job as field organizer for Massachusetts Governor Mike Dukakis’s 1988 Presidential National Campaign. I covered six states, starting in the early primary of New Hampshire and ending on Election Day in Ohio.
Awards: PolitickerNJ Power List since its inception; appointed by two governors to the Brookdale Community College Board of Trustees and the New Jersey Building Authority
Education: Clark University, bachelor’s degree in government; Villanova University, master’s degree in political science
Favorite Food: Clifton’s famous Rut’s Hut’s “Ripper” Hot Dog
Hobbies: Politics, cooking, drinking coffee, traveling, swimming, and playing Skee Ball with my daughter
Hometown: New Hope, Pa.
Fun-Fact: I was the youngest Executive Director of the New Jersey Conference of Mayors at age 26
Awards: Association Executive of the Year, 1991 New Jersey Society of Association Executive
Education: Mount Saint Mary’s College, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelors of Science
Favorite Food: Pasta of any kind
Hobbies: Golf, boating, travel, and cooking
Hometown: Trenton, currently living in Newtown, Pa.
Fun-Fact: When I was 13 years old, I scored 51 points in a basketball game. I also enjoy playing golf and had two hole-in-ones.
Education: Trenton State College, bachelor’s degree in political science/public administration
Favorite Food: Most food items that begin with the letter “P”, such as pizza, pasta, and polenta
Hobbies: Golf, attending car shows, watching college football, and vacationing with the family
Hometown: Union, N.J.
Fun-Fact: I worked for the first elected County Executive in Essex County. During that time, I met my husband who was working for Senator Bill Bradley.
Awards: Dean A. Gallo Award for Distinguished Legislative Leadership, Hemophilia Association of New Jersey; New Jersey Women’s Power List; Vlunter Services Award, D.A.R.E New Jersey
Education: Douglass College, Rutgers University, magna cum laude
Favorite Food: Eggplant parmigiana
Hobbies: Reading anytime anywhere, but especially on the beach!
Hometown: Robbinsville, N.J.
Fun-Fact: I am an Eagles season ticket holder
Awards: Distinguished Service Award, New Jersey Society of Municipal Engineers; Golden Sneaker Award, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
Education: Rutgers University, MBA in finance; Rutgers University, bachelor’s degree in political science; Eagleton Institute of Politics, Associate
Favorite Food: Steak and potatoes
Hobbies: Coaching youth sports, golf, and Golden Dome softball league
Hometown: Sea Girt, N.J.
Fun-Fact: I served as a member of the Rules Committee at the Democratic National Convention
Interests: Serving on the Advisory Board of the New Jersey New Leaders Council and as Chairman of the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority
Education: Rutgers University, Bachelor of Science; Rutgers University, master’s degree in labor and employment relations
Favorite Food: Chocolate chip cookies
Hobbies: Spending time with my family and jogging at the Jersey Shore
Hometown: Syracuse, N.Y.
Fun-Fact: I love Hilton Head Island in South Carolina
Awards: Governor’s Proclamation for Excellence in Government, Governor’s Award for Management Improvement, Ellis Island Preservation Commission Award
Education: LeMoyne College, bachelor’s degree in labor relations; United States Air Force Electronics School
Favorite Food: Chocolate chip cookies
Hobbies: Travel, golf, and the gym
Hometown: Voorhees, N.J.
Fun Fact: My father, H. Donald Stewart, was elected to the New Jersey Assembly from 1972 to 1982. He represented the third legislative district of Cumberland, Salem, and Gloucester Counties.
Awards: Father of the Year, presented by my three children Emily, Ryan, and Alexandra
Education: Villanova University
Favorite Food: Cheesesteaks
Hobbies: Going to sporting events with my family and summers at the Jersey Shore
Do you have anything in common with any of our partners or associates? Let us know. Want to learn more about each of our team members? Check out our team page. If you’re interested in learning more about how we’ve become a top lobbying firm in Trenton, check out this page.
In New Jersey, businesses across a wide variety of industries use lobbying services every year with the goal of influencing legislation, regulation, and the enforcement of government decisions. With vast connections, lobbyists have the ability to influence key decision-makers and push agenda forward on behalf of the business they’re working for. Each year, more and more money is being spent on lobbying services. See the top five industries that need lobbying in New Jersey:
The pharmaceutical and health products industry includes drug manufacturers and sellers of medical products and nutritional and dietary supplements. The main goals of this industry are to resist government-run health care and encourage a faster approval process for drugs and medical products.
This includes health, property, and car insurance companies as well as agents and brokers. In recent years, health insurance companies have become increasingly involved in the legislative process, hoping to influence new regulations.
Since Governor Phil Murphy was elected, the push for medical marijuana expansion and the legalization of recreational marijuana has become a hot topic. In fact, over the last year lobbying on the subject has increased by more than 300 percent. Over a million dollars was spent on lobbying efforts in 2018 with projections to see even more in 2019.
This includes small businesses, pro-business and international trade associations, and chambers of commerce. Business associations are mostly concerned about labor regulations, intellectual property, product safety and taxes, and civil justice system reform.
Energy companies make up a large chunk of the overall lobbying spending. They are mainly focused on promoting legislators with pro-energy ideas in fossil fuel production and commodity exploration and extraction.
Lobbying serves an important purpose in influencing decisions and allowing many voices to be heard that may otherwise be overlooked. Public Strategies Impact in Trenton, New Jersey offers lobbying services that can help your business. As government relations experts, Public Strategies Impact consistently achieves positive results for clients.
In the face of a crisis, is your organization prepared to deal with the issue before it grows? In this age of technology, it’s impossible to bury a scandal. The best thing to do in a bad situation is to have a solid crisis management plan to fall back on.
A crisis management plan is simply a document that outlines the processes an organization will use to respond to a critical situation that would negatively affect its reputation, ability to operate, or profitability. Creating a new document or optimizing a previous plan is beneficial for every organization. There are a few key pieces to a crisis management plan that organizations should have in order to be successful in handling a crisis or media nightmare.
Get your team together to brainstorm any potential issues that could cause a stir. Write down all of these ideas and create steps to take for each scenario. Perhaps a small change in your procedures could prevent a crisis.
When a crisis occurs, tensions and nerves are running high. Instead of panicking and assigning roles on a whim, preset roles ahead of time. This will allow those assigned people to prepare themselves completely for any situation. Common roles to assign:
In the heat of the moment, a detailed section of your plan with resources your employees can easily refer to will be extremely beneficial. These resources can be anything that is helpful to your business. For example, timelines, log in credentials, and specific processes.
Frantically searching for contact information in a time of need is not a good look for an organization. Having a thorough list of contacts in your plan will erase the stress of finding the correct contact in a timely manner. At a minimum, your contacts should include:
Communication is key in the midst of a crisis. Keeping your team, employees, and stakeholders in the loop is extremely important to prevent loss of revenue and reputation. The difficult part of communicating is getting that material approved quickly. You should have strategies in place beforehand, so creating communications materials is simple and can go through the process of getting approved as fast as possible.
During a crisis, your team should not be wondering what the next step is going to be. From your scenario brainstorming session, create checklists for everything. It’s impossible to predict the future, so make these checklists as flexible as possible to ensure you’re hitting every possible point. Each task in a checklist should be assigned to a person so they know exactly what they must do.
Putting out the fire before it grows is the goal of a detailed crisis management plan. You may not think your organization is vulnerable to crises, but if it were to happen one day it is best to be prepared. Need help creating a plan? Public Strategies Impact offers crisis management services to develop a crisis plan and train your team for the media. We can also be the correspondent on your behalf. Find out more about PSI’s crisis management services here.
As a firm who has been around for more than 30 years, we have gained team members from a wide-range of industries, backgrounds, and areas of government. That is why we are lucky to be able to say PSI specializes in so many different areas. Even though most of our partners specialize in more than one industry, here are their top areas of expertise:
While Managing Partner Roger Bodman is an expert in many different areas, transportation is his specialty. He served as the chairman of New Jersey Transit and the State Commissioner of Transportation under former Governor Tom Kean, meaning he was the chief advisor to the governor on all transportation matters in the state.
With a career spanning more than 25 years, Senior Partner Bill Maer has developed expertise in the areas of law and justice, gaming, and pharmaceuticals. He is chief spokesperson for the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office and served on Governor Phil Murphy’s 2018 Law and Justice Transition Team.
Joseph Simonetta has many decades of experience in association management and political advocacy. He served as chair of the Advocacy Committee of the American Institute of Architects IgCC Task Force and currently chairs the Advocacy Subcommittee, creating strategy for the AIA’s state and local chapters. He also specializes in healthcare, professional services, arts, hospitality, and tourism.
PSI Partner Joe DeSanctis has more than 25 years advocating for a diverse client base, but his specialties lie in energy, environment, utilities, and local government outreach. He has experience siting natural gas pipelines and other energy-related projects throughout the state and acquiring state and local permits in a timely manner.
A member of our team for more than 25 years, Tracie DeSarno specializes in healthcare, banking, entertainment, and telecommunications. She has represented clients in these industries and beyond on major legislative initiatives and served on Governor Phil Murphy’s 2018 Healthcare Transition Committee.
In addition to serving as an executive in our association management division, Matt Halpin specializes in finance, real estate, energy, and more. Having previously worked with the NJ Chamber, he is well-versed in broad-based issues, including economic development, international trade, and corporate taxation. Matt also serves corporate clients in managing the public affairs components of projects.
Josh Hodes, partner, is an expert in education, energy, entertainment, sports, and redevelopment. He was appointed to the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority, where he currently serves as chair, and serves as an advisory board member to the New Leaders Council of New Jersey.
With over 30 years of service in the public sector, Ed Mount has extensive experience and expertise in IT, procurement, and state government purchasing. He was on the New Jersey Information Resources Management Commission, the Office of Information Technology Governing Board, and the New Jersey Information Technology Leadership team.
PSI Associate Patrick Stewart worked for the Assembly Republican Majority office staffing assembly committees, including the budget, consumer affairs, regulated professions, and labor committees. He has developed an expertise in regulated professions, healthcare, association management, and insurance and labor.
For a more complete overview of each of our team members, including their experiences and PSI specialties, please visit our team page.
By the end of the month, New Jersey could become the 11th state in the nation to legalize marijuana for recreational use among adults. Legislators just approved a bill that could result in the development of a cannabis industry estimated to generate close to a billion dollars. With the last voting session fast approaching before a three-month break, both New Jersey lobbyists and citizen’s alike are wondering if the bill will gain the votes it needs to officially pass.
Unfortunately, the bill has drawn a lot of controversy. Both supporters and opponents lined up to testify on behalf of the bill, but were met with a six-hour delay, causing many to leave before they could be heard. After the delay, only 25 minutes of testimony was heard and the measure was passed both through the Assembly and Senate Judiciary Committee.
The next four days will be crucial for New Jersey lobbyists and bill backers, including Governor Phil Murphy, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, and Senate President Stephen Sweeney, to cobble together enough votes to successfully pass the bill. With many lawmakers stating they are still on the fence about the issue, the fate of the bill is far from certain. Along with the bill are two others that are designed to expand the state’s current medical marijuana program as well as the expunging of records for offenders convicted of marijuana charges.
Lawmakers are creating what they believe will be the gold standard of cannabis policy. It will also mark them as the first state to actually organize the reform through the legislature instead of using a ballot initiative. What is also impressive is the fact that this has occurred in less than two years. Just short of 10 years ago, they had a governor who was staunchly anti-cannabis. The bill was designed to not only address patients and adult recreational users but also concerns related to stock-holders, local government, and community needs.
Do you own a company trying to break into the possible billion dollar industry in the State of New Jersey? PSI can help. For more than 30 years, PSI has represented the interests of their clients before both the executive and legislative branches of state government. Use their experience and know-how to help successfully advocate your business’s position before those who are responsible for making it happen.