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Four Franklinites Make State ‘Power List’

Franklin Township is well-represented in the latest “power list” put out by a statewide political publication.

“Insider NJ,” which covers all things political in the Garden State but has a focus on the Statehouse, recently published its “Top 100 Policy Makers of 2019” list. Included in the list were four Franklinites: state Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet, Board of Education member Ed Potosnak, state PBA President Pat Colligan and Board of Public Utilities member and former Township Councilman and state Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula.

The list, Insider NJ Editor Max Pizzaro wrote, “assembles names listed not because they signify the broadest shoulders, biggest egos or loudest voices, but simply because of the rigorous quality of their public policy minds.”

Pizzaro wrote that the publication has “taken pains to select those individuals noted for the work they do outside elected office as they seek to expand the capacities of our collective policy square.”

Coming in at No. 64, Repollet “worked his way up through the system to become Commissioner of Education in the Murphy Administration, and inevitably found himself on the receiving end of South Jersey’s resistance to (Gov. Phil) Murphy’s free community college proposal and school funding policy,” the magazine noted.

Repollet said in an emailed statement that needs of the state’s students are his priority.

“Throughout my career, and here at the Department of Education, we strive to place the focus of every conversation, first and foremost, on the needs of the students,” he wrote. “This approach is consistent with the Governor’s priorities for a stronger and fairer New Jersey, which means ensuring that all children are able to reach their potential.”

At No. 69, Potosnak was included for his work with the non-profit he heads, The League of Conservation Voters.

“! am very proud to be recognized on this list of the top 100 NJ Policy Makers,” Potosnak wrote. “I came to New Jersey LCV seven short years ago with just $20,000 in the bank and mission to improve New Jersey’s environment for all, and we have grown to a budget over $1.8 million annually.”

“This year marks the first year we accomplished all three of our legislative priorities — 50 percent Renewable Energy in the next 11 years, Stormwater Utilities, and Open Space preservation funding,” he wrote. “We are adding more priorities for the remaining six months of the session. I appreciate all the great staff, volunteers, and Board at New Jersey LCV for helping make this happen.”

Colligan, a Franklin native and detective in the Franklin Township Police Department, was ranked No. 79 on the list, and was called by Insider NJ an “in-the-trenches trained expert on public pensions and benefits.”

Colligan said he took over as president of the union representing the state’s police officers at a time when the previous president had, for various reasons, “pulled away from the politicians.”

“But there’s a point where they’re not going anywhere, and you have to get back involved, and you can either be on the menu or have a seat at the table,” he said.

“I decided to get back involved and reestablish the relationships we had with the Assembly and the Senate and with other entities, and obviously with being on the list now, it’s paid dividends,” Colligan said.

Chivukula, ranked No. 91 on the list, “combines a rare knowledge base on issues relating to science and technology,” according to the magazine.

“It’s always an honor to be recognized for work being done,” Chivukula said in a statement. “But the most important thing is moving New Jersey forward.”

“This can only be done with innovative, out-of-the-box thinking and the courage to progress from the norm,” he said in the statement. “This must be encouraged by everyone considered to be a ‘top’ policymaker.”



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