Joe Pennacchio was elected to represent the 26th District from the New Jersey State Senate in 2007 and was re-elected in 2011. Pennacchio has been assigned to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, as well as the Senate Transportation Committee. Prior to serving in the State Senate, Joe Pennacchio served in the New Jersey General Assembly from 2001 to 2008 and on the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders from 1998 to 2001.
In the Senate, Pennacchio was a prime sponsor of the historic Pension and Health Care Reform Act of 2011. He has been on the forefront of Transparency in Government, where his efforts helped to bring a comprehensive, inclusive website to New Jersey. Taxpayers can see how each and every dollar is being spent in a timely, user friendly manner on an easy to use website; a useful tool in cutting wasteful, questionable spending. His pending legislation would also bring transparency to all levels of government.
Senator Pennacchio has been recognized as a “Taxpayer Champion” by the New Jersey Taxpayer Alliance receiving a perfect score regarding ten bills that were vital to New Jersey’s taxpayer communities. Pennacchio has also been recognized as a Guardian of Small Business from the New Jersey Federation of Independent Business.
As Assemblyman, Pennacchio secured 300 acres of the former Greystone tract for Morris County to be used in perpetuity for open space and recreation. In 2012, he successfully lobbied the Christie Administration to commit an additional 100 acres of the former Greystone tract for the same purpose.
Senator Pennacchio was elected to the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders from 1998 to 2001, where he served as freeholder liaison to the county administration and finance offices, and was deputy liaison to the county’s Department of Human Services. As Freeholder, Pennacchio created the Morris County Distinguished Service Medal Program to commemorate all eligible residents who have served in war conflicts. To date, more than 10,000 deserving veterans have been recognized for their service. Pennacchio also started the Kids First program in Morris County, which highlights and addresses children’s issues. The Senator helped to bolster the Morris County economy by establishing a $75 million economic growth fund for Morris County and worked to secure funding for the Master Plan for the Picatinny Technology Transfer Program.
During his initial tenure in Trenton he worked closely with both the Legislature and Administration in crafting and passing legislation. Much of this legislation was directed at protecting taxpayers, securing open space and improving the lives of New Jersey’s children. Legislation was signed into law which gives the county surrogate the option to deposit minors’ funds in any federally insured bank within the United States, allowing them to earn a higher rate of interest. Legislation was also signed into law establishing court awarded kinship legal guardianship status, making it easier for family members to become legal guardians of children, which has become a national model.
Senator Pennacchio is a former member of Governor DiFrancesco’s New Jersey Economic Development Authority and the Montville Economic Development Council. He is also a founder and former member of the Montville Education Foundation. The Senator and his wife Diane live in Rockaway Township.