Lesniak is a
partner in the law firm
Weiner Lesniak in Parsippany. He is the vice
chairman of the board of First BankAmericano, a
community bank headquartered in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He is also the
founder of a non-profit group called Democrats for the Soul. Mr.
Lesniak is the founder and chairman of the Union/Middlesex County
Hazardous Materials Advisory Council (HMAC), which was established in 1981
to provide a vehicle for state, county and local governmental officials
to work with industry and residents to minimize risks in the community
and rapidly and effectively respond to hazardous discharges. HMAC is the
designated organization to conduct yearly SARA drills for emergency-response personnel. It also provides training programs and seminars for
emergency-response personnel throughout the year.
Mr. Lesniak is a
1971 graduate of Rutgers University,
where he received an A.B. degree in Economics. He graduated St. John's
University School of Law with honors in 1974, receiving his Juris Doctorate
degree. He was admitted to the New Jersey Bar in 1974 and served
as staff attorney and interim director of the Office of Poverty and the
Law, Department of Community Affairs.
Elected to the New Jersey General Assembly in 1977,
Mr. Lesniak served five and one-half years. In his last Assembly term, he was
chairman of the Agriculture
& Environment Committee. He was elected to the
Senate in a special election in 1983 for a half-year term and
elected to a full term beginning January 1984; he has been re-elected
six times. He served as chairman of the
Labor, Industry & Professions Committee from 1988 to 1991 and as a member of
the Senate Education Committee from 1990 to 1991. He currently serves as
chairman of the Senate Economic Growth Committee and a member of the Senate
Commerce Committee, Senate Judiciary Committee and the Joint Committee on Public
Schools; he is co-chairman of the Task
Force on Higher Education and the Economy.
and Organizations: Mr. Lesniak served as a member of the New
Jersey Symphony Orchestra's board of trustees and co-chairman of the Union County Alliance.
He serves as a member of the Board of Overseers for
the John C. Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations at
Seton Hall University. He was the New Jersey State Democratic chairman
from 1992 to 1993,
and the New Jersey campaign chairman for Clinton/Gore in 1996 and
Gore/Lieberman in 2000.
Mr. Lesniak is a member of the
Polish Legion of American Veterans, Post 91 and the Freedom Club of
In 1982, he was named "Citizen of the Year" by the Polish
American World, and in 1991, he was named "Man of the Year" by the
Jewish National Fund. He was named "Man of the Year" in
1999 by the American Cancer Society, Union County.
In 2002, Mr. Lesniak was named "Humanitarian of the Year" by
Community Access Unlimited for his legislative efforts on behalf of
people with disabilities and for providing support to working poor
families and the homeless.
In 2003 he was awarded "Legislator of the Year" by the Medical Society
of New Jersey for working to make healthcare more affordable and
accessible, expanding the PAAD low-cost prescription drug program to
cover more seniors and expanding cancer and diabetes research and
education. He also received the Phillip M. Scanlan
Environmental Award for his contributions to improving the environment,
awarded by Quality New Jersey.
He was the grand marshal of the Pulaski Day Parade in
New York City in 2004.
a. Homeland Security - Mr. Lesniak sponsored the New Jersey Domestic
Preparedness Act, passed into law in October 2001, creating the Domestic Security Preparedness Task Force to coordinate and
enhance New Jersey’s domestic security procedures.
Transportation Improvements and Construction - Mr. Lesniak championed the re-authorization of the New Jersey
Transportation Trust Fund by sponsoring legislation to that effect.
c. Education - Legislation Mr. Lesniak sponsored gave the
commissioner of education greater authority to monitor and intervene in school districts.
d. The Environment - Mr. Lesniak is the sponsor of the New Jersey Spill Compensation Act,
the first fund in the nation to clean up hazardous waste sites, the $100
million Hazardous Discharge Bond Act; the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Environmental Cleanup Responsibility Act (ECRA)
Jersey's criminal laws regarding the collection, transportation and
disposal of hazardous waste.