Kari Osmond has been named as the new chief of staff to Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Ewing.
She’ll replace James Gee, who is moving on to a private sector opportunity after nearly seven years as Watson Coleman’s top aide.
“Kari has played an integral role in every one of our office’s successes,” Watson Coleman said. “Her passion and her hard work have been significant factors in our ability to accomplish much of our legislative agenda and her institutional knowledge and deeply rooted relationships will be critical in our ongoing efforts to best serve all of our district’s constituents.”
Osmond is a longtime Watson Coleman staffer who has served as deputy chief of staff and district director.
Before joining Watson Coleman ‘s staff in 2015, Osmond was chief of staff to then-Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Trenton). She ran the re-election campaigns of State Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Lawrence), Gusciora and Watson Coleman in the 15th legislative district in 2011 and 2013 and was Watson Coleman’s deputy campaign manager in the 2014 House race.
“I am proud to have been a part of all Representative Watson Coleman has accomplished for the 12th congressional district, and for the country, since first being elected to represent New Jersey in Congress in 2015,” Osmond said. “One of the many admirable things the Congresswoman has done throughout her career in public service is organically create a strong and loyal extended family consisting of staffers, volunteers and constituents. That can only happen when people believe in who they are working for and what they are trying to accomplish.”
Gee is not yet announced his next destination.
Watson Coleman said that Gee “has been a significant part of my family for more years than I would dare count.”
“That will certainly never change,” she said. “While he has made the decision to transition into the private sector, James will remain an important adviser for us as we move forward in the coming months and years, looking towards 2022.”
He served as Gee was Gov. James E. McGreevey’s deputy chief of staff, political director of Jon Corzine’s 2005 gubernatorial campaign, and chief of staff to Watson Coleman when she was Assembly Majority Leader. Gee was the regional political director for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign and associate executive director of the Assembly Majority staff from 2006 to 2010.
Gee called working for Watson Coleman a great honor.
“I’ve known her and her family since I was a child and I’m proud to say I was able to work with my friend and mentor in helping her become the first African American woman to ever represent New Jersey in Congress,” he said. “Bonnie has always been first in line to do what’s right and tell the truth regardless of political consequences and I’m especially proud of the legacy we built in these short seven years in the House of Representatives.”
While congressional districts remain uncertain until the new map is drawn, Watson Coleman is well-positioned to win a fifth term in 2022.
She was re-elected last year with 66% of the vote against Republican Mark Razzoli, an Old Bridge councilman. In the 2020 Democratic primary, she defeated shadowy perennial candidate Lisa McCormick with 89%.
Osmond strongly praised her boss – and her predecessor.
“Bonnie Watson Coleman has never rested on achievement and has never been impressed with making history. The Congresswoman has always pushed forward and taken on the tough fights, and that has greatly improved many lives. It is my great honor to continue forward with her,” stated Osmond. “I will always be grateful for my continued friendship and working partnership with James, as he is an integral and important part of this team.”