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Michelle Sobolewski, veteran legislative staffer, dies

Worked for Menendez, Kenny, Doria, Howard, Rothman & Pallone

By David Wildstein, April 08 2018 10:30 pm

Michelle Sobolewski, a veteran of New Jersey politics since the 1970’s years, passed away on April 4 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.  She was 62.

Friends say she was a fighter until the end.

Sobolewski started her career working for Atlantic County Executive Chuck Worthington in the 1970’s and was an aide to freshmen Democratic Assemblymen Bob Menendez and Bernie Kenny in 1987.  She was an aide to Joe Doria when he was Assembly Speaker and then Minority Leader.  She worked at the state Department of Community Affairs in the Kean administration.

In 1983, Sobolewski ran the successful State Senate campaign of Long Branch Councilman Frank Pallone, who unseated Republican incumbent Brian Kennedy.  She also worked for Rep. Jim Howard and Essex County Executive Peter Shapiro.  She managed Jeff Laurenti’s 1984 challenge to Rep. Chris Smith and Steve Rothman’s first campaign for Congress in 1996

In 1980, when Rep. Edward Patten retired, Sobolewski worked on George Spadoro’s campaign for the Democratic nomination for Congress in New Jersey’s 15th district.  Young staffers on that race included State Sen. Joseph Vitale and the late State Sen. Joseph Suliga.

She attended the University of Nebraska and worked for the Jewish Federation of Greater Metro West.  She is survived by her husband, Joseph P. Caracciolo.

Prayers will be said at 9 AM Monday at Bruce C. VanArsdale Funeral Home in Somerville, followed by a 10 AM mass at St. Bernard of Clairvaux RC Church in Bridgewater. Cremation will be private. Donations can be made to St. Bernard of Clairvaux RC Church.

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