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Mercer County Commissioner Pasquale "Pat Colavita. (Photo: Facebook.)

Pat Colavita, longtime Mercer County commissioner, dies at 77

Popular Democratic vote-getter served as mayor and school board member in Lawrence

By David Wildstein, September 21 2022 8:35 pm

Pasquale A. Colavita, Jr., a former Lawrence mayor who spent 18 years as a Mercer County Commissioner, died today.  He was 77.

“Pat Colavita was a great friend to so many and one of the hardest working public servants I’ve had the honor to know and to serve with,” said County Executive Brian Hughes in a statement announcement Colavita’s death.  “Pat was admired among his colleagues and will not only be remembered for his thoughtful leadership and commitment to strengthening our community, but for his wit and grace.

He began a five decade stint in public office in 1984 when he won a seat on the Lawrence Board of Education.

Colavita ran for the Lawrence Township Council in 1995 and his victory ended four years of Republican control.  Colavita was the top vote-getter, running more than 400 votes ahead of his running mates, Greg Puliti and Tom Wilfrid, and roughly 600 votes ahead of GOP incumbent Gretel Gatterdam.

He served as mayor from 1997 to 1999 and did not seek re-election to a second term.

In 2003, Colavita ran for Mercer County Freeholder on a slate with incumbents Ann Cannon and Liz Muoio and was the top vote-getter.  He replaced Hughes, who was elected county executive that year.  He finished about 9,000 votes ahead of Republican John Hulick.

Colavita was easily re-elected in 2006, 2009, 2012, 2015 and 2018.  He retired last year.

He worked as a speech and language pathologist for the Hamilton Township Board of Education.

“An educator at heart, Pat uplifted all people, especially our children, and I am certain that the honor he most cherished was the affection and respect he earned along the way,” Hughes said.

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