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The New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

New chiefs of staffs named for five legislators

By David Wildstein, January 25 2022 1:49 pm

Two lawmakers named new chiefs of staff on Tuesday, with Leigh Maris joining State Sen. Sam Thompson (R-Old Bridge) and Christian Duffy taking in the top slot in the office of Assembly Majority Conference Leader Annette Quijano (D-Elizabeth).

Last week, the new Republican legislators from the 8th district — State Sen. Jean Stanfield (R-Westampton) and Assemblymen Michael Torrissi (R-Hammonton) and Brandon Umba (R-Medford) – named Brian Woods as their chief of staff.

Maris replaces Sue Tisiker, a fabled Middlesex GOP leader who died earlier this month.  She had been Thompson’s chief of staff for about 20 years.

Before joining Thompson’s staff, Maris had been chief of staff to two Republican legislators from Monmouth County, Assemblywoman Amy Handlin (R-Middletown) and Assemblyman Steve Corodemus (R-Atlantic Highlands).   She had been chief of staff to the Monmouth County Sheriff when Kim Guadagno held the post.

“Sue Tisiker was a dear friend, and she ran our district office operations well for many years,” said Thompson (R-12). “While I’m deeply saddened by Sue’s passing, I’m extremely thankful that someone as capable and experienced as Leigh will join us to help maintain the superior services that Sue was known for by our constituents.”

Duffy was the Hudson County regional political director for NJ Forward campaign, the 2021 New Jersey Democratic coordinated campaign.  He managed Ravi Bhalla’s 2017 campaign for mayor of Hoboken and was the deputy field director for Jim Johnson’s bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination against Phil Murphy in 2017.  Duffy has worked on campaigns in Alaska, Nevada, Ohio, Wisconsin and Newark.

“With a long background in politics and government, Christian has the experience and skillset necessary to get pivotal legislation over the finish line and his experience in social work will ensure that our office meets the needs of our communities,” Quijano stated.  “I look forward to having him join me in delivering results for the people of Elizabeth, Hillside, Union and Roselle.”

Woods, a Shamong Township Committeeman and former Burlington County Times reporter, had served as chief of staff to Stanfield and Ryan Peters (R-Hainesport) in the State Assembly.

“While I think Mr. Woods is an incredibly bright, young political mind, his best attribute during our four years together was his community-based approach to local politics,” Peters said.  “Together, we were able to institute a culture focused on service days and helping our most vulnerable people directly in their neighborhoods.”

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