State Sen. Joseph Lagana (D-Paramus) continues to emerge as a North Jersey political leader with an old-school ability to stockpile friends from opposing factions in a state where politics is increasingly toxic.
Lagana was spotted at a restaurant in Ridgefield Park today having lunch with Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Chairman Kevin O’Toole and State Sen. Brian Stack, the mayor of Union City.
O’Toole and Stack have always been close, even though their individual political alliances have changed over the last year.
Senate President Steve Sweeney removed Stack from the Senate Judiciary Committee in December after he sided with Gov. Phil Murphy during the 2018 state budget battle and on legislative redistricting. Sweeney gave Stack’s seat to Lagana.
Lagana won a special election for the Senate in 2018 after Bob Gordon resigned to take a seat on the Board of Public Utilities.
Lou Stellato’s letter of resignation as Bergen County Democratic Chairman last month was given to Lagana to hold, since he was the only person trusted by both Stellato and Sweeney.
O’Toole, a Republican who left the Senate in 2017 after 22 years in the legislature, has emerged as an elder statesman of sorts with his tentacles all across New Jersey politics.