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Former Orange Mayor Joel Shain

County chair law partner to head Somerset transition team

Joel Shain is a former Orange mayor who once challenged Dick Codey in a primary

By David Wildstein, November 22 2019 5:27 pm

Joel Shain, the law partner of Somerset County Democratic Chair Peg Schaffer, will head the transition team as Democrats prepare to control county government for the first time since 1965.

Shain was first elected mayor of Orange in 1970, at age 28.  He tried to unseat Essex County Democratic Chairman Harry Lerner in 1973 but lost.

In 1983, Shain challenged incumbent Richard Codey in the Democratic State Senate primary.  Codey annihilated him, 63%-19% in a five candidate primary despite being outspend by a 3-1 margin.

The 78-year-old Shain is now a Democratic State Committeeman from Bernardsville.

Former Green Brook Mayor Melonie Marano ousted Republican incumbent Pat Walsh on November 5, giving Democrats a 3-2 majority on the Somerset County Board of Freeholders.

The transition team has a strong Union County presence.

Union County Manager Ed Oatman will assist Shain with the transition team.

Bibi Taylor, the Union County Finance Director, will head the Finance and Budget team, and Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr will lead the Transportation and Infrastructure transition committee.

Heading other transition team committees are: Democratic State Committeeman Mike Goldberg (Appointments); Somerset County Democratic Vice Chair Zenon Christodoulou (Business/Economic Development); former North Plainfield Councilman Nathan Rudy (Communications); Franklin Township Democratic Municipal Chairman Ron Jordan (Governance); 2017 State Senate candidate Laurie Poppe (Human Services); Paul Swanicke (Legal); former Montgomery Mayor Brad Fay (Parks and Public Space); and New Jersey State PBA President Patrick Colligan (Public Safety).

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