Louis Barbato, a respected Elizabeth political insider and community leader, passed away on January 13. He was 86.
Barbato began his career as a music promoter, working for Joey Dee & The Starlighters. He later moved on to local politics in Union County as the longtime campaign manager for Tom Dunn. Dunn was the Mayor of Elizabeth from 1965 to 1993, and also served a State Senator, Assemblyman and Freeholder.
Former State Sen. Raymond Lesniak, who ran against Dunn for mayor in 1980, said Barbato was a “good guy who was able to make friends with everyone despite being Tom Dunn’s go to guy in Elizabeth.”
Barbato served as Elizabeth Director of Recreation, and later played a key role in the redevelopment of the city’s waterfront. He was also known as Dunn’s “Snow Czar,” since he was responsible for making sure the city’s roads were plowed in extreme weather emergencies.