- Stanley, a two-term East Brunswick councilman, was elected to the Assembly seat vacated by Nancy Pinkin in a special election in January.
New Jersey Assemblyman Sterley Stanley has won his re-election to the 18th legislative district. He defeated South Plainfield Councilwoman Melanie Mott, while his slate-mates, Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak and State Sen. Patrick Diegnan respectively beat realtor Angela Fam and firefighter Vihal Patel. In addition to East Brunswick and Edison, District 18 includes Helmetta, Highland Park, Metuchen, South Plainfield and South River – all Middlesex municipalities.
This January, Stanley, 54, a two-term East Brunswick councilman, won a special election for the 18th District Assembly seat, vacated by Nancy Pinkin, who resigned after she was elected Middlesex County clerk. In that race, the Indian American defeated fellow Democrat, Edison Councilman Joe Coyle, by a 189-136 margin, according to the Middlesex County Democratic Organization, and became the first South Asian to represent Middlesex County in the New Jersey Legislature.
“I am honored to serve the residents of the 18th District and eager to roll up my sleeves to address the needs of our wonderful, diverse district and state,” Stanley said in a statement after the January special election. “The events of the past year have shown us the danger of divisive forces, but they have also shown us the strength and necessity of collaboration. Truly listening to one another will allow us to better understand the issues and each other and to develop and implement nuanced, detailed solutions that reflect every community’s situation.” Adding that the issues confronting us “are not simple,” Stanley said he “deeply” believes that “they are not insurmountable if we understand their complexity and commit to respecting the perspectives that our fellow community members and leaders bring to the table.”
He will fill the remainder of Pinkin’s Assembly term, which expires in January 2022.
Stanley served as a member of the East Brunswick Town Council from 2017 to 2021. On the council, the father of three advocated for fiscal responsibility, economic redevelopment and community-building programs. He was re-elected to his East Brunswick Council seat by 5,137 votes in 2020 against Republican Suzanne Blum He served as Council President in 2019 and 2020. During his time as councilman, the council and mayor’s administration “stabilized East Brunswick taxes without a reduction in services; re-established the East Brunswick Regional Chamber of Commerce; strengthened community relations with law enforcement; maintained a strong relationship with the public school district; and focused on delivering ratables through redevelopment.”
The Bangalore-born Stanley was raised in Brooklyn, New York, where he graduated from Xaverian High School in 1984. He later relocated to East Brunswick.
Before entering politics, he worked as an insurance broker and a financial services representative for Mass Mutual New Jersey. He was also a sales representative for MetLife.
He has been actively involved in the Middlesex County community, previously serving as a trustee of the Lighthouse Christian Fellowship Church in East Brunswick and as president of the Fox Meadow Condominium Association.
Stanley joins veteran Assemblyman Raj Mukherji from District 33 and the newly-elected Shama Haider from District 37. Mukherji, 37, the Majority Whip of the New Jersey General Assembly, won his re-election bid by defeating Republican Marcos Marte. Mukherji was first elected to the state Legislature in 2013. He is a former deputy mayor of Jersey City and former Sergeant in the Marine Corps Reserve. In the private sector, he is a lawyer and healthcare investor and was previously an information technology CEO.
In the Assembly, he sits on the Budget Committee, responsible for crafting the state budget (approximately $33 billion in FY 2015), as well as the Commerce and Economic Development and Labor Committees.
Mukherji had founded an Internet consulting and software development company while in middle school, grew it, and later sold it to a larger technology company to enlist in the Marines two weeks after 9/11 at age 17, where he served in military intelligence as a reservist. The young entrepreneur withdrew from high school after completing ninth grade to focus on his business endeavors and support himself after his parents were forced to move to India. At 15, he enrolled in an early college program at Bard College at Simon’s Rock and eventually earned a bachelor’s degree from Thomas Edison State University, an individualized Master of Liberal Arts focused on national security from the University of Pennsylvania, and a law degree (Juris Doctor), cum laude, from Seton Hall Law School, which he attended on a Chancellor’s Scholarship.
At 19, Raj was a founder and Managing Partner of a public affairs firm that he grew into the state’s third-largest lawyer-lobbying firm while learning the inner workings of the State House and becoming fascinated by the policymaking process. He was also commissioner and chairman of the Jersey City Housing Authority, the youngest in city history.