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Hurley, 91, Leaves Legacy in County and Statewide

Gov. Phil Murphy ordered that U.S. and New Jersey flags fly at half-staff at all state buildings and facilities on Wednesday, June 21, in recognition and remembrance of former Senate and Assembly Minority Leader Jim Hurley.

“It is with a heavy heart that we mourn Sen. Jim Hurley, an exemplary public servant who dedicated his career to bettering our state,” said Murphy. “Throughout his time in the Legislature, Sen. Hurley was known as a persistent advocate for veterans and first responders, cleaner oceans, and our communities. Sen. Hurley will be remembered for his lifetime of public service and leadership.”

The Honorable James R. Hurley passed away at the age of 91 on June 17. Hurley represented Cumberland County in the 1st Legislative District for more than 20 years, and devoted his life to community service. He is recognized for his dedicated work representing the people of his district and supporting education, law enforcement, mental health, business, and the environment in our local and regional communities.

Born in Seaford, DE, Hurley lived most of his life in Millville, where he dedicated his life to his political career, community service, family, church life, and a multitude of non-profit organization missions.

Hurley served in the U.S. Army from 1955 to 1957. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he went on to work in radio and television, taught English at Millville High School, and was vice president and director of public relations for Millville National Bank.

Hurley had an advertising and public relations firm, James R. Hurley Associates, but throughout the years dedicated much of his life to helping the community and his church. Hurley created the non-profit Affordable Homes of Millville Ecumenical (AHOME) to assist families with limited means in achieving home ownership. In addition, he served on the board of directors of the Millville Rescue Squad for more than 20 years, was the director of Millville United Fund, helped to raise money for the Millville Hospital and YMCA, and was a member of the board of trustees of The Guidance Center, a county mental health agency, since 2011. Hurley was honored by The Guidance Center as its Mental Health Distinguished Community Leader in 2020.

Jim Hurley began his political career in 1966 when he was elected to the Cumberland County Board of Chosen Freeholders (recently renamed Board of Commissioners) at age 34. He was elected to the New Jersey General Assembly in 1967 and served in that position from 1968 to 1982, both as Minority and Majority Leader. Hurley served in the New Jersey Senate from 1982 to 1990 and for a time as Senate Minority Leader.

He was appointed to the New Jersey Casino Control Commission in 1990, served through 2002, and was Chairman from 1998 to 2002.

A Republican and a staunch defender of South Jersey, he fought for reductions in ocean pollution, long-term funding of transportation and beach protection for the Jersey shore, and help for counties to deal with solid waste issues. He was instrumental in the extension of Route 55, building of Route 347, major Garden State Parkway improvements, and legislation establishing Urban Enterprise Zones. He had opposed the creation of the state income tax as an assemblyman and spent his career as a cautious budget watchdog.

Jim was a member and/or officer of numerous other community organizations throughout the years including Millville Kiwanis, the local YMCA, the Millville Chamber of Commerce, United Way, and Jaycees, among many others, and served on the Millville Industrial Commission.

Cumberland Democrats Pick New County Chair

By David Wildstein, NJ Globe, June 24, 2023

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Kevin P. McCann, a former prosecutor and New Jersey Bar Association president, is the new Cumberland County Democratic Chairman.

He succeeds Nancy Sungenis, who did not seek re-election after 65 years in Democratic politics.

McCann is taking over at a critical point for Cumberland County Democrats, who lost control of the Board of County Commissioners in 2022. Republicans now have a 4-3 majority in a county that has become dominant since Michael Testa, Jr. (R-Vineland), the GOP county chairman, was elected ousted a Democratic incumbent to win a State Senate seat in 2019.

All three Democratic seats are up this year, and two incumbents, Carol Musso and Donna Pearson, have opted not to seek re-election. The Democratic sheriff is seeking another term; there is an open seat race for surrogate, where Democrat Douglas Rainer is retiring.

Rick Dawson was re-elected vice chairman.

The 75-year-old McCann served as an assistant prosecutor in Cumberland County from 1976 to 1981, as Bridgeton city prosecutor from 1977 to 1979, and as the assistant Cumberland tax administrator since 1980. He led the state bar association from 2012 to 2013.

The lone incumbent county commissioner running this fall is John Capizola, Jr., who was picked by Democrats earlier this year after George Castellini resigned. He’s running with La Rea Smith, who runs social services for the United Methodist Communities in Ocean City, and Millville dentist Joeigh Perella.

Republicans are running former Freeholder James Sauro, banker Sandra Taylor, and Hopewell school board member Arthur Marchand, Jr. as their candidates for county commissioner. Sauro won a freeholder seat in 2014 but gave it up after three years to make an unsuccessful bid for the State Assembly in 2017. Taylor lost a race for freeholder in 2011, trailing Musso by 1,646 votes. Marchand’s father was a popular freeholder and surrogate who lost re-election in 2008 when Barack Obama carried Cumberland with 60 percent of the vote.

Five-term Sheriff Robert Austino will face a rematch with Republican Michael Donato, a retired Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office detective who lost by seven points in 2020.

In the race for surrogate, Democrats have pinned their hopes on Nick Acevedo, an attorney who headed the state Commerce Department’s Policy and Small Business office under Gov. James E. McGreevey. He faces Republican Rudolph “Skip” Luisi, a Vineland mortician who served as president of the Vineland Jaycees and founded the Italian American Benevolent Association and the North Italy Beneficial Association.