Veteran Assemblyman Pete Biondi (R-16) died tonight.
Mr. Biondi suffered from cancer and perservered in the face of his illness, winning re-election on Tuesday night.
"I am deeply saddened by the terrible news of Peter Biondi's passing," said Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-34). "Assemblyman Biondi was a great example of what it means to be a public servant. He always made helping others and good public policy his priority. He carried himself with dignity and integrity. He was a friend to all of New Jersey. On behalf of the New Jersey General Assembly, I express my prayers and condolences to Assemblyman Biondi's family, and my gratitude for his great public service. He will be sorely missed."
Born in Newark, the assemblyman settled in Hillsborough and kept his well-trafficked office in downtown Somerville.
A throwback who enjoyed nurturing friendships on both sides of the aisle, Mr. Biondi was respected by his peers as a savvy politician.
"Rhonda and I extend our deepest condolences to the Biondi family," said state Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R-21). "Pete was an effective legislator and a warm, gregarious man who reminded us all not to let our political differences stand in the way of working together for the people of New Jersey. He will be missed by all of us in the State House."
The former mayor of Hillsborough presided over the 1990s construction of the township's impressive municipal building.
A great storyteller, vigorous conversationalist and horse lover, Mr. Biondi recalled how as a young man he used to take extended rides in Hunterdon County.
The proud Italian-American was a good-natured center of attention in Somerville taverns for the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.
An assemblyman since 1998, Mr. Biondi served as Republican Conference Leader through 2008 and as the Assembly's Assistant Republican Leader from 2002-2003.
"It is hard to imagine serving the people of the 16th District without Peter Biondi by my side," said state Sen. Christopher "Kip" Bateman (R-16). "Pete was more than a great legislator, he was a good friend. He always put service to our constituents ahead of politics and partisanship, and constantly reminded us that legislators could disagree in the State House while maintaining respect for one another. His presence will be sorely missed in all of our lives, and my thoughts and prayers go out to the Biondi family."
Mr. Biondi is survived by his wife Joan, their children Peter and Jennifer, and two grandchildren: Jason and Matthew.
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