On Tuesday, Nov. 2, voters across New Jersey will head to the polls to cast ballots for their ballots to fill all 80 seats in the state Assembly and 40 seats in the state Senate.
The 38th Legislative District is made up of 13 municipalities in Bergen and Passaic counties: Bergenfield, Fair Lawn, Glen Rock, Hasbrouck Heights, Hawthorne, Lodi, Maywood, New Milford, Oradell, Paramus, River Edge, Rochelle Park and Saddle Brook.
In recent years, the district of 166,000 registered voters has grown more solidly blue, with 38% identifying as Democrat and 22% as Republican.
The 38th’s three Democratic incumbents—State Sen. Joseph Lagana, Assemblywoman Lisa Swain and Assemblyman Christopher Tully—are all seeking re-election. Republicans have put forward Richard Garcia for state Senate and Alfonso Mastrofilipo Jr. and Gerard “Jerry” Taylor for Assembly.
Here is a rundown of who is running for a seat in the State Legislature in the 38th District.
Democrat: Joseph Lagana (Incumbent)
Bio: Lagana assumed office in 2018, replacing State Sen. Bob Gordon, who stepped down after being appointed to the New Jersey Public Utilities Board. Prior to that, Lagana served in the Assembly from 2013 to 2018. He also held the position of council president on the Paramus Borough Council from 2012 to 2013.
North-JerseyNews.com Fact: He served as a clerk to Superior Court Judge John A. Conte before joining Chasan Leyner & Lamparello, a law firm in Secaucus as a partner.
Republican: Richard Garcia
Bio: After growing up in Garfield, Garcia now resides in Saddle Brook and works as chief executive officer of the Newark Board of Education Employees Credit Union. During his 30+ year career, Garcia has held a variety of executive level positions in the banking and credit union industries. Garcia had an unsuccessful bid for a seat on the Saddle Brook Township Council in 2020.
North-JerseyNews.com Fact: Garcia said he is running because “we need oversight back to Trenton — a lopsided, one-party government cannot provide that.” If elected, Garcia said he will “put small business and our workers before any special interests or lobbyists and put all state residents over political parties.”
Democrat: Lisa Swain (Incumbent)
Bio: Swain took office in 2018, after Timothy Eustace resigned to take a job with the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission. Before being an Assemblywoman, she served on the Fair Lawn Borough Council for 11 years, including two terms as mayor.
North-JerseyNews.com Fact: Swain, a triathlete, has served on committees such as environment and solid waste, law and public safety and tourism, gaming and arts during her time in Trenton.
Democrat: Christopher P. Tully (Incumbent)
Bio: A Bergenfield native, Tully has been an assemblyman since 2019, when State Sen. Joseph Lagana resigned to become a state Senator. During his term, Tully has served on committees for aging and senior services, environment and solid waste and health. Prior to his legislative career, Tully served eight years on the Bergenfield Borough Council, including two as council president.
North-JerseyNews.com Fact: In January 2020, Tully was named borough administrator in Dumont. He was previously a personnel administrator for the County of Bergen and as a district director for U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-5).
Republican: Alfonso Mastrofilipo Jr.
Bio: Mastrofilipo, a lifelong Lodi resident, has owned several business ventures, including foodservice, catering and vending companies, and equipment rentals. He is now involved with consulting and flipping distressed businesses in the hospitality industry. His background also includes three years on the Lodi Board of Education.
North-JerseyNews.com Fact: Mastrofilipo creates and produces “Lodi Live,” a Facebook broadcast that offers coverage of municipal government, public events and local sports.
Republican: Gerard “Jerry” Taylor
Bio: A Saddle Brook native, Taylor’s experience includes eight years as a township school board member and three years as recreation director. He has worked at FedEx for nearly 40 years and is a real estate agent.
North-JerseyNews.com Fact: Taylor previously ran for office in 2012, when he sought a seat on the township council.