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Next N.J. Gov Has Insurance Background

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New Jersey’s next governor will come from the ranks of the insurance industry.

As state Senate president, N.J. State Sen. Richard Codey is expected to take over the top job in mid-November, if not sooner. Gov. James McGreevey, who revealed on Thursday he is gay and had engaged in an extramarital affair with a man, said he intends to resign in mid-November. The governor is married and has two children, one from a previous marriage.

Republican leaders in the state are asking him to step down immediately. If McGreevey resigns by early September, under state law a special election would be held this November, in which case Codey’s term in office could be short.

Codey is a Democrat who has represented the suburban Newark area for 22 years and is now majority leader. It would be his second stint as acting governor. Because the Senate was split evenly between Democrats and Republicans when Gov. Christine Todd Whitman resigned in 2001, he was one of a number of legislative leaders who took turns in the governor’s chair.

Codey is president of the Olympic Insurance Agency in West Orange, N.J. A representative of the agency says it sells both property-casualty and life insurance products.

Assemblyman Neil Cohen, D-Union, who chairs the Financial Services and Insurance Committee, says he does not think that Sen. Codey’s role as an insurance agent would affect his legislative outlook.

“Dick has always been pretty much balanced as a legislator in terms of insurance and consumer issues,” Cohen says. “In the health insurance area, he has been an advocate of making sure coverage exists for as many people as possible. It brings him experience and an intimate knowledge, which is always helpful.”


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