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John F. Russo (July 11, 1933 – August 12, 2017) was an American Democratic Party politician from New Jersey, who served in the New Jersey Senate and was Senate President.

John F. Russo
President of the New Jersey Senate
In office
January 14, 1986 – January 9, 1990
Preceded byCarmen A. Orechio
Succeeded byJohn A. Lynch Jr.
Member of the
New Jersey Senate
In office
January 8, 1974 – January 14, 1992
Preceded byDistrict created
Succeeded byAndrew R. Ciesla
Constituency9th district (1974–82)
10th district (1982–92)
Personal details
Born(1933-07-11)July 11, 1933
Asbury Park, New Jersey
DiedAugust 12, 2017(2017-08-12) (aged 84)
Political partyDemocratic
ResidenceToms River, New Jersey
Alma materUniversity of Notre Dame
Columbia University

Russo was born in Asbury Park and was a resident of Toms River. He was a 1955 graduate of the University of Notre Dame and received a law degree from Columbia Law School in 1958. He served for nine years as an assistant prosecutor in Ocean County, and was first elected to the State Senate in 1973.[1]

In the Senate, Russo served on the Joint Committee on Appropriations and a Special Sub-Committee on Tax Reform and was the chair of the Committee on Energy, Agriculture and Environment and the Senate Judiciary Committee. In 1982, he wrote a bill reinstating capital punishment in New Jersey.[2] Russo served as Senate President from 1986 to 1990.[3]

Russo ran for the Democratic Party nomination for Governor of New Jersey in 1985, placing second behind nominee Peter Shapiro, who was in turn soundly defeated by Thomas Kean in the general election.[1]

Following his retirement from the Senate, Russo was a partner at the Princeton Public Affairs Group.[3] In 2007, while a bill was proposed that would abolish capital punishment in the state, he sat on the Death Penalty Study Commission and testified against passage of the bill. Russo died on August 12, 2017 of esophageal cancer at the age of 84.[2]


  1. ^ a b Sullivan, Joseph F. "IN NEW JERSEY, AN EARLY ENTRY FOR GOVERNOR", The New York Times, June 16, 1987. Accessed April 25, 2008.
  2. ^ a b Napoliello, Alex (August 13, 2017). "John F. Russo, former senate president, dies at 83 [sic]". NJ Advance Media for Retrieved August 13, 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Our Members". Princeton Public Affairs Group. Archived from the original on February 27, 2011. Retrieved August 13, 2017. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
Political offices
Preceded by
Carmen A. Orechio
President of the New Jersey Senate
Succeeded by
John A. Lynch, Jr.
New Jersey Senate
Preceded by
Brian T. Kennedy
Member of the New Jersey Senate
from the 10th district

Succeeded by
Andrew R. Ciesla
Preceded by
District created
Member of the New Jersey Senate
from the 9th district

Succeeded by
Leonard T. Connors