Open main menu

Patrick J. Diegnan

Patrick J. Diegnan Jr. (born March 19, 1949) is an American Democratic Party politician, who represents the 18th Legislative District in the New Jersey Senate having done so since 2016.

Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr.
Member of the New Jersey Senate
from the 18th Legislative District
Assumed office
May 9, 2016
Preceded byPeter J. Barnes III
Member of the New Jersey General Assembly from the 18th Legislative District
In office
January 8, 2002 – May 9, 2016
Preceded byBarbara Buono
Succeeded byRobert Karabinchak
Personal details
Born (1949-03-19) March 19, 1949 (age 69)
South Plainfield, New Jersey
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Anita Carchia Diegnan (m. 1976)
ResidenceSouth Plainfield, New Jersey
Alma materSeton Hall University (B.A.)
Seton Hall University School of Law (J.D.)
WebsiteLegislative web page


Early life and familyEdit

The youngest of seven children born to immigrants from Ireland, Diegnan was born and raised in South Plainfield, New Jersey, attending Sacred Heart Grammar School and then graduating from South Plainfield High School in 1966.[1][2] Residents of South Plainfield, Diegnan and his wife Anita have been married since 1976 and have two children, Heather and Tara, along with a grandchild.[3][4][5]

Diegnan received a B.A. from Seton Hall University in Political Science / Government in 1970 and was awarded a J.D. from the Seton Hall University School of Law in 1973.[3][5] Currently, Diegnan is an attorney in private practice in South Plainfield and is a member of the New Jersey and Middlesex County Bar Associations since 1974. He is also a former instructor of law and accounting at Middlesex County College.[3] Diegnan is currently the borough attorney for Spotswood and formerly served as borough attorney for South Plainfield and Milltown.[5][6][7][8]

Legislative careerEdit

Diegnan was first elected to represent the 18th District in 2001 replacing Barbara Buono who had been elected to the New Jersey Senate. He was re-elected to seven more two-year terms.

Diegnan served in the Assembly as Deputy Speaker (2008-2016) and Parliamentarian (2005-2016), and was Chairman of the Education Committee and a member of the Regulated Professions and Consumer Affairs Committees.[9]

Diegnan was selected by local Democratic committee members to receive appointment to the 18th District's Senate seat on May 5, 2016, after previous seat holder Peter J. Barnes III was appointed to a judgeship on the New Jersey Superior Court.[10] Sworn into office on May 9, Diegnan won election to the remainder of the term in November, defeating retired judge and former Middlesex County Freeholder Roger W. Daley.[11][12]

Legislative accomplishmentsEdit

Diegnan was the primary sponsor of Assembly Bill 3331, introduced in 2003, which creates the certification of Technology Education for teachers.[13]

In 2011, he was the primary sponsor of Assembly Bill 3852, which requires voter approval at the annual school election or by the board of school estimate before a new charter school can be authorized to operate in a district.[14] Under the existing system, the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education can grant charters regardless of community opinion, with Diegnan noting that allowing voters and local boards of education a say in the granting of new schools would "help ensure that the charter schools that are created fit the needs of the community". The bill passed in the Assembly in June 2011 by a 47-17 margin.[15]

Diegnan was the primary sponsor of legislation requiring school districts to develop policies to address the issue of concussions in student athletes. Assembly Bill 2743, signed into law on December 7, 2010, requires development of interscholastic athletic head injury safety training program; requires certain measures to protect student athletes with concussions; and requires continuing education for athletic trainers.[16] According to State Senator Richard Codey, one of the sponsors of the Senate version of the bill, his efforts led to the creation of, "The most comprehensive bill on concussions in the country, by far."[17]

District 18Edit

Each of the forty districts in the New Jersey Legislature has one representative in the New Jersey Senate and two members in the New Jersey General Assembly. The other representatives from the 18th District for the 2016-2017 Legislative Session are:[18]


  1. ^ "Meet the Leaders - Assemblyman Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr.", TAP into South Plainfield, August 9, 2014. Accessed November 19, 2017. "I was born and raised in South Plainfield. My mother and father were immigrants from Ireland and raised seven children (I am the youngest). I graduated from Sacred Heart Grammar School and South Plainfield High School."
  2. ^ Assembly Member Patrick J. Diegnan Jr., Project Vote Smart. Accessed August 12, 2007.
  3. ^ a b c Biography[permanent dead link], Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan. Accessed July 12, 2011.
  4. ^ "Assemblyman Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr. Bio Page". NJ Assembly Majority Office. Archived from the original on 2015-09-23. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c Manual of the Legislature of New Jersey - Two Hundred and Eleventh Legislature (First Session) (PDF). Skinder-Strauss Associates. 2004. p. 270. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
  6. ^ "Borough Directory". Borough of Spotswood. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
  7. ^ Kaltwasser, Jared (December 5, 2008). "South Plainfield Republicans planning to file malpractice suit against ex-borough attorney". Courier News. Retrieved September 5, 2015. (Subscription required (help)). Diegnan was borough attorney for 25 years before retiring that post in 2007. He also is a Democratic state assemblyman...
  8. ^ Smith, Jessica (January 10, 2008). "New-look Boro Council vows to bring integrity". The Sentinel. Archived from the original on September 20, 2015. Retrieved September 5, 2015. He replaces state Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan (D-18), who served as borough attorney for several years.
  9. ^ Assemblyman Diegnan's legislative web page, New Jersey Legislature. Accessed July 12, 2011.
  10. ^ Makin, Cheryl (May 9, 2016). "Patrick J. Diegnan Jr. sworn in as NJ state Senator". Retrieved December 29, 2016.
  11. ^ Tyrrell, Joe (November 3, 2016). "OLD HANDS SEEK TO KEEP GRIP ON 18TH AND 29TH DISTRICTS". NJSpotlight. Retrieved December 29, 2016.
  12. ^ "Official List, Candidates for State Senate for GENERAL ELECTION 11/08/2016 Election" (PDF). Secretary of State of New Jersey. Retrieved December 29, 2016.
  13. ^ 210th Legislature Assembly Bill 3331, New Jersey Legislature, introduced February 13, 2003. Accessed April 22, 2008.
  14. ^ 214th Legislature Assembly Bill 3852, New Jersey Legislature, introduced February 22, 2011. Accessed July 12, 2011.
  15. ^ Calefati, Jessica. "New N.J. bills could halt growth of charter schools in suburbs, expand in unwelcome areas", The Star-Ledger, June 29, 2011. Accessed July 11, 2011. "One bill (A3852), sponsored by Education Committee Chairman Patrick Diegnan (D-Middlesex), would require voter approval before charters could open in unwelcoming communities. It was approved, 47-17, with 14 abstentions.... 'Community support is crucial in strengthening the establishment of charter schools,' Diegnan said. 'Local input will help ensure that the charter schools that are created fit the needs of the community, thereby strengthening the entire public education system.' Taxpayers currently have no say over where charter schools are located and opposition to their growth in high performing suburban districts has been mounting in recent months because the state Department of Education is reviewing applications to open new charters."
  16. ^ Bill A2743, New Jersey Legislature. Accessed July 12, 2011.
  17. ^ Friedman, Jackie. "Gov. Christie signs legislation creating concussion awareness and prevention program", The Star-Ledger, December 8, 2010. Accessed July 12, 2011.
  18. ^ Legislative Roster 2016-2017 Session, New Jersey Legislature. Accessed November 19, 2017.

External linksEdit