Senate 2008 to present, Deputy Republican Leader 2022-present, Republican Whip 2017 to 2021
General Assembly 2001 to 2007, Appropriations Officer 2004 to 2007
Joe Pennacchio has served in the New Jersey Legislature as Senator for the 26th Legislative District since 2008. Prior to serving in the State Senate, Pennacchio served in the New Jersey General Assembly from 2000 to 2008. He currently serves on the Legislative Oversight and Senate Economic Growth committees.
Pennacchio has been on the forefront for Transparency in Government. His efforts helped bring a comprehensive, inclusive website to New Jersey. It shows taxpayers exactly how each and every dollar is being spent in a timely, user friendly easy to use website and ultimately a useful tool in cutting wasteful, questionable spending. He has sponsored legislation that would also bring transparency to all levels of government.
As an Assemblyman, Pennacchio secured 300 acres of the former Greystone tract for Morris County to be used in perpetuity for open space and recreation. As Senator, he successfully lobbied the Christie Administration to commit an additional 100 acres of the former Greystone tract for the same purpose in 2012.
Senator Pennacchio has been recognized as a "Taxpayer Champion" by the New Jersey Taxpayer Alliance, receiving a 100% score regarding ten bills that were vital to New Jersey's taxpayer communities. In the past, Americans for Prosperity has also given their coveted "A" rating to State Senator Joe Pennacchio for his efforts on behalf of New Jersey taxpayers. Pennacchio has been recognized as a Guardian of Small Business from 2008-2011 from the New Jersey Federation of Independent Business.
Senator Pennacchio served on the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders from 1998 to 2001, where he served as freeholder liaison to the county administration and finance offices, and was deputy liaison to the County's Department of Human Services. As Freeholder, Pennacchio started the Kids First program in Morris County, which highlights and addresses children's issues. The Senator helped to bolster the Morris County economy by establishing a $75 million economic growth fund for Morris County and worked to secure funding for the Master Plan for the Picatinny Technology Transfer Program.
Pennacchio has proven capable of working with administrations of both parties and legislators across the aisle to craft and pass important legislation. Much of this legislation was directed at improving the lives of New Jersey's children and protecting open space. Legislation was signed into law which gives the county surrogate the option to deposit minors' funds in any federally insured bank within the United States, allowing them to earn a higher rate of interest, and legislation establishing court awarded kinship legal guardianship status, making it easier for family members to become legal guardians of children, which has become a national model.
Senator Pennacchio is a former member of Governor DiFrancesco's New Jersey Economic Development Authority and the Montville Economic Development Council. He is also a founder and former member of the Montville Education Foundation. The Senator and his wife Diane live in Rockaway Township.