About Jersey Joe
NJ's District 26 Senator
Senator Pennacchio was elected to represent the 26th District from the New Jersey State Senate on January 8, 2008 and was re-elected in 2011, 2013, 2017 and 2021. Prior to serving in the State Senate, he was elected to the New Jersey State Assembly from 2000 to 2008 and on the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders from 1998 to 2001.
In the State Senate, Pennacchio has been assigned to the Senate Economic Growth Committee and the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee. Senator Pennacchio is a former member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, the Senate Transportation Committee, as well as the Senate Military and Veterans' Affairs Committee. Pennacchio has been named to the Senate Republican Leadership Team as the Deputy Senate Republican Leader.
Senator Pennacchio has been on the forefront of Transparency in Government with his efforts to bring a comprehensive, inclusive website to New Jersey. Taxpayers would be able to see how each and every dollar is being spent in a timely, user-friendly manner on an easy to use website; a useful tool in cutting wasteful, questionable spending. His pending legislation would also bring transparency to all levels of government. Currently, Pennacchio is fighting to protect our children by addressing bullying in our schools, working to create a New Jersey Innocence Study and Review Commission and on the forefront of fusion technology in the Garden State. Previously, Pennacchio secured 600 acres of the former Greystone tract for Morris County to be used in perpetuity for open space and recreation. The Senator has been an outspoken advocate for his lake communities, both Greenwood Lake and Lake Hopatcong and his office has also been very engaged in infrastructure projects located in his Essex County communities.
During his initial tenure in Trenton he worked closely with both the Legislature and Administration in crafting and passing legislation. Much of this legislation was directed at protecting taxpayers and improving the lives of New Jersey’s children. Legislation was signed into law 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, as well as legislation now law that protects orphans and their investments.
Senator Pennacchio was elected to 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 created the Morris County Distinguished Service Medal Program to commemorate all eligible residents who have served in war conflicts. To date, more than 12,000 deserving veterans have been recognized for their service. Pennacchio also worked to secure funding for the Master Plan for the Picatinny Technology Transfer Program.
Senator Pennacchio was recently accredited by the state radio station 101.5 as “a Republican with principals AND courage.” He has been recognized as a “Taxpayer Champion” by the New Jersey Taxpayer Alliance, as an “Advocate for Open Government” by the New Jersey Taxpayers Association and named a “Guardian of Small Business” from the New Jersey Federation of Independent Business. The Senator received the "Advocacy Champion Award" in recognition of his efforts to provide educational resources to schools and bring awareness of human trafficking to New Jersey's Children from the New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking. He was recognized by the American Conservative Union Foundation with the Conservative Achievement Award and has received an “A” rating from Americans for Prosperity who rate legislators based on their votes to keep New Jersey an affordable, prosperous and safe place to work and live. He received the "Defender of the Family Award" in 2005 and most recently, "Legislator of the Year" award from the New Jersey Family Policy Council for his unwavering commitment to protecting parental rights and for his fierce and vocal opposition to New Jersey's new sex education standards. For all these efforts, the Start Ledger stated, "As is usually the case, State Senator Joe Pennacchio was leading the charge." The Senator is a retired dentist. He and his wife Diane live in Montville Township.