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Bill Pascrell: Wikis


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Bill Pascrell

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 8th district
Assumed office 
January 3, 1997
Preceded by Bill Martini

Born January 25, 1937 (1937-01-25) (age 72)
Paterson, New Jersey
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Elsie Pascrell
Residence Paterson, New Jersey
Alma mater Fordham University
Occupation high school teacher
Religion Roman Catholic
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1961-1967

William J. "Bill" Pascrell, Jr. (born January 25, 1937) is an American Democratic politician who represents New Jersey's 8th congressional district (map) in the House of Representatives. The district is based in Paterson and includes most of Passaic County and suburban Essex County.


Early life



The grandson of Italian immigrants, Pascrell was born in Paterson, New Jersey and attended St. George’s Elementary School, and in 1955 graduated from St. John the Baptist High School, during which he was elected Student Council President. Pascrell later went on to attend Fordham University in New York with Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a Master’s degree in Philosophy.


Bill spent 12 years as a high school teacher in Paramus, NJ before being hired as a professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Previously, Pascrell was appointed to Paterson Board of Education, where he served as President of the Board. Bill also served as Board of Trustees of Passaic County Community College.

Political career

Pascrell was elected to the New Jersey General Assembly in 1988, eventually rising to the position Minority Leader Pro Tempore. [1] In 1990, Pascrell ran for Mayor of Paterson, a seat that had been left vacant by the death of the city's sitting mayor, Frank Graves, two months prior to the election. Pascrell won and was reelected in 1994, all while continuing to serve as an Assemblyman (a practice that many New Jersey politicans followed for many years, but has recently been outlawed).

Pascrell won the Democratic nomination for the 8th District in 1996 and defeated one-term Republican Bill Martini. He has been reelected five times, usually by a large margin.

In Congress, Pascrell serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means. He is the first New Jerseyan to serve on this committee in 10 years.

Pascrell was one of the original members of the Homeland Security Committee, eventually rising to the post of ranking Democrat on the Emergency Preparedness Subcommittee. He has a particular interest in fire safety, and authored the bill that created the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, which gives federal grants directly to all fire departments, including volunteer fire departments, which he calls "the forgotten part of the public safety equation."

Bill was also a member of the House Transportation Committee, where he worked to modernize roads, bridges, airports and mass transit systems. He has secured funding for reconstructing various dangerous roads and bridges throughout New Jersey, including bringing attention to the Route 46 corridor. In addition, he has helped craft legislation to renew federal surface transportation programs, providing funding toward New Jersey Transit. The new legislation tackled projects of rail expansion between Passaic and Bergen counties, bridge construction throughout Route 46, and the establishment of a bike-pedestrian path in South Orange.

Pascrell is an Italian American and has been outspoken about the representation of Italian-Americans in the media regarding what he sees as negative stereotypes in shows such as HBO's The Sopranos. His Italian heritage was famously questioned by comedian Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report, who alleged in an interview that Pascrell could not truly be of Italian descent because Italian surnames must end with a vowel. Pressed by Colbert for an example of an Italian surname ending in a consonant, Pascrell responded with "Sole".[2]

During the Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's 2009 Working on a Dream Tour, Pascrell asked for investigations by the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice into the practices of Ticketmaster and TicketsNow in regard to sales of tickets to the tour's New Jersey shows.[3] Pascrell subsequently introduced proposed federal legislation, titled the "BOSS ACT" (Better Oversight of Secondary Sales and Accountability in Concert Ticketing), which would require primary ticket sellers to disclose how many tickets were being held back from sale, prohibit ticket brokers from buying tickets during the first 48 hours on sale, and prohibit primary ticket sellers, promoters, and artists from entering the secondary market.[4]

After the death of a young boy in his district who returned to playing football without having fully recovered from a concussion sustained earlier in the season in October 2008, Pascrell introduced the Concussion Treatment and Care Tools Act (the ConTACT Act), which has received the endorsements of the National Football League, the National Football League's Players Association, and the Brain Injury Association of America. The legislation brings together a conference of experts to produce a concensus set of guidelines for the treatment and care of concussions for middle and high school students. It also provides funding for schools' adoption of baseline and post-injury neuropsychological testing technologies.[5]

Committee assignments

Leadership positions

  • Regional Whip

Electoral history

New Jersey's 8th congressional district: Results 1996–2008[6]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
1996 Bill Pascrell, Jr. 98,861 51% William J. Martini 92,609 48% Jeffrey M. Levine Independent 1,621 1%
1998 Bill Pascrell, Jr. 81,068 62% Matthew J. Kirnan 46,289 35% Jeffrey M. Levine Independent 804 1% *
2000 Bill Pascrell, Jr. 134,074 67% Anthony Fusco, Jr. 60,606 30% Joseph A. Fortunato Independent 4,469 2% *
2002 Bill Pascrell, Jr. 88,101 67% Jared Silverman 40,318 31% Joseph A. Fortunato Green 3,400 3%
2004 Bill Pascrell, Jr. 152,001 69% George Ajjan 62,747 29% Joseph A. Fortunato Green 4,072 2%
2006 Bill Pascrell, Jr. 97,568 71% Jose M. Sandoval 39,053 28% Lou Jasikoff Libertarian 1,018 1%
2008 Bill Pascrell, Jr. 155,111 72% Roland Straten 62,239 27% Derek DeMarco Libertarian 1,487 1%
*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 1998, Stephen Spinosa received 762 votes; Bernard George received 722 votes; Thomas Paine Caslander received 625 votes; and José L. Aravena received 318 votes. In 2000, Viji Sargis received 983 votes.


External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
William J. Martini
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from New Jersey's 8th congressional district

Succeeded by


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