April 14, 2023
Congratulations to the 2023 winners!
State Senator Vin Gopal was elected in 2017 and re-elected in 2021. He has sponsored dozens of pieces of legislation that have become law. Senator Gopal has championed legislation to provide aid for education and local businesses; provided property tax rebates for taxpayers, seniors and veterans; made life more affordable for seniors; make mental health services more accessible, improved public safety and teared down barriers to employment and services for members of the disabilities community.
Previously serving as Chair of the Senate Military and Veterans’Affairs Committee, Senator Gopal currently chairs the Senate Education Committee and serves as Senate Majority Conference Leader. He also is Vice-Chair of the Senate Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee, and a member of the Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee. In his 30s, Senator Gopal is currently the youngest member of the NJ State Senate and the first South-Asian American to be elected to the Senate in New Jersey history.
A dedicated volunteer who works with many nonprofit organizations to assist people in need, Senator Gopal is also the Founder and President of the Vin Gopal Civic Association, a 501c(3) organization dedicated to helping Monmouth County charities and individuals in need. His community contributions as a volunteer include serving as a past Board of Trustees Member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monmouth County, and he served for many years as a volunteer first responder and EMT. He is also a former Adjunct Professor at Monmouth University and is currently the co-chair of the Monmouth University School of Civil Discourse.
An entrepreneur, Senator Gopal has started and built several businesses and is currently a business consultant and coach. Senator Gopal has served on the Board of Directors for the Northern Monmouth County Chamber of Commerce, and as President of the Hazlet Township Business Owners Association. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, he created a districtwide organization of business, community, church, and nonprofits leaders to address the challenges of the coronavirus to the local economy.
Born in Neptune Township and raised in Monmouth County, Senator Gopal holds a Masters in Public Administration from Rutgers University and a bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania StateUniversity.
Dr. Margie Donlon, a practicing physician, currently serves as Deputy Mayor of Ocean Township. She was elected in 2019 as the top vote-getter in a nine candidate race. She has been a major advocate for open space, shared-services and programs supporting our seniors and veterans. Donlon holds a Masters in Public Health from Yale University and her Medical Degree from the University of Rochester. She is Board Certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. An avid surfer, Margie lives in Ocean Township with her husband Ron and daughters Amalia and Vera.
Luanne Peterpaul Esq., a former County Prosecutor, has tried a number of successful cases against criminals – which includes those who have committed thefts and homicide. Most recently, she served as a Municipal Judge for the City of Long Branch and for the City of Asbury Park. She previously served as Chair of the Board for Garden State Equality – where she was instrumental in persuading the New Jersey State Legislature to enact bi-partisan Anti-Bullying legislation. A graduate of Duquesne University, and Seton Hall School of Law, she lives with her wife Robin in Long Branch.
Since 2018, Assemblyman Roy Freiman has represented the 16th Legislative District in the StateAssembly.
As an Assemblyman, Freiman chairs the Agriculture and Food Security Committee, and serves on the Financial Institutions and Insurance, Commerce and Economic Development committees. He has used his business and analytics expertise to cut through partisan ideology and focus on collaborative measures that benefit his district and the state. In a time of polarization and divide, Freiman has stood out as a leader in the Assembly – known to be a legislator who is thoughtful and works across the aisle to get things done.
Prior to running for public office, Freiman served as Vice President of Strategy and Analytics at Prudential Financial. In that position, he led a team that managed data analytics, developed strategic plans, and created innovative solutions to generate new business. Freiman also led mentoring projects with international teams.
Assemblyman Freiman has lived and raised his family in Hillsborough for more than 25 years along with his wife Victoria, a teacher. Roy and Victoria have two grown children, and two dogs.
Andrew Zwicker is a scientist and educator at Princeton University’s Plasma Physics Laboratory. As your Senator, Andrew works to find sensible solutions to improve our quality of life today and for future generations. He uses evidence to author legislation that creates high-quality jobs, fosters innovation, and protects our environment. He and his wife Barbara, an elementary school educator, live in Kingston where they raised three children.
Andrew Zwicker took an unconventional path to the New Jersey Legislature. “I decided to live in both the world of science and the world of politics,” he says. “It’s time for the rise of the scientist in public office and for scientific thinking to permeate all public policy. By that I mean using evidence to make decisions.”
In 2015, Zwicker beat an incumbent by just 78 votes out of 34,000 cast to win a seat in the state Assembly. He was re-elected twice to the General Assembly by growing margins and then to the NJ Senate in 2021. The 16th District, which covers parts of four counties; Somerset, Hunterdon, Mercer, and Middlesex. He was the first Democrat to ever win in the 16th District.
Andrew focuses on creating jobs through investing in innovation, combating the climate crisis and restoring trust in democracy through structural, election-related reforms.
Issue-driven and hard to label, Andrew Zwicker brings a fresh outlook to everyday problems. With his background in science and higher education he brings a fact based pragmatism to the legislature.
Mitchelle Drulis is no stranger to New Jersey politics. She began her career as a legislative aide to Assemblyman Bob Smith in December of 2000 before serving as the Chief of Staff to Assemblyman Joe Egan from 2002 to 2013. Drulis was the Political Director for then candidate Tom Malinowski in the 2018 midterms during which she led an outreach program to secure key endorsements for Malinowski. This support from key labor and grassroots organizations, along with an army of volunteers, led to the longtime republican-held Congressional District (NJ07) flipping to Democratic control. After Malinowski’s election in 2018, Drulis served as the District Director for his office where she developed and managed a constituent services program that assisted roughly 12,000 individual constituents across the district, and collaboratively worked with the Congressman to identify district needs and secure millions in federal funding for local municipal projects that directly benefit residents.
In addition to her political work, Mitchelle is the owner of a Somerset County based small business, has volunteered as class mom at Copper Hill and as Vice President of the RFIS PTO in the Flemington Raritan school district. Mitchelle is also a parishioner at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Readington Township where she was a volunteer RF instructor.
Mitchelle attended Rutgers University where she was an Eagleton Institute of Politics – Undergraduate Associate. Mitchelle lives in Raritan Township with her husband Michael Drulis and her daughter Torrance.