IN THE NEWS: Verona resident announces run for state Assembly

Coverage of Laura Fortgang’s campaign announcement for New Jersey Assembly on

Laura Fortgang will make her first foray into politics and will have to win a June 9 primary before moving on to the November election for Assembly, when she would attempt to unseat Republican incumbents Betty Lou DeCroce and Jay Webber. Though Fortgang sides with Democratic views, she will run as off the line because the party opted for other candidates.


Letter from Laura


In the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, I, like many of my friends, neighbors and colleagues, felt called to become more engaged in our political process, with the hope and intention of improving what has left our communities so bruised and divided. As a working mother, small business owner and community volunteer, I know that we all, no matter who we are, want the same things for our families, our children and our communities. This common ground is being lost, however, in our anger and frustration with elected officials who we feel are not representing our interests. This is nowhere more true than in New Jersey’s 26th legislative district, where State Sen. Joe Pennachio, Assemblywoman Betty Lou DeCroce, and Assemblyman Jay Webber are long-seated incumbents who have been allowed to operate without any sense of accountability to their constituents, amassing anti-family, anti-children, anti-woman, anti-education, anti-public health voting records that are an offense to the hard-working families of our district. This is why I have decided to declare my candidacy for state assembly in the 26th district. I believe that a common-sense approach to our problems will help us move past partisan ideology and reclaim the common ground we all share.

One of the most urgent issues facing New Jersey is the lack of accountability and transparency in our government, and a political system rigged to preserve the concentration of power for a select, anointed few, while suppressing the will of the people. My candidacy grew out of an effort to give a voice to the people of the 26th who are not being represented by the district’s current Republican leadership, but no sooner had I announced my candidacy than I was informed that the candidates from which voters would be allowed to choose during the primary in June had already been determined—not through any Democratic process, but by the unilateral and arbitrary decision of one individual. I was advised to step aside to preserve the status quo.

My name is Laura Fortgang. I am a 21-year resident of Verona, an internationally recognized career and life coach, a successful entrepreneur and mother of three. If I were to write my memoir, it would be titled “Motivated By No”. My mother said I’d never be a singer as I had wished to be. I went on to be a professional musical theater actor and part of the actor’s union. When I was a teen and I wanted to make money, I was told “no” when I tried to get a job as a waitress in a fancy restaurant. I was told to go work at Friendly’s and get experience. I didn’t take “no” for an answer then, and I got the job. When I started out in the personal coaching field, no one had ever heard of it and they predicted my failure. I’ve been in business for 25 years and helped grow the profession as a founding member and spokesperson for the credentialing body for the industry. When I was awarded my first book contract, I was told to hire a ghost writer since I was a first timer with no experience. I’ve gone on to write six successful books myself.

In step with that, I cannot take “no” for an answer now. I’m not going to step aside for political convenience or expediency when I could be standing up for all of us who want change, who want representation, who want their voices to be heard. I won’t take “no” for an answer at a time when the people of the 26th district need someone who will vote “yes” for them.

This is not the statement with which I had wanted to announce my candidacy, and it comes after much soul searching and sobering reflection upon the challenges my campaign will face moving forward. But, I believe the voters of the 26th district deserve better than the status quo. I believe that you should be able to vote for the candidate of your choice. I believe that the voters of the 26th district will share my outrage in finding out that their vote is being decided for them.

You can learn more about me and my campaign at I hope you will join our effort to bring better representation to the people of New Jersey.

Thank you for your support,

Laura Fortgang