Franklin Township resident Joseph Danielsen became the newest member of the General Assembly on Thursday, receiving the oath of office from Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, before taking part in his first voting session as a member of the legislature.
“Joe has made it a life-long dedication to protect and fight for the working families of this state,” said Prieto. “I have no doubt that he will bring that same level of commitment to his new role as Assemblyman. I welcome him as the newest member of the Democratic Caucus and look forward to working with him to spur our economy and move New Jersey forward.”
Danielsen will represent the 17th legislative district, which includes parts of Middlesex and Somerset counties, replacing Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula who recently left to become a commissioner of the Board of Public Utilities.
“It is a great honor to be able to serve the residents of the 17th legislative district in the General Assembly,” said Danielsen (D-Middlesex/Somerset). “Having served in the trenches at the local level for many years, I was able to gain first-hand knowledge of the struggles facing everyday families in our state such as affordability, property taxes and public safety, just to name a few. I look forward to using this experience to work with my colleagues in the legislature to find solutions to these critical issues.”
A life-long resident of Franklin Township, Danielsen is also a veteran of the U.S. Army, having served in the 78th Div. Reserve TNG from 1982-1991, as well as a volunteer fire fighter for the past 22 years.
While he is a successful small business owner in his personal life, he has also served in numerous public capacities, most notably as a member of the Franklin Township Board of Fire Commissioners from 2000 to 2006. During his term he was integral in creating an inter-local agreement between the township and the four fire districts that provided fire fighters during the day, which saved jobs and doubled the level of fire response to the taxpayers at a low cost.
For 14 years he also served on the township Planning Board, including a stint as vice chair for several of those years. In that role, he consistently supported economic development and helped attract businesses to Franklin Township while maintaining the local historic character.
For the past eight years, Danielsen has also been one of the state’s top individual fundraisers for Childhood Cancer Research through the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, shaving his head every year to stand in solidarity with children stricken by the disease. In addition he has been very active fund raising for the Wounded Warrior and LiveStrong foundations.
Danielsen has received degrees from both Middlesex County College and Rutgers University. The youngest of nine children, he remains a resident of Franklin Township with his wife Christine and their three children, all of whom attend the Franklin Township public schools.