FDU alumnus runs to fill Lautenberg’s seat

Republican Steve Lonegan, an FDU alumnus, is running for the U.S. Senate. Here, he speaks to students at the College at Florham in February 2009 on “Putting Taxpayers First” in New Jersey. (Photo by W. Scott Giglio.)

By Dan Landau

When U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg passed away in June at the age of 89, there was more than a year left in his term. Two Republican and six Democrats are running against each other in a special election to serve out the remainder of Lautenberg’s term. FDU has connections to four out of these six candidates, including Republican Steve Lonegan, an alumnus of the University. 

Lonegan, who earned his MBA in marketing at the Metropolitan Campus in 1982, recently took the time to share some of his FDU memories in an interview:

FDU: How was your time at FDU?
SL: It was great. It was 30 years ago, but it was great. I started my college studies at FDU and was there for one year as an undergraduate. I later transferred to another school, but I returned to FDU to get my MBA. As an undergrad, I played on the football team and was an offensive lineman. I still have my FDU football jersey. My graduate experience was very different from my undergraduate.

FDU: Tell us about your graduate experience.
SL: I did my master’s at night. All my classes were across the river in Dickinson Hall and I did the whole program in a year and a half. I think the MBA was a two-year program and I just banged it out.  

FDU: What did you do after you graduated?
SL: I ran my own business for over 25 years. My business, Kitchens Plus, did kitchen cabinet manufacturing and retail and built custom homes. I served as mayor of Bogota, N.J. for 12 years and afterwards, worked with Americans For Prosperity as a director, senior policy analyst, and spokesperson. (Editor's note: Americans For Prosperity is a conservative policy advocacy group, headquartered in Arlington, VA.)

FDU: Tell us about your time as mayor of Bogota, N.J. 
SL: I cut municipal spending and eliminated wasteful and duplicative services. The result was that Bogota’s municipal spending remained constant for the entire 12 years I was mayor. I also kept debt and tax increases far below inflation. 

FDU: How has your degree prepared you for a life of leadership in the worlds of business and politics? 
SL: My MBA gave me a strong background in economics, finance, accounting, and economic thinking and that has helped me to hone my skills in management and policy making. I have a lot of business and life experience that builds on the fundamentals I learned in class at FDU. Understanding economics is critical to a lot of what Senators have to deal with. 

FDU: What is the one thing you would like to tell the FDU community?
SL: Get a degree that is going to help you get a real job and put you on a path to making a living. Also, enjoy your college years because they are terrific — when you get to by my age you will wish you could do them again.

* * *

Lonegan is running against Alietta Eck for the Republican nomination. On the Democratic side, FDU has ties with three of the four candidates: Newark Mayor Cory Booker, N.J. Congressman Frank Pallone, and N.J. Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver have all spoken at the University. Congressman Rush Holt is also vying for the Democratic nomination. 

The primary for the special election will take place on August 13, 2013 and the special election will be on October 16, 2013.  

Feature Story from the FDU Newsroom

FDU Office of Public Relations

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