Campaigning Like a Physicist

As I come upon my first 100 days in office, I’ve been reflecting on the time we spent campaigning.  As this article explains, my campaign was reliant on statistical modeling, which provided the evidence we used to pinpoint the voters most likely to vote for me. We allowed the evidence to guide us – and this is the same approach I have been using to legislate.

- Andrew

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Letter to Editor - Rush Holt

To the Editor:

It was my honor and privilege to represent the people of Central New Jersey and to work to improve your quality of life.

As a member of Congress and as a professional scientist, I’ve always believed that policy decisions should be based on evidence, not ideology.

 On Nov. 3, you have a chance to elect two people to the New Jersey General Assembly that will do just that. 

Andrew Zwicker is a physicist and the head of science education at Princeton University’s Plasma Physics Laboratory, where I was once the assistant director.

Many years ago, I hired Andrew and it was clear to me that as good as he was as a scientist, he was even better at relating to people.

Andrew has devoted his career to finding solutions to difficult problems such as developing a new source of clean energy and training the next generation of students to compete in a global economy

I wasn’t surprised when he called me and said he wanted to be involved in public service and I said, without any hesitation at all, that I would like to help.

Maureen Vella is a former Municipal judge, a family practice lawyer, and a professional mediator.

Maureen understands that legislation needs to be carefully crafted so that unintended consequences are few and far between and is a patient negotiator who works toward an acceptable compromise that will produce positive action.

New Jersey needs leaders like Andrew and Maureen now.


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16th DISTRICT: One candidate says yes to anti-corruption legislation


We, as members of Represent.Us Central New Jersey, asked the four Assembly candidates in District 16 whether they would support, yes or no, anti-corruption legislation. Represent.Us is a national, cross-partisan campaign to pass anti-corruption laws in cities and states across the country so we can stop lobbyists and special interests from bribing politicians who are supposed to be representing us.

On July 14, 2014, Princeton made history as the nation’s first municipality to approve a resolution based on “the American Anti-Corruption Act” ( The resolution called on “representatives [of] the 16th district New Jersey state legislature to support and introduce anti-corruption legislation.” We took up the cause.An Anti-Corruption Act has three primary outcomes:

� Stop political bribery by overhauling lobbying and ethics laws.

� End secret money by dramatically increasing transparency.

� Give every voter a voice by creating citizen-funded elections.

It ends the vise-grip that big money and power have on our politics and restores the people as the most important stakeholders in our political system.We gave the Assembly candidates an Oct. 1 deadline to respond. How did we do?

On the Republican side, the two incumbents either said “no” or ignored us. Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli said, “In my mind, [there] is not justification necessarily for introducing bills on issues as weighty as these.” Assemblywoman Donna Simon ignored us.

As for the Democrats, Andrew Zwicker said “yes” and committed to introducing and supporting anti-corruption legislation. His running mate, Maureen Vella, did not reply.

When you mark your Assembly ballot this fall, you need to move these positions to the top of your list. No matter what you care about — taxes, schools, repairing roads and bridges, gun violence — nothing significant will happen until we end the corruption and strangle-hold of big money on our politics. 

David M. Goodman 


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Andrew Zwicker and Maureen Vella Call on Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli and Assemblywoman Donna Simon to Support Gun Safety Bill

Princeton, NJ -- Today, NJ General Assembly Democratic candidates for the 16th Legislative District, Andrew Zwicker and Maureen Vella, joined Senate President Steve Sweeney, state, county and local officials, advocacy groups and other supporters in a continued effort to enact S-2360,  a public safety bill that would give law enforcement a voice and the courts more information when people seek to have their mental health records expunged in order to purchase a firearm.

The bill, sponsored by Senator Fred Madden, the former Acting Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, and Republican Senator James Holzapfel, was co-sponsored by Senator Linda Greenstein and Republican senators Chris Bateman and Jennifer Beck. Republican Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick is one of the prime Assembly sponsors.

Senator Beck maintained her support of the override when it was first attempted on September 24 but, despite being another cosponsor, Senator Bateman failed to vote. Democratic candidates Andrew Zwicker and Maureen Vella voiced their support for the override effort, calling on Senator Bateman to stand by a bill that had carried his name on it since it was introduced a year ago.

Maureen Vella said, “I urge Senator Bateman to please vote to override this veto. But I am sure he won’t listen to me. That is why I am here to urge the Republican Assembly members from this district to call on Senator Bateman to override the Governor’s veto on this bill and then pledge themselves, today, to vote to override. Just a few days ago, they refused to do so when this bill was brought up in a debate.”

Andrew Zwicker remarked, “Even if Senator Bateman does the right thing, and supports a bill he sponsored, I can tell you that the work is only one third of the way done.  Because his colleagues in the 16th Legislative District., Assm. Ciattarelli and Simon, also voted to support this bill yet they have never once voted to override a veto and recently refused to commit to vote for this override,” said Zwicker.  “We need to stop making decisions based on political calculations and start making these decisions based on evidence. And the evidence clearly shows that tough sensible gun laws work in reducing killings. We call on Ciattarelli and Simon to urge Senator Bateman to support this bill and to publicly pledge to support the veto override vote when it makes it to the floor of the General Assembly.

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LD16 Debate Video

All four LD16 candidates came out for a spirited and thought-provoking debate with clear differences on policy priorities. The questions were on a wide variety of issues including: the public pension system (starts at 13:25), gun violence prevention (starts at 22:30), renewable energy and the environment (starts at 32:45), and increasing the minimum wage (starts at 55:03).  You can find the video from the debate here.


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AFT-NJ, Professional Firefighters Association and League of Conservation Voters Endorse Zwicker for Assembly in LD-16

Andrew Zwicker, a Democratic candidate running for one of two open seats in the New Jersey Assembly, Legislative District 16, has been endorsed by the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey, representing more than 4,000 firefighters and emergency services workers, and by the American Federation of Teachers New Jersey (AFTNJ), representing 32,000 members who work in schools from pre-kindergarten through university. Zwicker has also been endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters.

“I am honored to be endorsed by the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey and by the AFT,” stated Zwicker, “and if I am elected, I will fight to make full funding of state pensions and respect for teachers a major priority.”


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Professional Association of Firefighters Endorsement

Today, I am so proud to receive the endorsement of the Professional Association of Firefighters. These brave men and women risk their lives to protect us and deserve our support and our gratitude.  Here is a statement from Dominick Marino, President of the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey.


"At this juncture in our State's challenging times, we need legislators who have the same values of the Firefighters, EMS personnel and the working men and women who are the heart and soul of our great state”, said Dominick Marino, President of the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey.

“As a professional firefighter’s union, we have made it a point to endorse and support candidates based upon either their performance or stated positions or a combination thereof concerning our issues, not their political affiliation. We pride ourselves on being a bipartisan group. Our membership consists of dedicated public safety professionals, hardworking taxpayers, supporting families who cherish and exercise their right to vote - something too many aspiring politicians forget or purposely disregard when considering the value of our support.

Having the right people in the state legislature is paramount for firefighters and emergency medical personnel to ensure safe working conditions and the necessary equipment to safely perform the duties of fire responders. With the threat of terrorist activity in New Jersey and the metropolitan area becoming more prevalent than ever, we need legislators that will respond to our needs. We believe our endorsed candidates will respond for the first responders and the citizens of New Jersey.”

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League of Conservation Voters Endorsement

Yesterday, I was endorsed by the NJ League of Conservation Voters, the leading political voice for the environment. As someone that has worked on, and been an advocate of, clean energy for more than two decades, this endorsement is particularly meaningful to me.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Seth Levin, Campaign Manager (410) 627-9504,

Andrew Zwicker, a Democratic candidate for the New Jersey Assembly in the 16th District, has been endorsed by the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, the leading political voice for the environment.

Zwicker, who holds a Ph.D. in physics from Johns Hopkins University, heads the Scientific Education Department at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory at Princeton University.

“We are delighted to add Andrew Zwicker to the list of candidates we are endorsing in the November 2015 elections,” said Ed Potosnak, the executive director of the League. “Our rigorous endorsement process vets candidates based on their record and leadership on environmental issues. Andrew has been involved in research on, and advocacy for, clean energy for more than two decades. In addition, he is a science educator who has a talent for inspiring young people to focus on the environment around them.”

“I am honored to be endorsed by the League,” said Zwicker. “One of the reasons I decided to run is that Chris Christie is eviscerating environmental protections in the state of New Jersey—with the support of my Republican opponents.”

The Republican incumbents in the 16th District, Jack Ciattarelli and Donna Simon, have among the lowest grades in the Assembly on the League’s Environmental Scorecards.

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Dear Friend


Dear Friend,

The start of the school year is here and Election Day is two months away.  My campaign for the NJ General Assembly is heating up and I need your help getting the word out by helping me knock on doors, make phone calls, stuff envelopes, write letters to the editor, and so much more.

My message is simple and the evidence is clear - we need to change our priorities.  For example, in the last two months, NJ has lost more than 25,000 jobs and our recovery lags far behind our neighboring states and the national average. (  The billions of dollars approved for corporate tax subsidies are not working and we need a new strategy.  

We need to focus on our unique strengths.  Did you know that NJ has the highest density of scientists and engineers in the world? We must capitalize on this and create policies that help grow high-quality, high-paying 21st century jobs for people of all backgrounds and education levels.

You can sign up to volunteer on my web site, Even if you don't live in the area, you can still help by making phone calls and spreading the word about my campaign.

Thanks and enjoy the last days of the summer!


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NJ Education Association (NJEA) Endorsement

I am so proud to receive the endorsement from the NJ Education Association (NJEA) on behalf of its 200,000 members.  In the press release, NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer said, 

“Now, more than ever, NJEA members understand the vital importance of electing pro-public education candidates,”  “We have seen the impact of short-sighted policies such as the increased emphasis on standardized testing and the failure to fully fund public employee pensions. Those are the wrong choices for New Jersey and they threaten to undermine our great public schools, which are among the best in the nation.

Here's the link to the full press release.

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