25 Chief of Staff to N.J. Assemblyman Neil M. Cohen – Councilman-at-Large, Borough of Roselle, N.J.
Jamel C. Holley realized the importance of a democratic society at a young age and set lofty public service goals for himself while obtaining a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice from New Jersey City University. In 2001, N.J. General Assembly Deputy Majority Leader Neil M. Cohen appointed him his chief of staff, making Holley the youngest person ever to hold this position. At just 26 years of age, Holley is responsible for coordinating political and constituency outreach programs, supervising legislative departments and projects, and managing Assemblyman Cohen’s schedule of meetings with lobbyists, community leaders, and local, state and federal officials.
Holley’s most notable achievement, however, was his election last November as councilman-at-large for the Borough of Roselle, N.J. He is the youngest person to be so elected in Union County. A staunch democrat, Holley is also executive director of the Roselle Democratic Committee, where he is responsible for executing the party’s strategy and platform in order to help Democrats win elections in each of the borough’s 19 voting districts. More recently, he was selected by the New Jersey Democratic State Committee to serve as a member of the Affirmative Action and Outreach Committee for the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
Holley’s will to succeed can be attributed to his grandmother, who “sacrificed everything” to raise him and his two brothers after their drug-addicted parents abandoned them. Holley also heaps praises on Assemblyman Cohen for showing faith in his abilities, and on his brothers, who continuously give him their support.
Holley is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public administration at Kean University. He is president and CEO of the Jamel C. Holley Civic Association Inc., which provides community services to senior citizens and children. Holley is using his political influence to encourage young adults to become politically active. Whenever his strength wanes as he pursues his goals, he says, he turns to Psalm 91, which reads, “Those who seek God will be protected as a result of their faith.”