TRENTON – On his first day in office as state senator in the 23rd District, Douglas J. Steinhardt showed he was going to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor.
Steinhardt, a Lopatcong resident, was sworn into office on Monday to replace Michael Doherty, one of the most conservative members of the state legislature, who resigned after being elected Warren County surrogate last month.
The heavily-Republican 23rd District extends from Bound Brook and Bridgewater in Somerset County through northern Hunterdon County to Phillipsburg and Hackettstown in Warren County. There are 35 municipalities in the district.
Steinhardt, former chairman of the New Jersey Republican State Committee, was selected by the GOP organizations in the counties, to fill Doherty’s vacancy.
Steinhardt wasted no time on Monday to show his conservative credentials.
In one of his first actions as a legislator, he voted against new gun restrictions proposed by Democrats during his first voting session. The law, which passed in the State Senate, will strictly limit the concealed carry of guns and establish criteria for obtaining a permit to carry a handgun. The law also creates an official list of places where guns wouldn’t be allowed because of security and safety concern, including government buildings, polling places, schools, casinos, beaches and bars.
“Within minutes of taking the oath of office, I defended the Second Amendment, law-abiding gun owners, and the rights of my constituents by voting against the likely unconstitutional concealed carry restrictions proposed by New Jersey Democrats,” said Steinhardt. “Standing up to the liberal extremists who control the State House and continually chip away at our civil liberties and make our communities less safe is exactly why I came to Trenton.”
The new state senator vowed to continue Doherty’s legacy as being one of the most outspoken conservatives in the legislature.
“I plan to continue Senator Doherty’s legacy of conservative leadership,” Steinhardt said. “That means fighting for fiscal responsibility, parental rights, and the rights of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves and live in safe communities. I promise to be a strong conservative voice in Trenton for the 23rd District and all of New Jersey.”
Steinhardt said federal judges have already ruled against portions of a recently enacted New York law that are similar in language to the New Jersey bill.
“Federal judges have already ruled against sections of New York’s law that would restrict the carrying of guns in so-called ‘sensitive places’ and on private property,” added Steinhardt. “It’s absolutely foolish for Trenton Democrats to plow ahead with similar restrictions in New Jersey that almost certainly will be found unconstitutional. Instead of targeting law-abiding gun owners who pose no threat, the Democratic majority would better serve New Jersey by making an effort to hold career criminals accountable for the violent crimes they commit with illegal guns.”
Steinhardt, a former five-time mayor of Lopatcong Township, is pro-life, a Lifetime Member of the National Rifle Association and an advocate of family and parental rights.
Steinhardt grew up on the same Warren County farm where his parents still live. He and his wife have two children.
He is a graduate of Gettysburg College and Widener University School of Law. After. After law school, he returned to Warren County to practice law with his father, who retired in 2005. That same year, he opened a law firm around the corner from his home, where he still works today.
He was elected chairman of the Warren County Republican Committee in 2004 and chairman of the New Jersey Republican State Committee in November 2017.
Mike Deak is a reporter for mycentraljersey.com. To get unlimited access to his articles on Somerset and Hunterdon counties, please subscribe or activate your digital account.