John grew up in the Borough of Haddonfield, where he attended Haddonfield public schools. His father owned and operated a dry cleaning store in town. When John was in junior high school, his father suffered the first of a series of heart attacks leaving him with skyrocketing medical bills. Like many small business owners, John’s father lacked the health insurance necessary to pay the high medical costs. The heart attacks left his father unable to work and he consequently lost the dry cleaning business. After his father died in 1976, John and his widowed mother lived on Social Security benefits for widows and minors. John understands the importance of Social Security, and has vowed to protect the program.
He attended Harvard College and Harvard Law School with the assistance of Social Security payments, scholarships, student loans, and jobs in the summer and during the school year. He married his law school classmate Shelley, and they moved to Cherry Hill.
In 1987, John won a seat on the Cherry Hill Town Council. He wrote Cherry Hill’s ethics ordinance during his time on Town Council. He was also committed to strengthening Cherry Hill schools and improving health care while on the Council.
In 1991, John ran for State Senate against a long-time incumbent. That year, he was the only candidate to beat a Republican incumbent in either house of the Legislature. John served in the State Senate for 17 years, and was the Chairman of the prestigious New Jersey’s Senate Judiciary Committee. He sponsored vital legislation designed to address key environmental and health related issues, homeland security, ethics reform, reducing auto insurance rates, eliminating municipal and school mandates, and reducing corporate tax on small business.
John wrote New Jersey’s law requiring pension forfeiture and mandatory prison terms for corrupt officials. He also wrote the Smoke-Free Air Act, which prohibits smoking in indoor public places and workplaces.
John and Shelley still live in Cherry Hill. They have four sons, Jeffrey, Alex, Andrew, and Oliver.