Greta Kiernan: A Trailblazing Democratic Party Politician

Greta Kiernan (née Spier) was a prominent American Democratic Party politician known for her dedicated service in the New Jersey General Assembly. Born on December 20, 1933, she left an indelible mark on the political landscape before her passing on January 3, 2023.

Early Life and Education

Greta Kiernan’s journey into politics began with a strong educational foundation. She attended the Academy of the Holy Angels and later pursued her studies at the Berkeley School of Business. Her commitment to learning and community engagement became evident as she embarked on a career that would span various roles and responsibilities.

From Lobbyist to Legislator

Kiernan’s early career saw her working as a lobbyist for the League of Women Voters, where she advocated for important issues and policies. This experience laid the groundwork for her future contributions to the political arena.

Before her election to the Assembly, Kiernan served as an aide to several Bergen County Democratic legislators, including Harold Martin, Matthew Feldman, and Albert Burstein. Her dedication and expertise earned her the trust and respect of her colleagues.

A Historic Election and Legislative Service

In 1977, residing in Harrington Park, Greta Kiernan made history when she ran for the General Assembly. During this election, she and her fellow Democratic running mate, Harold Martin, achieved victory over their Republican opponents, including Demarest mayor Gerald Cardinale and John Inganamort. Kiernan’s election marked a significant milestone, as she became the first Democratic woman to be elected to the legislature from Bergen County.

While serving in the Assembly, Kiernan played an active role in various committees, including the Joint Appropriations Committee, the Legislative Oversight Committee, and the State Government Committee. Her dedication to these committees showcased her commitment to effective governance.

Continued Service and Contributions

Greta Kiernan’s tenure in the General Assembly lasted a single term, and in the 1979 elections, she and Harold Martin faced defeat against their Republican opponents, Gerald Cardinale and former Assemblyman John Markert.

Following her time in the Assembly, Kiernan continued to serve in various capacities. She worked on the staff of notable figures, including State Senator Paul Contillo, U.S. Representative Rush Holt Jr., and Governors Jim McGreevey, Richard Codey, and Jon Corzine. Her invaluable contributions extended beyond the legislative halls.

In 1989, residing in Hackensack, Kiernan once again ran for the General Assembly, this time from the 38th District. Unfortunately, she faced defeat against Republican incumbents Patrick J. Roma and Pat Schuber.

Later in life, Kiernan moved to Plainsboro Township, where she continued to be an active member of her community. She served on the township planning board and acted as a trustee of the township library, demonstrating her enduring commitment to public service.

A Legacy Remembered

On January 3, 2023, Greta Kiernan passed away at the age of 89. Her legacy as a trailblazing Democratic Party politician and her unwavering dedication to public service continue to be remembered and celebrated.