2024 Statewide Leadership Summit

Growing the Big Tent Panel

Fri., 1:30 pm – 2:15 pm

Hear from key influencers in the African American, Hispanic, South Asian, Jewish, and other communities on how GOP candidates can conduct efficient outreach to these constituencies and foster strong relationships to continue growing the “Big Tent” in New Jersey.


Jeff Booker

Born and raised in South Jersey, Jeff Booker is a veteran of NJ Republican Politics for nearly 25 years, and has worked with our Party’s leadership, candidates and operatives to bring our message of liberty and opportunity to New Jersey. Jeff most recently served as a member of the Boro Council in Sea Bright, where he chaired the Finance, Insurance and Grants Committee. Committed to giving back to his community, Jeff also serves on numerous non profit boards, including the National Forum of Black Public Administrators (NFBPA), 180 Turning Lives Around – a non profit dedicated to supporting families impacted by domestic violence, and The Jersey Shore Partnership, supporting our beaches.

Jeff studied Political Science & Organizational Management at Liberty University and Eastern University. Professionally, Jeff is Founder & COO of Legacy’s Future Insurance Agency a full-service agency headquartered in Newark. First obtaining his Insurance Producer License in 1995, Jeff holds his Property, Casualty, Life and Health & Surplus Lines Authorities. Jeff believes our Party is most successful when we identify issues where we are in broad agreement with voters.

Marcela Crossman

Marcela Crossman is a businesswoman, veteran, immigrant from Ecuador, and mother of two. She has served as an active member of the Jersey 1st Board of Directors since 2021 and is very active in state and local politics. She is currently the global head of Middle Office Solutions at SS&C GlobeOp. Marcela holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering with a major in Computer Engineering from Rutgers University – School of Engineering. She served in the United States Marine Corps Reserves 1996-2003.

Jose Arango

Jose Arango has been an integral player in New Jersey politics and policy for over 40 years. Born in Cuba, Jose’s family escaped Communism and settled in Spain before coming to West New York in 1976. Jose helped build the Republican Party in what is called “Havana on the Hudson” and served as an aide our great former Governor, Tom Kean, Sr.

In 1985, as Kean won a landslide re-election during the Reagan boom, Hudson County not only went for Kean… They elected Republican Assembly members for the first time since 1920. Jose was one of the four to go to Trenton that year. In the Assembly, Jose was a key voice in the Republican majority for urban issues, housing and economic development.

Since 1999, Arango has served as Hudson County Republican Chairman. He is the longest serving County Chair in the state and is serving his second stint as Chair of Chairs. Last year, he became a Commissioner on the Hudson County Board of Elections. While Hudson is blue, Arango has doubled Republican registration since 2010 and is currently building a strong Republican Party in key towns like Kearny. And if you turn on Telemundo, you very well might see Jose passionately explaining Republican ideas on the network. Jose will go to any part of our state to bring a positive and entertaining Republican message to voters, particularly New Jersey’s growing Hispanic population.

Priti Pandya-Patel

Dr. Priti Pandya-Patel leads the NJGOP’s South Asian Coalition. Priti grew up in Union County and currently resides in Middlesex County. She has been married for over 30 years and together with her husband has raised their children Jenna and Neil. She has been in the healthcare industry for more than 35 years as clinician, administrator, healthcare provider and businesswoman.

Dr. Pandya-Patel has been a Middlesex County Freeholder (Commissioner) candidate in 2017. She also has participated on several boards and committees, such as Old Bridge Township Arts/Cultural committee, Asian Indian Chamber of Commerce (Past-President), and currently serves on the Board of the FBI-Newark CAAA and Foundation Board of Middlesex County. As a former Miss. India NJ, she quotes “I would like to be a role model for the Indo-American young women of this generation and give them inspiration, encouragement and confidence to be the best they can be”.

Don Guardian

Don Guardian was sworn in to his second term as a New Jersey assemblyman in January 2024 after more than doubling his margin of victory in his November 2023 re-election. Guardian earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Upsala College in 1975 and went on to work for the Boy Scouts of America for fifteen years. Later, he became an executive at the Claridge Casino & Hotel and ran the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority’s Special Improvement District from 1992 until 2013. He most recently served as the business administrator for Toms River.

Previously, Guardian was mayor of Atlantic City from 2014 to 2018. In a city with just 10% Republican registration, he became the first Republican mayor in 25 years. He is actively involved in Rotary International, the Metropolitan Business and Citizens Association, the Atlantic County Improvement Authority, and the NAACP.

In 2016, he was named one of the most influential LGBT Advocates in NJ Politics by Observer Media.

Guardian resides with his husband, Louis Fatato, in Atlantic City.

Mordy Burnstein

Councilman Mordy Burnstein has quickly become a major player in Ocean County and statewide Republican politics. A longtime resident of Jackson Township, Burnstein has served on County Committee since 2018, as a Jackson Township Planning Board member since 2022, was elected President of the influential Jackson Township Republican Club and joined the Jackson Township Council in November of last year. This has made Councilman Burnstein the first Councilman of Orthodox Jewish faith in Jackson Township history, and the first Orthodox Republican to serve in elected office in New Jersey outside of Lakewood Township.

Burnstein has also worked ferociously to grow the Republican Party. Jackson Township Republican Club meetings have never been so well-attended and Republican registration, including Vote by Mail participation, has grown exponentially under his leadership.

Councilman Burnstein and his wife, Hadassah, are the proud parents of five children.