Our team

Leroy J. Jones, Jr.



LeRoy J. Jones, Jr. has excelled both as an elected official and as an executive during his distinguished career of more than 30 years. He has served in the New Jersey State Assembly, on the Essex County Commissioner Board, and as East Orange city administrator. During his time in the private sector, he developed and implemented successful operational planning and strategies. LeRoy brings this wide range of experience to 1868 Public Affairs which enables him to effectively represent clients' interests at all levels of government. 

During his tenure in the private sector, LeRoy held various positions at PSE&G, including Business Development Manager, Director of Workforce Diversity, and Public Affairs Manager. As well, he served as Assistant Manager of Corporate Taxes and Internal Auditor at AT&T Corporation.

LeRoy served four terms in the State Assembly and served as Deputy Minority Leader for two terms. Over the course of his tenure, he served on several committees, including Appropriations, Regulatory Oversight, Solid Waste and Recycling, Financial Institutions, and Local Government. Additionally, he contributed significantly to the work of the State House Commission, the Assembly Task Force on Foreign Banking and the Assembly Task Force on Business Retention and Expansion.

While serving as Essex County Commissioner for two terms, LeRoy held several key positions, among them chairmanship of the Budget Committee, membership on the Minority Affairs Committee, and active participation on the Essex County Planning Board. As the City Administrator of East Orange for seven years, he managed the city's $100 million operating budget, served as the primary liaison between Mayor and Council, and supervised ten department heads.

In 2012, LeRoy was appointed as a Commissioner of the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority by Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver. Moreover, he achieved a historic milestone by drafting the state’s landmark ban on racial profiling. Throughout his career, LeRoy has consistently advocated for racial, social, and economic justice, earning him a distinguished record in championing equality for all.

In June 2021, LeRoy was elected Chairman of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee. As a result of his exceptional leadership in promoting efforts to eradicate barriers and empower underrepresented groups, he has been credited with helping increase Democratic voter participation. This resulted in significant Democratic victories that significantly changed the state's political landscape. As a prominent figure in politics, he often appears on television or radio public opinion programs.

LeRoy earned a Master of Business Administration degree from New Jersey Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Seton Hall University, where he also taught public policy as an adjunct professor.  He resides in East Orange with his wife Jackie and their children.

Patrick Torpey



Pat brings extensive experience in both politics and policy to 1868 Public Affairs. For over 25 years he has played a prominent role in state-wide Republican politics and has served both houses of New Jersey’s legislature as Executive Director of the Assembly Republican Majority Committee, a Senior Research Associate for the Senate Majority, and a Senior Policy Advisor on the Assembly Republican staff.

During his tenure as the Executive Director of both houses of the New Jersey legislature, Pat served as the Senior Research Associate for the Senate Majority and as the Senior Policy Advisor for the Assembly Republican Party. Additionally, he served as a member of both the legislative and congressional redistricting committees from 2000 to 2010. He assisted in the design of a formal redistricting process, provided strategic advice on the creation of districts, and evaluated redistricting plans.

Whether it be promoting legislation establishing the New Jersey Energy Savings Improvement program, advocating for improvements in home health care, or engaging state departments in regulatory matters, Pat consistently has measurable success. In addition to Pat's deep understanding of public policy and real-world politics, he also has the ability to combine this knowledge with a unique set of experience that allows him to contribute to the decision-making process in New Jersey.

In addition, Pat has been involved in nonprofit initiatives for years, channeling time, resources, and expertise toward meaningful causes. By volunteering his time and skills to relevant projects, he has demonstrated his commitment to these efforts beyond financial contributions. Pat strives to make a tangible contribution to society through his involvement and by inspiring others to do the same.

Pat is a graduate of Middlebury College and holds a Master of Government Administration from the Fels School of Government at the University of Pennsylvania. He and his wife Nicole reside in Flemington with their son Liam.

Idida Rodriguez



Idida Rodriguez is a distinguished and accomplished government affairs professional. With more than 30 years of experience working in New Jersey's political environment, Idida has played a significant role in high-profile campaigns at all levels of government. A veteran in government relations, she specializes in political affairs, business development, redevelopment, legislative matters, and public policy.

Idida serves as the Managing Partner at 1868 Public Affairs, a prominent bipartisan full-service firm specializing in government and public affairs, legislative and regulatory affairs/monitoring, stakeholders’ mobilization planning, and communication strategy. Prior to joining 1868 Public Affairs, she held a variety of notable positions, including Chief of Staff for Assemblywoman Nellie Pou, Director of School-Based Youth Programs, instructor at NJIT's Consortium for Pre-College Education, and Community Capacity Building Lead for the Puerto Rican Association for Community Organizations (P.A.C.O.) in Jersey City.

Having considerable knowledge and experience in governmental functions, Idida has served on several boards, including the Paterson Parking Authority, Passaic Valley Water Commission’s Board, NJ Hispanic, New Jersey Real Estate Commission, and St. Paul's Community Development Corporation. Currently, she serves on the New Jersey Local Finance Board and the William Paterson University Board of Trustees.

Aside from her professional accomplishments, Idida has also received recognition for her leadership in politics, her status as a woman of achievement, and her philanthropic endeavors. As one of New Jersey's most influential figures in politics and government for seven consecutive years, Insider NJ and NJ Globe have recognized her on their 100 Power Lists and Women's Power List by former State Senator Loretta Weinberg for six years. Moreover, Idida has been recognized by government officials and leading civic and social service organizations, including the United States Senate and Congress, as well as the New Jersey State Legislature, through joint resolutions.

Experienced in a wide range of political, government, and corporate fields, Idida is frequently invited to participate in panels and deliver keynote addresses, sharing valuable insights, personal experiences, and actionable strategies. She has a particular focus on providing campaign training to young women considering running for public office, which she does during the annual Ready to Run non-partisan campaign training organized by the Rutgers University Center for American Women and Politics.

Motivated to deepen her own spiritual development, service to deepen her own spiritual development, serve others, and expand her understanding of diverse faiths, Idida attended One Spirit Interfaith Seminary in New York City. In 2012, she was ordained as an interfaith minister. To support the growth of communities and the attainment of higher education, Idida established IGNITE! “Catch The Fire'', a non-profit organization providing spiritual counseling, life-enhancing practices, short-term hardship assistance, and scholarships to young Latinas pursuing higher education.

Idida attended Douglass College in New Brunswick and graduated from William Paterson University in Wayne with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a minor in Business Administration.

Dan Smith

Senior Associate


Before joining 1868 Public Affairs, Dan served as Senior Advisor to New Jersey General Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin. In this role, he wielded significant influence over pivotal legislative decisions, handled public relations, and actively participated in complex budgetary processes. Additionally, he contributed to the development of landmark legislation, showcasing his skill in navigating the intricacies of government and policy.

With expertise in political strategy, public policy formulation, and effective advocacy, Dan has become a recognized specialist in grassroots advocacy strategies for the corporate public affairs industry. Additionally, he has served on numerous boards due to his extensive knowledge of government and legislative affairs, including the Mercer County Improvement Authority, the Coalition for Patient Rights and Safe Staffing, and Mercer County Central Labor Council. Currently, he serves on the William Penn Bank Advisory Board and the Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce.

A significant aspect of Dan's community service is his commitment to his beliefs and his desire to make a positive difference in the community. A former member of the Hamilton YMCA Advisory Board, he taught students about local, state, and federal governments in the afterschool program. Also, he was a long-time volunteer at the Joseph F. Cappello School, working with autistic children and other individuals who were intellectually disabled. The motivation behind his volunteerism goes beyond a simple act of goodwill, but also a sense of pride and an opportunity to set an example for others.

Dan has been recognized by NJBIZ, New Jersey's leading business publication, as one of the top Forty Under 40 and Top 100 New Jersey Millennials business professionals in 2023. Such recognition underscores his dynamic business acumen and strong leadership capabilities, which have been reshaping corporate affairs and public policy in New Jersey. Through his actions, Dan demonstrates that everyone is capable of making a positive contribution, regardless of their status. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and currently resides in Hamilton, NJ.

Al Harris

Senior Associate

Al Harris is an accomplished professional with extensive experience in government, politics, marketing, business, and public relations. He adds a wealth of knowledge and skill to 1868 Public Affairs, using his previous experience navigating the complex terrain of state and federal government. Furthermore, his comprehensive awareness of legislative procedures, political dynamics, and strategic planning helps him to effectively advocate for clients and obtain positive outcomes. He has a track record of successful collaborations and meaningful initiatives.

Over the course of his career, Al has gained more than 20 years of experience in public affairs, including 11 years as a partisan staff member of the New Jersey Senate and General Assembly. During this period, he served as Special Assistant to the Senate President, Special Assistant to the Assembly Speaker, and co-founder and Executive Director of the Legislative Black and Latino Caucus.

With a broad range of experience, Al was appointed as the Director of State Government Relations for the New Jersey Housing Finance and Mortgage Department as well as the Bureau of Census, Philadelphia Region, within the United States Department of Commerce. In both positions, he managed the intricacies of government, leveraging his expertise in data analytics and demographics.

Al attended Ewing Public Schools and Lawrenceville School before attending Columbia University, where he majored in history with a specialization in political science. As part of his passion for imparting knowledge and sharing expertise, Al has taught marketing courses in Bergen Community College and Mercer County Community College Continuing Education, as well as contributing to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority's Entrepreneur Training Institute (ETI). As a single parent, Al raised two wonderful children, Mercy Negrita and Albert Allen Jr. This experience has been his greatest challenge and accomplishment, demonstrating his dedication and resilience. In 2005 Al married Wanda Valdes, a kindergarten teacher from Brooklyn, New York. They share a deep commitment to family values, education, and community service, traits that have been central to their relationship and family life.

Wendy S. Martinez

Senior Associate

Wendy is a Senior Associate at 1868 Public Affairs, one of New Jersey's leading nonpartisan firms specializing in government and public affairs, legislative and regulatory affairs/monitoring, stakeholders' mobilization planning, strategic planning and communications. Wendy S Martinez is driven by her passion for innovation, equity, diversity, inclusion, and upward mobility, in her work with both private and public organizations.

With more than 15 years of experience in her industry, Wendy has developed effective engagement strategies that appeal to markets with a diverse range of linguistic, religious, and ethnic backgrounds.

Wendy's skills and abilities have enabled her to expand her professional career throughout the tri-state area. Among her most notable positions is that of Bergen County Director of the Office of Multicultural Community, Director of Policy and Communications to the Bergen County Board of Commissioners, Public and Media Relations Consultant for the first ever all hispanic themed exhibit at the Newark Museum in Collaboration with El Museo del Barrio, “Santos de Palos” in 1999, New York City and Public Information Assistant for the City of Newark.

Wendy, a veteran political consultant, has been recognized for her achievements, including being named one of New Jersey's most prominent political figures in the PolitickerNJ Power List in 2014 and 2015 and one of the 51 Most Influential Latinos in N.J. Politics in 2015. The NJ Chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists presented Wendy with the Community Excellence Award in 2020 and 2021. Wendy was recognized as a 2021 and 2022 People of Color and Women in Business Influencer by ROI-NJ Media Group, and she received the Latina Influencer Award from the New Jersey Center for Hispanic Policy Research and Development.

Over the course of her career and personal trajectory, Wendy has become an influential figure in the fields of women in politics, public policy, immigration, and faith-based and ethnic relations.Wendy has been inspired and motivated throughout her life by her faith in God, her love for family, her work ethic, and her responsibility to contribute to the development of communities.