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Center on the American Governor > Video Library > Individual Interviews > Interviews with William J. Hamilton, Jr.

Interviews with William J. Hamilton, Jr.

William J. Hamilton, Jr. served in both houses of the New Jersey Legislature, including as Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly for the 1977 session. After receiving a B.A. degree from Rutgers University in 1954, he served in the United States Navy, rising to the rank of Lieutenant, Junior Grade. In 1960 he received a J.D. from Georgetown University. He moved to Florida, where he was a law clerk for a U.S. District Court judge (1960-61) and an assistant United States attorney (1962-67). Hamilton returned to New Brunswick, becoming a partner in the law firm of Hamilton and Mulligan and served as New Brunswick director of municipal civil defense and disaster control in 1970. The following year he was elected to the General Assembly from the 19th Legislative District in Middlesex and Somerset Counties. Hamilton served three terms, becoming assistant majority leader in 1974; majority leader for the 1976 session; and Speaker in January 1977, following the election of incumbent Joseph A. LeFante to the United States House of Representatives. In 1977, he was elected to the State Senate, replacing John A. Lynch, Sr., in 1977. In 1981, rather than run for reelection to the Senate, he sought the Democratic nomination for Governor, finishing tenth in a field of thirteen in the primary election. When his Senate term ended in 1982, he was succeeded in the 19th District senate seat by John A. Lynch, Jr. and he returned to his New Brunswick law practice. Hamilton married Barbara Brown in 1958, and the couple had four children. Hamilton died in October 2019 at the age of 86.


Interview on June 6, 2006


Interview on June 29, 2009