Republican state Sen. Anthony Bucco has died at the age of 81.
A long-serving Trenton lawmaker, Bucco got his start in politics in 1978 as alderman and later as mayor of Boonton before he was elected to the Morris County Board of Freeholders.
He went on to the state Assembly in 1995 and was elected to the Senate three years later.
He is survived by his son, Assembly member Anthony Bucco.
We called them senior and junior, but technically they weren’t. They had different middle names.
Anthony R. Bucco was the father and a state senator. Anthony M. Bucco is the son, and an assemblyman in the same district.
Sen. Bucco was a solid Republican. He voted against taxes and regulation as consistently as anyone.
I visited him once at the small factory he operated in Paterson. He made industrial adhesives there, as I recall. Tapes, glues. Behind his desk was a display case on the wall containing all his products. Little boxes, packets. Each with its own name and logo.
Suddenly all those “no” votes in the Legislature came into focus for me. This man had products to sell to other businesses, and the government was getting in the way.
Tony Bucco obviously had another streak in him because he served in public office for many years. He’ll be remembered as the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee.
But I’ll also remember that display case, and the man who proudly showed it off to me.