Raised to Respect Working Families: Troy Singleton

Whether taking up the trade, attending college, or both, children from union homes gain a lifelong educational legacy of understanding working families.

That knowledge is the foundation for the career of New Jersey State Assemblyman Troy Singleton, D-7th legislative district, a member of United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC) Millwright Local 715 and president of the New Jersey Carpenter-Contractor Trust (NJCCT), a labor-management partnership that promotes union construction.

Singleton learned the lessons of living and working union from his father, Elijah Singleton Jr., a 37-year Teamster.

“My childhood was spent learning the value and benefits of organized labor from my dad,” said Singleton. “His involvement in the union provided us with a solid middle-class upbringing that valued an honest day's pay for an honest day's effort. Those values shape my life as an elected official and as a citizen.”

“His example—of never looking for a shortcut because it takes hard work to succeed—motivates me every day of my life,” Singleton said.

While committed to the union cause, Singleton’s work for New Jersey taxpayers has allowed him to serve in a variety of legislative, government affairs, political and policy posts.

“The people I understand best, who are at the forefront of my legislative agenda, are always the average citizen and working families,” Singleton said.

Budget, Policy Expertise Fuel Political Rise

On graduating from Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J., with a degree in business administration, he began a fast rise in state politics, developing policy and budget expertise in health care, veteran’s affairs, and transportation, as well as managing political campaigns.

In early 2006, Singleton became deputy executive director of the New Jersey General Assembly Majority Office. His experience and personal style—he was once described as “the guy who gets things done, without excuses”—led to his selection in 2007 as director of Policy and Planning for the New Jersey (now Northeast) Regional Council Carpenters (NRCC), where he focused on the legislative agenda that affected workers and their families.

“Troy understands how the public and private sectors have to work together to create real jobs and solve real problems,” says former New Jersey Assembly Speaker Joe Roberts. “He is among the best-prepared individuals ever elected to the NJ State Legislature. He has a nonstop can-do attitude and is a true problem solver.”

Singleton takes special pride in having helped create and pass one of the nation’s most comprehensive reforms of worker misclassification and rampant employer payroll fraud in the construction industry.  

Singleton understands that numerous and varied coalition are needed to influence a legislative agenda. But he is also aware that those outside of the political mainstream often need a role model to remind them that possibilities exist for everyone.

“I’m happy to serve as a role model, but I’m also aware that while I’m a person of color, I represent people of all colors,” he said.

In 2010, he was named NJCCT president.

 “Troy has risen to great heights at a young age because of his honesty, hard work, and his affinity for the people he serves, whether they are his union brothers and sisters or members of his constituency,” said Mike Capelli, NRCC Executive Secretary-Treasurer.

“But Troy adds something extra,” Capelli added. “He identifies with people of all walks of life and understands government's impact on

“Union values shape my life as an elected official and as a citizen.”

N.J. Assemblyman Troy Singleton

carpenters and our concerns. He has never forgotten his union roots and digs in to find a fair solution to all issues.”

Singleton’s commitment to working families rests firmly within his own.  A husband and father of three, he has volunteered with Boys and Girls Club of Camden County and the Garden State Arts Foundation; as a youth football coach; for Habitat for Humanity  (photos); as a member of the Trenton Civilian Emergency Response Team; and as a member of the board of trustees for his alma mater.

 There is a stereotype of politicians that once elected, they’re only concerned about what they can do to get re-elected. Singleton dismisses such portrayals.

“I wake up each day, look at my to-do list and calendar and ask myself, ‘Does this agenda promote and protect the interests of my constituents?’ I feel good about that, especially when I know that in some way I can have an impact,” he said.

“My dad was right—there are no shortcuts. But serving people that you care about is not a bad way to spend the day… or the rest of your life.”

Learn more about Troy Singleton by visiting www.TroySingleton.com.