Diane Allen started her career covering the New Jersey Legislature as a journalist. Those days as a radio reporter launched a career in TV and public relations, which took her to Philadelphia and Chicago, before she ran for a seat in the same legislature she had once covered. “When I left anchoring in Philadelphia, I had both political parties come and ask me to run in New Jersey,” Allen says. As a journalist, “I thought that was a feather in my cap that they didn’t know what party I belonged to.”
Allen opted to run as a Republican in a Democratic district. She won a spot in the Assembly, then quickly moved to the Senate, where, two decades later, she is the deputy minority leader.
Despite her leadership spot, Allen is not afraid to vote against her party or her Republican governor, whom she recently opposed on a deal to hike the state’s gasoline tax. Allen is especially focused on veterans’ issues because her district houses a joint Army, Navy and Air Force base. She has also traveled the country as a former chair for the nonpartisan National Foundation for Women Legislators to encourage more women from both sides of the aisle to run for office.