Tom Roughneen

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Tom Roughneen was a Republican candidate for the 7th Congressional District of New Jersey

Tom Roughneen was a Republican candidate in the 2008 congressional elections for the 7th Congressional District (map) of New Jersey. He was seeking the Republican nomination to replace incumbent Rep. Mike Ferguson (R-N.J.).



Thomas Roughneen, Esq.

Major, USAR, JAG Corps

Republican attorney Tom Roughneen of Watchung, twice awarded the Bronze Star for his Army service in Iraq, Army defense lawyer, and former Essex and Union Counties Assistant Prosecutor, has an exploratory committee to replace incumbent Rep. Mike Ferguson (R-NJ) for the 7th Congressional District in New Jersey. The primary will take place in June 2008. The 38-year-old Watchung resident is one of the Republicans seeking their party's nomination for Congress in the 7th district, which includes parts of Somerset, Hunterdon, Middlesex and Union counties. Tom has a unique method of finding political exposure by literally running through his voting demographic to gain support.

Roughneen, a political neophyte, doesn't expect to get any county endorsements. He's been told that he has to pay his dues before running, but considers his nearly 20 years of military service just that. And he has governmental experience in Iraq, where he helped install Abdul Rahman Mustafa as governor of the northern, oil rich province of Kirkuk, and worked as his chief-of-staff for a time.

Roughneen is solidly pro-life, except in cases of rape or when the mother's life is in danger. The son of blue collar Irish immigrants, Roughneen said that he's pro-business but also pro-union. He's worked as a defense lawyer for Guantanamo detainees, and doesn't believe that the Bush Administration has treated them fairly.

An Army defense lawyer, Roughneen also was part of Operation Iraqi Freedom as a civil affairs captain in the U.S. Army Reserves, working to build government in the northern city of Kirkuk. He also spent 10 years as an assistant prosecutor in Union and Essex counties, and is "of counsel" with Timothy R. Smith & Associates in South Orange.

Roughneen said he wants to legislate that federal agencies submit a 0.5-percent cut in their budget every year. Roughneen, an army major, is a reservist. In 2007, he was married to Dr. Alice Tzeng of Runnells Specialized and Overlook Hospitals. He and his three brothers all served in Iraq and, just before his latest call-up, organized an effort to help National Guard families.

2008 elections

Roughneen was seeking the Republican nomination to challenge for Rep. Mike Ferguson's (R-N.J.) vacant seat in the 2008 congressional elections.[1][2]

Money in politics

Information on this candidate's 2008 fundraising is not yet available. Stay tuned for live feeds of data from the Center for Responsive Politics' site.

Committees and affiliations


Roughneen will be assigned committees if and when he is elected to Congress.


- Enlisted in 1988

- NJ Army National Guard, Basic Training at Fort Dix

- Office of Military Commissions, Major, Army JAG Defense Counsel, Washington DC

- U.S. Army Reserves, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Civil Affairs Captain, awarded 2 Bronze Stars.

- Defense Language Institute, Russian Basic Course, Presidio of Monterey, CA, Captain

- New Jersey Army National Guard, NJ, Field Artillery, Captain

Community Service

- New Jersey National Guard State Family Readiness Council, Member

- 73rd Newark St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee, Second Vice Chairman

- Union County Saint Patrick's Day Parade Committee, Cultural Chairman

- Rutgers Alumni Association, Class Reunion Co-Chairman and Class Correspondent

- Seton Hall School of Law Alumni Association, Newark, NJ, Member

- Irish Traditional and Classical Violin


- Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies, Masters, 2007

- Seton Hall University School of Law, Juris Doctorate, 1995

- Rutgers College, Bachelor of Arts, 1991


"I am running because my Irish-immigrant parents instilled in me the value of serving others. I joined the military 20 years ago at the age of 19 to serve my country. I was an assistant prosecutor in Essex and Union counties for 10 years serving the community and its victims. I continue to serve as an Army reserve JAG officer. I am also an Iraq war combat veteran. What government experience do I have? Upon the conclusion of the major offensive combat operations, I was the full-time government leader of the Kirkuk Government province. Within months we accomplished our mission and turned over the leadership of the Council and Governorship to local Iraqis: Shia's, Sunni Arabs, and Kurds who had never cooperated with each other before. The team I led even persuaded the village leaders to open the first ever girls' secondary school in that region."

"I'm in the rear view mirror right now, but I'm coming on strong,"

"I don't think I fall into traditional categories very easily,"

"I understand what it means to have a job and to make ends meet, and I believe that I reach out to the voters out there who deep down may be Republicans but have a hard time identifying with our party not because of principles but because of the candidates,"

"What I'm tired of is the same old, same old politicians and their progeny ... doing the same old things and cutting the same deals, be that in D.C. or be that in New Jersey, raising taxes and making life in America and specifically in New Jersey unliveable,"

"And then it's up to the executive (president), and Congress can hold his feet to the fire, or her feet to the fire, to exercise those cuts as necessary, and that doesn't exclude the Department of Defense, either," Roughneen said. "As a 20-year veteran, I know that there's plenty of waste in the Department of Defense and that their bureaucracy keeps sprawling into Virginia further and further along past where the Pentagon actually sits."

More background data


Thomas Roughneen, Esq.

P.O. Box 7386 Watchung, NJ 07069


Articles and resources

See also


  1. 2008 Race Tracker page on New Jersey's 7th Congressional District
  2. Official Tom Roughneen for Congress website

External resources


External articles