Joseph Makhandal Champagne

Chairman of the National Haitian-American Elected Officials Network (NHAEON.)

Joseph Makhandal Champagne is currently a Democratic County Commissioner in Ocean County. On November 2, 2008, he became the first Haitian-American elected in the history of the State of New Jersey when he won the race for council seat in South Toms River. On November 2, 2010, he became the first popularly elected mayor of African descent in Ocean County’s history and the first Haitian-American elected mayor in the State of New Jersey. Mayor Champagne is committed and passionate about serving his constituency and community.

Mayor Champagne holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a concentration on pre- medicine from Columbia University (where he received a full academic scholarship). Upon graduation, Mr. Champagne returned to Brooklyn to teach Environmental and Earth Science along with Mathematics at Sarah J. Hale, his former High School. A year later, he attended Georgetown University, Law Center’s Charles Hamilton Houston Pre-law Institute program, where he won the Best Respondent Advocate award of class of 1999. Mayor Champagne earned his Juris Doctor degree from Vermont Law School (VLS). While at VLS, asides from being on Deans’ List, he founded The Vermont Law Student Leadership Collective for Human Rights, a campus wide student group that identifies and promotes student leadership talents. As an exchange student, Mayor Champagne also studied European Union Law in Italy at the Universidad Di Trento, School of Law.

Upon graduation, Mayor Champagne served as a Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable Wendell E. Daniels, J.S.C., of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Ocean County. Mayor Champagne practices in New Jersey and focuses primarily on immigration, estate planning, and family law. Mr. Champagne is a member of the Ocean County Bar Association and New Jersey Bar Association. He is admitted to practice law in the New Jersey Supreme Court, the United States District Court, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals of the United States of America.

He serves on several advisory committees, including but not limited to Alternative Dispute Resolution, Law Day, and Monmouth County Judiciary Advisory Committee on Minority Concerns. He is a board member of Ocean Community Economic Action Now, (O.C.E.A.N., Inc.), a community agency that provides comprehensive services to improve the quality of life of individuals and assist them in moving toward self-sufficiency. Mayor Champagne is the General Counsel of The Global Syndicate. He is a member of Haitian- American Leadership Council (HALEC.) Mayor Champagne is the Chairman of the National Haitian-American Elected Officials Network (NHAEON.) In the past, while residing in Washington, D.C., he served as an assistant to the Public Policy Counsel and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. He is an Ambassador for Peace for the Universal Peace Federation, The Ambassador of goodwill for Jeremie and the Nation of Islam to Haiti. He is the Cordinator General of a humanitarian movement in Haiti called Respect for Life Foundation.

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