For over a decade, 32-year-old New Jersey native Joe Forte has been working in state government. Throughout his professional career, Forte, a proud member of the LGBTQ community, has been praised for his collaborative team-work, community outreach and ability to lead others.
“I think that being LGBTQ+ has taught me the importance of coalition building with other communities (not just LGBTQ). We are all in this together,” Forte said. “There have been times when I am the only LGBTQ+ person at the table, and you have to navigate various interactions or issues that may occur with competing priorities. Politics is all about the allocation of resources. So when you are involved with something, I try to think about my relationships and how I can best help others and my community.”
To understand Forte’s career, it is important to first note his academic accomplishments. From Rutgers University he holds a master’s of public administration degree and a certificate in strategic communications. Forte also has a master’s of science degree from Northeastern University in international affairs and completed a certificate in diversity and inclusion from Cornell University.
He received his B.A. in global Ssudies from Rider University with a certificate in leadership development. He is pursuing a certificate in human resource management from Drexel University.
“I always knew I wanted to work in public service as my sister is disabled, which always inspired me to help others,” Forte said.
In 2013, Forte started as an intern for New Jersey’s General Assembly and he worked his way up to outreach director, deputy chief of staff, and then eventually chief of staff. In his role, Forte worked as the key contact between elected officials, lobbyists, advocacy organizations, state agencies and other legislative services.
In January 2018, Forte worked in the Office of Gov. Phil Murphy as a project specialist in the Department of Cabinet Affairs. That same year, in March, he joined the New Jersey Civil Service Commission (CSC).
Like his time in the General Assembly, Forte worked his way up in the CSC and eventually became a human resource consultant for the Office of Diversity Programs.
Since December 2021, Forte has continued pushing the limits of his outreach and career and began working for the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DOL), as administrative analyst for the Office of Diversity and Compliance.
To top all of his career accomplishments, Forte has also interwoven a number of personal recognitions for his success.
In 2020, Forte was appointed co-chair of LGBTQ+ for Biden/Harris New Jersey. In that role, he assisted in fundraising, writing press releases supporting the Biden/Harris ticket, and organizing volunteers into battle states for the campaign. “This was a great opportunity,” Forte said.
Following that appointment, in 2021, Forte was honored with serving as New Jersey’s co-event-Chair for U.S. President Joe Biden’s Presidential Inaugural Committee National Day of Service Event. That same year, Forte was named one of Business Equality Magazine’s 2021 40 under 40.
All of these previous accomplishments have led him to today in 2022. This year, Forte was appointed chair of the Lawrence Township Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.
Forte is also currently a national member of the Victory Fund Campaign Board, which recruits, trains, and fundraises for LGBTQ candidates running for public office. Additionally, he is the vice chair of the New Jersey LGBTQ Democratic Caucus alongside Lauren Albrecht.
“Lauren and I support LGBTQ Democrats running for office and allies by way of fundraising, campaigning, and networking. We also internally serve the Democratic State Committee (DSC) on LGBTQ issues such as diversity and inclusive practices,” Forte said. “Lauren is one of the hardest working people I have ever met! We make a great team.”
With 2023 right around the corner, Forte has no plans of slowing down. Although he’d like to settle down and have a family sometime in the future, for now, he is focused on running to be an elected official.
“I would like to run for office in the future,” Forte said. “Public service is a part of who I am. I love giving back to my community and hope to continue that.”