Alex Torpey is a New Jersey based entrepreneur and public servant.
Sworn into a four year term as the 48th Village President of South Orange in May 2011 as the youngest mayor in New Jersey at the time, he was the youngest in South Orange's history. Alex's four-year term lasted until May 18th, 2015, when, as his last act as Village President, he swore in South Orange's first female Village President, Sheena Collum, whom he had supported in the election. Alex has become a leading voice on millennial civics leadership, technology, good governance, and transparency in government as well as small business innovation.
Alex is an visiting professor of governance and technology at Seton Hall University, as well as a James Madison Fellow at the Millennial Action Project and on the Advisory Board of the New Jersey New Leaders Council. Alex currently researches, writes and speaks, as well as provides independent consulting services to organizations committed to making government work better and getting more people involved in governance, especially running for office, for example as Program Director for Run for America, and formerly as a Civic Technology and Data Consultant with Living Cities.
Alex founded and was a managing partner of Veracity Media, a non-partisan social-impact digital strategies consulting firm that helps nonprofits, political candidates and governments utilize digital media tools and grow their ability for impact through strategic development and growth. Veracity Media has been recognized on numerous occasions for its innovative approach to digital organizing and social impact vision and mission statements, which have allowed the company to launch unique "Social Impact Projects," allowing team members to get directly involved in education, outreach and advocacy on issues important to them. Veracity Media's vision is to advance -- at local, state, national, and global levels -- a body politic that supports free and open discourse; equity of educational, economic and political opportunity; protections of human and civil rights; sustainability; and economic and cultural freedom and advancement. Alex left Veracity Media in 2015, and has been providing independent management, organizational development, governance and technology to governments, organizations and companies since, in addition to his adjunct faculty, lecture and writing activities commitments.
Alex acquired his B.A. in the Political Science of American Law and Government from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, where he served as student government president for two years, while working for the school newspaper, radio station and serving on a number of other boards and committees. He also founded Hampshire’s Public Safety and Health Committee, Hampshire’s tennis team, and helped with the founding of the Department of Public Safety’s student security program. Alex’s course of study at Hampshire included looking at political science, legal philosophy, behavioral economics, public policy and anthropology. His senior thesis "Breaking Taboo" was a 14 month research project on the history and implications of alcohol policy in the United States, which included organizing a Five College conference on tackling alcohol abuse problems on college campuses, which gained recognition from many nationwide experts in the field of substance abuse and alcohol policies and resulted in change to campus policies at Hampshire. Alex's thesis advisory board comprised of Hampshire College President Ralph Hexter and Assistant Professor of Legal Studies Jennifer Hamilton (co-chairs) and Martha Umphrey, professor of law, jurisprudence and social thought at Amherst College. Alex's thesis won Hampshire's Earl Ubell Award for explaining scientific findings to a broader audience as part of his thesis. In 2013, Alex completed his Master of Public Administration in emergency management at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
In 2012, Alex also launched Rethink Leadership, a nonpartisan initiative aimed at inspiring and supporting young and otherwise nontraditional political candidates to run for office as a way to positively benefit their community. The goal of Rethink Leadership is to not only help encourage people towards greater civics participation, but also to help create a more collaborative political environment through local workshops, seminars and networking events. In 2014, Rethink Leadership was re-launched as a "Social Impact Project" by Veracity Media, allowing the initiative greater financial sustainability while focusing its efforts and resources on the job of changing how young people view government service.
As one of the country's most vocal elected officials on open government and the need for greater technological innovation, especially in local government, Alex has lectured, published articles, and regularly attends conferences on the subject. Alex has spoken at the Barnes Foundation, Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics, POLITICO and POLITICO Pro, Emerging Local Government Leaders, the Belfast Technology Conference, Personal Democracy Forum, the National Constitution Center, Social Media Week NYC & LA, and at colleges and community groups across the region. Alex has been awarded several open government awards and accolades, including from the New Jersey American Civil Liberties Union and the New Jersey Foundation for Open Government for his initiatives to make government more transparent, which you can read about on the Open Government page.
Alex’s service to his hometown of South Orange includes serving on the South Orange Public Library Board, the Citizen’s Public Safety Committee, and as the volunteer Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Coordinator. Alex is currently an active member and EMT at the South Orange Rescue Squad, which he has been with since 2010, as well as was the Village's Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Coordinator while he was in office.
Alex's passion for public service extends far beyond transparency in government and his work to bring fiscal restraint, more economic investment, and lower crime rates and better emergency preparedness to South Orange. He had the opportunity in his capacity as mayor to officiate one of the first legal same-sex marriage in the history of the State of New Jersey in October of 2013 by opening up South Orange's town hall at midnight on the first day that same-sex marriage was legally accepted, and has been a vocal advocate for marriage equality before and since. Alex is also deeply passionate about increasing peoples' access to quality education, greater economic and political opportunity and is committed to working towards reforming political and electoral processes to allow a wider group of people to have the opportunity to serve in government to help re-shape American governance to be a global example for better governance.
Alex is an avid reader, writer, hiker, photographer, hobby tennis player and drummer who can often be found in his (theoretical) free time camped out in the local Starbucks or coffeeshop with a stack of books about constitutional government, history or quantum physics or engrossed in the latest TED talk or riding his motorcycle on the open road.global model for innovative democracy.
A graduate of Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey, he and his family lived in Maplewood for 10 years before moving to South Orange in 1998.