William J. Pascrell, Jr. was born on January 25, 1937 in Paterson, Passaic County, New Jersey and has lived there all of his life. He was first sworn in to the United States House of Representatives, representing the Eighth Congressional District of New Jersey, in November of 1996 and was sworn into his seventh term in January of 2009.
He graduated from St. John the Baptist High School; B.A., Fordham University, New York, N.Y., 1959; M.A., Fordham University, New York, N.Y., 1961; United States Army, 1961-1962; United States Army Reserve, 1962-1967; teacher; president, Paterson, N.J., board of education, 1979-1982; member of the New Jersey state general assembly, 1988-1996; elected minority leader pro tempore; mayor of Paterson, N.J., 1990-1996; elected as a Democrat to the One Hundred Fifth and to the six succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1997-present).
The grandson of Italian immigrants, Bill graduated in 1955 from St. John the Baptist High School, where he was elected Student Council President. Following graduation, Bill attended Fordham University in New York, receiving a Bachelor's degree in Journalism and a Master's degree in Philosophy. He is a veteran of the United States Army and the Army Reserve, having received an honorable discharge in 1967.
Bill began his professional career as a high school teacher in New Jersey, where he taught for 12 years. He was appointed to the Paterson Board of Education, and served thereafter as President of the Board. He was an adjunct professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Additionally, Bill served for seven years on the Board of Trustees of Passaic County Community College . In 1987, he was elected to the New Jersey General Assembly. He eventually was elevated to the position of Minority Leader Pro Tempore. In 1990, Bill was elected Mayor of Paterson, New Jersey's third largest city. Bill’s efforts, both as a Mayor and Assemblyman, were recognized in 1996 as he was named New Jersey’s "Mayor of the Year" by his fellow Mayors, and "Legislator of the Year" by the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce.
At the start of the 110th session on Congress, Bill was selected by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to serve on the exclusive Ways and Means Committee. Created in 1789, Ways and Means is the oldest standing Committee in Congress. Bill is the first member from New Jersey to serve on the committee in over ten years. Additionally, Bill serves on the House Committee on Homeland Security which was created to oversee the implementation of the landmark Homeland Security Act of 2002.
In March of 2003, Bill was chosen by his House Democratic colleagues to be a Regional Whip within the Democratic Caucus leadership team. In his role as Regional Whip, Congressman Pascrell helps frame the Democratic Caucus’ policy agenda in the House of Representatives. Bill serves as a liaison between his colleagues and the Democratic Caucus leadership.
Bill is the co-Chairman and founder of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force. He is also the co-Chairman of the Italian-American Congressional Delegation.
The Congressman is married to the former Elsie Marie Botto and they have three children, William III, Glenn Martin, and David Joseph. Bill and Elsie are also the proud grandparents of William IV, Christopher and Megan Margaret.