Upper Freehold resident named director of Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics

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Micah Rasmussen of Upper Freehold Township has been named the new director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics. The institute is located at Rider University, Lawrenceville. Rasmussen is a 1992 Rider graduate.

Rasmussen brings more than 26 years of experience in political, governmental and public communication and has spent more than 15 years as an adjunct professor of political science, according to a press release from the university.

“Micah’s breadth of experience and extensive network inside the State House and out is poised to help expand the awareness and mission of the Rebovich Institute,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs DonnaJean A. Fredeen.

As press secretary to Gov. James McGreevey, Rasmussen served as the spokesman and primary media relations official during the governor’s historic resignation, one of New Jersey’s most memorable political crises, according to the press release.

He has also led political campaigns for state Senate and U.S. Congress, and assisted in addressing New Jersey’s traffic problems as the communications director for the state Department of Transportation.

Most recently, Rasmussen has contributed his expertise as vice president of executive communication for the Chubb Corporation, working with senior executives of the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurer to meet their internal and external communications needs, according to the press release.

Rasmussen earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science, cum laude, from Rider, where he wrote his honors thesis on the New Jersey state Legislature for the Baccalaureate Honors Program, and a Master of Arts in political science from Rutgers University’s Eagleton Institute of Politics.

He credits David Rebovich, who founded the institute he now leads, as helping him to launch into his career. Specifically, Rebovich facilitated Rasmussen’s first political internship, working on a state Senate campaign as an undergraduate.

“Dr. Rebovich was a mentor who played an outsized role in shaping the direction of my career,” Rasmussen said. “I couldn’t be happier to be back at Rider and have the opportunity to influence students in a positive and lasting way, just as I was at Rider, and lead the efforts to fulfill the mission of the institute launched by Dr. Rebovich.”

Founded in 2001 by Professor David Rebovich (1949–2007), the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics is dedicated to public service and scholarly analysis of government, public policy, campaigns and elections in New Jersey, according to the press release.

An integral component of the institute’s success is the active participation of Rider students, including research projects, internships, service learning, job placement and overall career development, according to the press release.

In addition to his duties as director, Rasmussen will serve as an adjunct professor in Rider’s Department of Political Science. For the past 13 years he has taught state, county and local government at Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, as well as courses at Cumberland and Atlantic Cape community colleges.

He runs New Jersey Model Congress, a civics education program he founded, and regularly assigns projects that task students with identifying problems in their communities and working with public officials to address them. Student efforts have resulted in the restoration of city parks and the construction of new skate parks, as well as fixed potholes and extended library hours, among other accomplishments.

“My goal is to bring that kind of tangible, engaged learning to the Rebovich Institute, where students can learn the practical difference they can make in the civic life of their communities, counties and states,” Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen’s work experience also includes serving as the director of corporate communications for New Jersey Resources and its primary subsidiary, New Jersey Natural Gas. In the wake of superstorm Sandy, he led the crisis communications that kept affected customers, public officials and the media informed throughout widespread system damage, according to the press release.

He lives with his wife and three daughters in Upper Freehold Township, where he advocates for the preservation of the state’s open space and farmland.