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Eagleton Institute of Politics
Eagleton Institute of Politics


Eagleton Faculty, Staff and Visiting Associates


Rick Thigpen is vice president, state governmental affairs for Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), the parent company of PSE&G.  He is responsible for state and local government relations in support of business operations in all states where PSEG operates (NJ, DE, NY, CT and MD).  He also chairs the board of the PSEG Foundation and actively participates in setting its charitable giving strategy and seeking to enhance PSEG's reputation as a strong corporate citizen. Thigpen has extensive experience in public policy as well as developing political and campaign strategies, mobilizing grassroots constituencies and analyzing public opinion.

Prior to joining PSEG, Thigpen was a co-founder and principal in 1868 Public Affairs, a bi-partisan, Trenton-based public affairs consulting group. Before joining 1868, he served as executive director of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee, the first African-American to serve in that capacity.  His duties included overseeing the 1996 and 1997 statewide coordinated campaigns.  In 1996, he helped establish the base vote program, a get-out-the vote and voter identification program that improved voter turnout in critical Democratic areas around the state and is still in use today.

Thigpen's previous experience also included serving as the district director for Rep. Donald Payne, Sr. (D-10) and aide to Assemblyman Willie Brown (D-29), the minority leader. He has also been public affairs assistant to the president of the New Jersey NAACP State Conference, a Democratic consultant to the state legislative and congressional redistricting commissions, an academic associate for PublicMind (polling and survey research institute at Fairleigh Dickinson University) and a political analyst for NJN News.

Thigpen's legal experience includes serving as an associate at the Manhattan law firm of Thacher Proffitt & Wood, as counsel to underwriters engaged in the purchase and sale of pools of mortgage loans, and as the attorney for the Zoning and Planning Boards for the City of East Orange. Thigpen holds a B.A. in political science from Brown University and a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law.