W. Cary Edwards

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William Cary Edwards (July 20, 1944, Ridgewood, New Jersey – October 20, 2010, Oakland, New Jersey) was a New Jersey politician who served as the Attorney General of New Jersey from 1986 to 1989.


He was born on July 20, 1944 in Ridgewood, New Jersey. Edwards grew up in Bergen County, New Jersey and was raised Catholic by his mother, Virginia, who had converted to Roman Catholicism. His parents separated when he was 11. He and his siblings (a brother, James and a sister, Cheryl) moved with their mother to East Paterson (now Elmwood Park, New Jersey).[1] He graduated from St. Luke's High School in Ho-Ho-Kus, later studying business administration at Seton Hall University, where he graduated in 1967. He received his law degree from Seton Hall University School of Law in 1970 and was admitted to the New Jersey bar the same year.[2]

Edwards married Lynn Cozzolino around 1970. In 1974 they moved to Oakland, New Jersey, and a year later Edwards was elected councilman there. In 1977 he was elected to the New Jersey General Assembly. He would serve three terms in the Assembly and be named assistant minority leader. Thomas Kean served as Edwards' mentor in the Assembly, and when Kean became Governor of New Jersey in 1982, he selected Edwards as his chief counsel.[1]

Kean then named Edwards Attorney General, and he was sworn in on January 21, 1986, the day of Kean's second inauguration. As Attorney General, Edwards sought to increase the size of the Department of Law and Public Safety; initiated a new anti-drug program; instituted a task force to combat organized crime; planned a virtual overhaul of the Division of Motor Vehicles; and confronted problems such as insurance fraud and state land use planning.[2] Edwards ran for Governor of New Jersey in 1989, losing to Jim Courter in the Republican primary. He ran again in 1993, losing out to Christine Todd Whitman, who went on to victory in the general election. In 1995, Edwards opened his own private practice law firm, Edwards & Caldwell, where he worked until 2008.[3]

In 1997 Whitman named Edwards to the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation, and in 2004 Governor Richard Codey appointed him chairman of the commission.[4]


Edwards died at his home in Oakland, New Jersey from cancer on October 20, 2010, aged 66. He was survived by his wife and their two daughters.[5]

New Jersey General Assembly
Preceded by
John A. Spizziri
New Jersey State Assemblyman - District 40
Succeeded by
Nicholas Felice
Legal offices
Preceded by
Irwin I. Kimmelman
Attorney General of New Jersey
Succeeded by
Peter N. Perretti, Jr.


  1. ^ a b "On the Road With Cary Edwards". The New York Times, April 25, 1993; accessed March 20, 2008
  2. ^ a b Official bio, Office of the Attorney General of New Jersey. Accessed March 20, 2008
  3. ^ "W. Cary Edwards, New Jersey Public Servant, Dies at 66". New York Times. Associated Press. October 20, 2010. Retrieved October 21, 2010.
  4. ^ "Codey Creates a Watchdog Agency on Waste and Fraud". The New York Times, November 30, 2004; accessed March 20, 2008
  5. ^ "Ex-N.J. AG Cary Edwards, probed EZ-Pass"
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