Roukema, Marge, 1929-2014

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Margaret "Marge" Roukema (née Scafati; September 19, 1929 – November 12, 2014) was an American educator and politician. A member of the Republican Party, she represented New Jersey in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1981 to 2003.

Born in Newark, Nerw Jersey, she earned a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Montclair State College in 1951 and then pursued graduate studies there. In 1975 she did graduate work in city and regional planning at Rutgers University. She worked as a high school teacher in American history and government before marrying Richard W. Roukema, a psychiatrist. Her first public service position was on the board of education in Ridgewood, New Jersey, where she served from 1970 to 1973. She became active in local party politics as the first woman elected president of the Ridgewood Republican Club in 1977 and 1978. In 1977 she supported Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Kean, first as a volunteer before quickly rising to become his campaign coordinator in 30 towns. In 1978, she challenged Democrat Andrew Maguire for his U.S. House seat, losing by a six-point margin.

In 1980, Roukema challenged Maguire again; aided by the strong turnout for Republican Presidential nominee Ronald Reagan, Roukema emerged victorious. a moderate Republican, she worked with her party to lower costs and limit federal spending while generally tending to cross party lines to vote with Democrats on social issues. Her biggest legislative achievement was the passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, a bill that Roukema and Democrat Patricia Schroeder of Colorado had worked on for years. The legislation required large companies to extend unpaid leave to new parents, workers who had a disability, and those caring for chronically ill relatives.

In November 2001, Roukema announced that she would not seek re-election to a twelfth term. At the time of her retirement in January 2003, Roukema was the dean of her state delegation and the dean of the women Members. She returned to New Jersey where she served on the boards of several nonprofits dedicated to children’s issues. She also lectured about politics at several universities. Roukema suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease and died on November 12, 2014, at the age of 85, in Wyckoff, New Jersey.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Dean A. Gallo Congressional Papers, 1982-1994, bulk 1984-1994 Rutgers Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn League of Women Voters of New Jersey Records Rutgers Special Collections and University Archives
referencedIn Russell J. Mueller Papers, 1971-1998, (bulk 1993-1995) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Roukema, Marge, 1929-. Marge Roukema : commercials , 1984. University of Oklahoma, Political Community Archives
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
correspondedWith Gallo, Dean Anderson, 1935-1994 person
alumnusOrAlumnaOf Montclair state college corporateBody
associatedWith Mueller, Russell J. person
almaMaterOf Rutgers University corporateBody
memberOf United States. Congress. House person
associatedWith University of Oklahoma. Political Commercial Archive. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Montclair NJ US
Wyckoff NJ US
Newark NJ US
Ridgewood NJ US
Advertising, political
Radio advertising
Representatives, U.S. Congress--New Jersey


Birth 1929-09-19

Death 2014-11-12






Ark ID: w6rn53kz

SNAC ID: 3139415