NJ Assembly Speaker Coughlin Gets Firsthand Look At Equine Studies

NJ Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin walks Randy around while data is recorded

New Jersey State Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin visited the Rutgers University Equine Exercise Physiology Lab on Monday and got a hands-on look at some of the work done by the Rutgers Equine Science program.

Speaker Coughlin’s visit, which included a fundraiser and brunch, was hosted by the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey and the state’s Standardbred industry’s political action committee TrotPAC.

As part of his visit, Speaker Coughlin toured the Equine Exercise Physiology Lab, watched 19-year-old pacing mare Jolee perform on the lab’s high-speed treadmill, and participated in a demonstration of the facility’s equipment used to study of the effects of equine-assisted services on veterans with PTSD. Speaker Coughlin even led his equine “research partner” Randy around the lab.

“It was neat to have Speaker Coughlin lead the mare around,” said Dr. Karyn Malinowski, founding director of the Equine Science Center at Rutgers. “He was a pro.

“I think he was surprisingly happy to see we had this kind of agriculture here in New Brunswick, and it was a good opportunity to get the word out about what we do. The cool thing is that we have students engaged; they learn, they become scientists, and we’re benefiting the horse and the equine industry.”

Monday’s event with Speaker Coughlin was the third of its kind to introduce the assemblyman to the many aspects of the equine industry in New Jersey.

His first visit to any equine facility in the state came in 2019 when he attended an SBOANJ event at Fair Winds Farm and the Hogan Equine Clinic. Last May, he spent a morning at Gaitway Farm Training Center, where he toured the grounds, talked with horsemen and horsewomen, and even climbed into a double-seated jog cart for a trip around the farm’s one-mile track.

Speaker Coughlin’s support was vital to the five-year, $100-million appropriation for the state’s horse racing industry that was approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Phil Murphy in 2019. 

A Democrat representing the 19th Legislative District in Middlesex County, Speaker Coughlin has served in the State Assembly since 2010. He is in his third term as Assembly Speaker and is the first Democratic Assembly Speaker to ever serve three consecutive two-year terms.

The responsibilities of the Speaker include scheduling meetings and determining which bills will be considered within the Assembly. The Speaker also leads the legislative sessions. As the Assembly Speaker, he is third in the line of succession to the governorship, following the Lieutenant Governor and State Senate President.

“This was a very intimate event and I think it was very valuable,” said Anthony Perretti, the SBOANJ’s first vice president and TrotPAC chairman. “I think to make it personal, to make it intimate, with legislators is a big deal. He can see what the industry looks like. He can touch and feel what the situation is on the ground. 

“Instead of us just asking for support, we need to show the numbers at work, and the progress and the people behind it that are making it happen. It’s not a hard sell once you get involved. It really isn’t.”


Have something to say about this? Log in or create an account to post a comment.