James J. Florio, elected to New Jersey legislature two years after graduating from law school, became the first Democrat from his district to hold a General Assembly seat in 102 years. Elected to U.S. Congress five years later, he was re-elected seven times—with more than 70 percent of the vote. In Congress, Florio was known for his work on environmental legislation, especially the Superfund law to clean up toxic waste sites. As governor from 1990–94, he signed the nation’s strongest clean-water enforcement law, a comprehensive welfare reform package, a health care cost-reduction program, and the nation’s toughest assault weapons ban. In 1993, he received the Kennedy Library Foundation’s Profile in Courage Award for commitment to causes serving the public interest irrespective of personal political consequences. In 1999, he became chair of the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York. In 2000, he founded Xspand, a Morristown-based firm that buys, finances, and collects real estate tax liens; Florio served as CEO until 2006, when Bear Stearns bought the company.