Reverend DeForest Blake "Buster" Soaries, Jr. (born August 20, 1951) is an African-American Baptist minister, author and public advocate, from Montclair, New Jersey. He is the former Secretary of State of New Jersey and former chairman of the federal Election Assistance Commission. Additionally, he is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, New Jersey, a position he has held since November 1990.
Soaries received a Bachelor of Arts from Fordham University; a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary; and a Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary. He has also received five honorary Doctorate degrees from other institutions.
A resident of the Monmouth Junction section of South Brunswick, New Jersey, he is married to the former Margaret Donna Pleasant. The couple has twin sons, Malcolm and Martin.
Soaries served as Secretary of State of New Jersey from January 1999 through January 2002 under then-Governor Christine Todd Whitman. In that position he endorsed further funding for the arts, and served as an unofficial general advisor to the governor. He also created V-FREE, a statewide youth violence prevention program...
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