Veteran Assemblyman Ralph Caputo of Nutley will pursue reelection in 2023.
“I have every intention of running, and of seeking and pursuing the support of the Essex County Democratic Committee,” Caputo told InsiderNJ.
At the retirement gala for his long-time slate mate, Senator Ronald L. Rice, Caputo onstage spoke openly about his disappointment in the 28th District team breaking up as a consequence of redistricting.
But Caputo – a Newark native very instrumental in helping to secure the resources for Brick City’s
lead abatement program, who has represented 70 percent of the district, and is a former long-serving county commissioner – said he has unfinished business in the legislature.
Assemblywoman Cleo Tucker (D-28) will remain in the 28th, joined by a redistricted Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (currently in LD-27).
Caputo will resurface next year in the 34th District, where the Essex County Democratic Committee intends to support Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake to succeed a redistricted Nia Gill.
A veteran legislator, former educator, acting county super of schools and northern area regional chief for the New Jersey Department of Education, and former casino marketing executive with lifelong ties in Essex County, deep and diverse contacts, and a rich, colorful political history that includes changing his residency to survive the last redistricting cycle, Caputo said he intends to secure one of the two assembly seats.
A former teacher at the Quitman Street Community School in Newark and first elected to the legislature in 1967 – for a single term – before making a 2007 comeback – Caputo came of age during the Adubato-Addonizio era of politics. Former Mayor Sharpe James was a fellow teacher and colleague. Caputo’s specialty in the election has included a focus on unemployment issues, tax problems, motor vehicle complaints, insurance, senior citizen funding, and educational issues.
“The list goes on and on,” Caputo said. “Ninety percent of our job is getting through the bureaucracy to make it work for people. We don’t fool around.”
The assemblyman proved a particularly effective inquisitor in publicly resisting outside charter schools into Newark during the Chris Christie era and exposing political conflicts of interest in those schools.