The relationship between Speaker Vincent Prieto and freshman District 11 Assemblymembers Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey evaporated quickly over a major issue – school funding. The relationship wasn’t always that way. Houghtaling and Downey along with the Middlesex delegation were rumored to have supported Prieto in his Atlantic City battle with South Jersey.
The relationship never recovered. They asked Prieto how they could work together on the two bills and meet in the middle. The Speaker’s response was simple – as long as you are on that bill, it’s dead on arrival. The relationship took a turn for the worse earlier this year when a new Senate Sponsor appeared on Prieto’s school-funding bill – Senator Jen Beck. Prieto could have had his Senator, Nick Sacco, be the Senate sponsor so naturally suspicions rose when battleground Beck appeared as the new sponsor.