Senate President Steve Sweeney today announced the committee chairmanships and memberships for the 218th Legislative Session. The Senate leadership was sworn-in at the Senate’s organizational meeting along with the members of the New Jersey Senate.
Senate President Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Cumberland/Salem) and Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) in November were reelected by the 25 members of the Senate Democratic Majority to serve in the top leadership positions for the new 218th Legislature, and Senator M. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex) was voted by the caucus members to serve as Senate President Pro Tem. Senator Ruiz will continue as chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee.
“The Senate Democratic Leadership Team and the chairs of the Senate committees are smart and skilled public officials who have the experience to get things done,” said Senator Sweeney. “They know the issues, they understand the legislative process and they recognize the challenges we face. We have a record of accomplishments to build upon and the determination to move New Jersey forward in ways that will expand opportunities for everyone in New Jersey.”
“We have a strong and diverse caucus that is dedicated to working aggressively to address the issues that are important to middle-class families, the working poor and our most vulnerable residents,” said Senator Weinberg. “We have the opportunities with a new Legislature and a new administration to address important issues that were denied to us over the past eight years. Recognizing the realities and the obstacles, we will work to take advantage of the opportunity to make real and lasting progress.”
Senator Sweeney filled the leadership team by selecting Senator Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen/Passaic) as Deputy Majority Leader and chairman of the Budget and Appropriations Committee; Senator Sandra Bolden Cunningham (D-Hudson) as Deputy Majority Leader and chairwoman of the Higher Education Committee; and Senator Nicholas Scutari as chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
Senator Bob Gordon (D-Bergen/Passaic) will continue serving in the post of Democratic Conference Chair, where he leads the discussion on legislation during party caucuses. Serving as assistant majority leaders will be Senator Linda Greenstein (D-Middlesex/Mercer) and Senator Jim Beach (D-Camden/Burlington). Senator Greenstein will also serve as chairwoman of the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee and Senator Beach will serve as chairman of the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee. Senator Gordon will serve as chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee.
The Democratic Majority includes three new members: Senator Joseph Cryan, D-20 (Union), Senator Vin Gopal, D-11 (Monmouth) and Senator Troy Singleton, D-7 (Burlington). The Democratic majority in the upper house increased from 24 to 25 members.
The remaining committee chairs for the 2018-2019 legislative session will be: Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez as chairwoman of the Senate Economic Growth Committee; Senator Jeff Van Drew as chairman of the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee; Senator Fred H. Madden as chairman of the Senate Labor Committee; Senator Bob Smith as chairman of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee; Senator Nellie Pou as chairwoman of the Senate Commerce Committee; Senator Patrick Diegnan Jr. as chairman of the Senate Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee; Senator Joseph Vitale as chairman of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee; and Senator Brian Stack as chairman of the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee.