The Senate President drew up a list of committee assignments that rewarded loyalists and punished those he deemed less than fully capable of obedience. Powerful.
The new Speaker took the reins of office with a heartfelt speech in which he promised to go rogue if he had to in the interest of independent Assembly leadership. Few in the War Memorial probably believed him, but he sounded sincere when he spoke of a personal commitment to combating hunger.
George Norcross III
The South Jersey power broker sat in rat pack splendor in the senate gallery, alongside Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, obviously comfortable with demonstrating on-site power as his ally, Sweeney, re-upped as senate prez.
The chairman of the Middlesex County Democratic Committee led a delegation to Trenton that included Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac and a big contingent of Coughlinites.
Brian P. Stack
As he prepares to relieve Vincent Prieto of the chairmanship of the Hudson County Democratic Organization (HCDO), the 33rd District Senator (who went to South Jersey to campaign for Sweeney) also picked up a nifty (and maybe ironic?) committee chairmanship: Legislative Oversight.
The Chairman of the Passaic County Democratic Committee (and Chairman of the Democratic State Committee) watched allies like Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-36) and now Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly (D-35) thrown out of committee chairmanship as payment for his support for the now finally fallen former Speaker Vinny Prieto. Passaic has no chairmanships.
State Senator Paul Sarlo’s (D-36) political stoutness does little for the chairman of the Bergen County Democratic Committee, whose wards, Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-37) and Assemblyman Tim Eustace (D-38) both took ejections from their respective committee chairmanships. Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-37) gets a chairmanship (Commerce), but he’s not Stellato’s guy.
One of the last lions of the New Jersey State Senate (particularly now with the retirement of Senator Ray Lesniak), the 32nd District Senator lost his chairmanship of the Transportation Committee as retribution for his loyal support for Prieto and that part of the crumbled quad-county alliance that vainly tried to hold out for an alternative to Speaker Coughlin. No chairmanships for Hudson.
Coughlin graciously acknowledged him onstage at the War Memorial as a class act, but it had to hurt, sitting there and watching Coughlin step over him amid the finery of the hour.
As collateral damage for his loyalty to the Northern chairs, the 38th District assemblyman – a chiropractor by trade – lost his chairmanship of the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee.
Valerie Vainieri Huttle
The luminous assemblywoman from the 37th District took a hit as she lost her human services chairmanship, again, as part of the political retribution for failing to fully ratify the Coughlin express back when it counted. She picks up Homeland Security, but Human Services is really the veteran’s wheelhouse.