N.J. swears in latest legislative class, including Hudson County’s 9-member delegation


The New Jersey Legislature swore in their latest class today, including Hudson County’s 9-member delegation that includes two new state senators and five new Assembly members.

By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View

Angela McKnight, a four-term assemblywoman, is now the state senator of the 31st Legislative District, succeeding Sandra Cunningham.

Raj Mukherji, a five-term assemblyman in the 33rd Legislative District, was sworn in as the state senator for the 32nd Legislative District – which now includes about two thirds of Jersey City and Hoboken after redistricting.

He is technically taking over for Nick Sacco, who still serves as the North Bergen mayor and has said he planned to retire from the senate even before redistricting after opting not to run again in the new LD-33 that includes North Hudson and Secaucus.

“It’s a special day, it’s the biggest class we’ve ever had,” Senate President Nick Scutari (D-22) declared.

He administered the oath to McKnight and Mukherji, who were among 10 new state senators sworn into the 40-member governing body.

He also administered the oath to the 30 incumbents who won re-election, including himself and state Senator Brian Stack (D-33), also the Union City mayor, at once.

“Congratulations to all the senators,” Scutari said afterwards

Speaking with HCV, Mukherji explained his priorities include finding a dedicated recurring revenue source for New Jersey Transit, launching a true healthcare public option for all New Jerseyans, and the creation of more affordable housing.

He also put improving school funding for urban districts such as Jersey City high on his priority list.

“I want to work for ensuring that urban school funding is fair to our communities where our students need the most assistance,” he added.

Expectedly, Scutari was re-elected as senate president, with no one attempting to challenge for one the state’s highest level leadership posts.

“A quarter of the Senate is new. I wish you all the best of luck in your endeavors,” he said afterwards.

State Senator Teresa Ruiz (D-29), a Newark native who represents Harrison and East Newark, was sworn in for another term as majority leader. She also had no opposition and was sworn in via a voice vote.

“We’re making New Jersey more affordable for our families. We passed laws preventing gun violence: We have a crisis on our hands: Our third and fourth graders are not reading at grade level,” said Ruiz, who indicated those numbers are worse for Black and Hispanic students.

“If we don’t make an investment here today starting today, then all of our committees will be in extraordinary overdrive because a policy of being reactive will have to kick in. Let’s show the country how New Jersey makes investments.”

Other local leaders present included U.S. Rep. Rob Menendez (D-8), new Hudson County Executive Craig Guy, Hudson County Democratic Organization Chair Anthony Vainieri, Hudson County Board of Commissioners Chair Anthony Romano (D-5), Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla, who is challenging Menendez, West New York Mayor Albio Sires, and former Gov. Jim McGreevey, who is running for Jersey City mayor.

Additionally, other party leaders, local officials, Murphy Administration officials, lobbyists, and the press lined the walls of the Assembly chamber to attend the New Jersey Senate swearing-in ceremony.

At the same time, the Assembly reorganization was held in the War Memorial building by the state house, where in another telegraphed move, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-19) was easily re-elected.

Assemblyman Will Sampson (D-31) is now the most senior Hudson County Assembly member, now joined by Assemblywoman Barbara Stamato, who is also the chair of the Jersey City Democratic Organization.

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, a Democratic candidate for governor, held the Bible while she was sworn in.

In LD-32, there are two Assembly newcomers in Hoboken’s John Allen and Jersey City’s Jessica Ramirez, both of whom are attorney.

Finally, LD-33 has new Assembly representation as well in Julio Marenco and Gabriel Rodriguez.

While this is their first time serving in Trenton, Marenco is a former North Bergen Board of Education president and township commissioner, while Rodriguez is an ex-West New York mayor and town commissioner.

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