TRENTON – Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver announced today that the Assembly Democratic caucus will meet Thursday to decide upon its new leadership team for the 2012-13 legislative session.
Oliver is seeking a second term as Assembly Speaker as part of a team that includes Lou Greenwald as Assembly Majority Leader, John Wisniewski as a prominent Assembly Deputy Speaker and Vincent Prieto as the Assembly Budget Committee chairman.
“I look forward to gathering our new caucus together for the first time and presenting them with a team that will tirelessly work together to advocate for the values so important to working class New Jerseyans,” said Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic). “This is a team that will reflect our state’s great diversity and talent and will bring everyone together to ensure our middle-class and working poor are given a more affordable place to live and work.”
“I look forward to strengthening the partnership I’ve built over the last two years with Speaker Oliver and working each and every day toward the unified Democratic goal of protecting New Jersey’s working class families,” said Greenwald (D-Camden). “I can assure New Jerseyans that we will be working nonstop to advocate for and protect their priorities, whether it’s job creation, property tax relief or accessible health care.”
“This will be a leadership team dedicated to working together to do what’s right for working class New Jerseyans,” said Prieto (D-Hudson/Bergen). “I welcome the opportunity to serve as the new budget chairman to help continue the Democratic effort to make New Jersey more affordable by making property tax relief and job creation as our top priorities.”
Oliver said she will tap Wisniewski, a senior member of the caucus, to play a more prominent and strengthened role as Assembly Deputy Speaker.
“This new leadership team will be one that continues to build on the Democratic efforts to control property taxes, create jobs, spark our economy and improve access to health care,” said Wisniewski (D-Middlesex), a deputy Assembly Speaker since 2004. “It will be a formidable team and a staunch ally of working class New Jerseyans.”
Oliver became the Speaker in January 2010 after first being elected to the Assembly in 2003. As the Speaker, she has led Democratic efforts to create jobs and stimulate economic growth, control property taxes, provide working class tax relief and reform education, while fighting cuts to health care programs for women and the poor and to programs that help distressed cities.
Oliver is the only African-American woman to lead a legislative chamber in New Jersey history. She is the second woman and second African-American to ever serve as Speaker.
Greenwald was first elected to the Assembly in 1996. He has been the Assembly Budget Committee Chairman since 2002. Greenwald led the efforts to reform New Jersey’s auto insurance system, sponsored the law creating the Amber Alert system, helped establish a nationally designated cancer center in South Jersey and has sponsored numerous property tax reform and job creation bills.
Wisniewski was first elected in 1995. He has sponsored legislation to make school buses safer, overhaul motor vehicle agency operations, enhance teen driver safety and strengthen fire safety in college dorms and elsewhere.
Prieto, a Cuban native, joined the Assembly in 2004. He’s been chairman of the Assembly Regulated Professions Committee and has sponsored legislation advocating for adoptee rights, transportation and infrastructure safety, property tax relief and job creation.
If Assembly Democrats choose to back Oliver’s proposed leadership group, current Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Cryan (D-Union) would be ousted from that position.
While all 120 seats in the state Legislature are at stake in tomorrow’s general election, few are actually expected to change hands.
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