The new chairman of the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee is Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling (D-Neptune).
Speaker Craig Coughlin announced Houghtaling’s appointment today.
He will replace Bob Andrzejczak (D-Dennis), who resigned from the Assembly yesterday to take his seat in the State Senate.
Houghtaling’s ascension to the post will mean all three 11th district legislators will also legislative committees. State Sen. Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch) was recently named chairman of the Senate Military and Veterans Committee, and Assemblywoman Joann Downey (D-Freehold) chairs the Assembly Human Services Committee.
The Agriculture chairmanship has been in South Jersey for years.
Andrzejczak’s running mate, Nelson Albano (D-Vineland) was the committee chairman until his defeat in 2013. Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto gave Andrzejczak the chairmanship in January 2014.
Albano got the chairmanship in 2009 when Douglas Fisher was named New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture. Fisher became chairman after Robert Smith (D-Washington Township) declined to seek re-election to the Assembly in 2005. Smith had been chairman since 2002, when Democrats won control of the Assembly.
Houghtaling is expected to seek a third term in the Assembly this year. A former Mayor of Neptune Township, he was elected in 2015 when he and Joann Downey ousted two Republican incumbents. He is a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 400.