Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling (D-Neptune) is expected to be named chairman of the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.
Speaker Craig Coughlin is preparing to announce that Houghtaling will replace Bob Andrzejczak (D-Dennis), who is giving up the post to move up to the State Senate. Andrzejczak is replacing Jeff Van Drew (D-Middle), who resigned earlier this month to take his seat in Congress.
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.