Essex County Commissioner President Wayne L. Richardson released the following statement on the death of former State Sen. Ronald Rice:
“I am saddened to learn of the passing of a great warrior, Ronald L. Rice, my friend, and a standard bearer for the people of the West Ward in the City of Newark, the County of Essex, and the State of New Jersey. Senator Rice, known as the “Lion of the Legislature”, lived for the people he represented. He was a consummate representative of the people, who was unapologetic in his love for his constituents and his quest for justice and equality for Black people. Senator Rice was a courageous public servant who didn’t shy away from controversial issues and always stood on principle.
“Ronald Rice was a mentor to me and many others. He believed in sharing the knowledge and expertise he acquired during his decades of public service, as evidenced by his 18-years as Chair of the New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus. His connection to everyday working people remained strong throughout his 36-years as State Senator, and his impact of the West Ward of Newark is indisputable. His long-time headquarters, on the corner of Sanford and South Orange Avenues, served as a resource for Newark’s West Ward Community. I was proud to attend the recent ceremony where the building housing his headquarters was named in his honor.”
“While I am saddened by his passing, I rejoice in having known him, having stood in his presence, listened to his stories and wisdom, and most of all shared a laugh or two. He will be greatly missed. The entire Essex County Board of County Commissioners joins me in expressing our deepest condolences to the family of Ronald L. Rice.”