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Glen Ridge Democratic Municipal Chair Jackie Yustein. (Photo: Kiwanis Club of Glen Ridge).

Jackie Yustein set to replace Caputo in State Assembly

Glen Ridge Democratic chair, ex-councilwoman, will serve as interim assemblywoman until January 2024

By David Wildstein, April 07 2023 3:06 pm

Jacqueline S. Yustein, a longtime Essex County Democratic stalwart, is expected to replace Ralph Caputo in the New Jersey State Assembly, the New Jersey Globe has confirmed.

Democrats have scheduled a special election convention for April 18 to fill the remainder of Caputo’s term.  Caputo resigned on Mach 22, two days after the State Senate confirmed his nomination to the board of directors of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey.

Yustein has no opponent in the race for the interim term and will serve the remainder of Caputo’s term, which expires on January 9, 2024, and will not be a candidate for a full term this year.

Redistricting moved Glen Ridge into the 34th district.   Essex County Democrats are backing Bloomfield Mayor Michael Venezia and Carmen T. Morales, a Belleville resident who is the principal of Newark Tech High School, for the two open Assembly seats.

Yustein is the Glen Ridge Democratic municipal chair and a former councilwoman.  She became involved in politics in the 1970s after being active in the League of Women Voters of Montclair-Glen Ridge.   She served as president of the Essex County Democratic Coalition, formed to represent the liberal wing of the county Democratic party, in the early 1980s.  She worked on Frank Lautenberg’s first race for the U.S. Senate in 1982.

Yustein served on the Glen Ridge borough council in the 1990s with the support of the non-partisan Civic Conference Committee.

She retired as director of the Essex County Division of Community Health Services in 2016 and later served on the Essex County Improvement Authority.

Yustein becomes the first state legislator from Glen Ridge since 1985 when four-term Democratic Assemblyman Buddy Fortunato lost his re-election bid in Gov. Tom Kean’s landside re-election year.

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