State Sen.-elect Vincent Polistina (R-Egg Harbor), who was elected to the 2nd legislative district’s Senate seat on Wednesday night, has begun providing legislative services despite not yet having been sworn in.
Polistina, a former Assemblyman, was elected by Atlantic County Republicans at a convention to fill the remaining 160 days of the term of former State Sen. Christopher Brown (R-Ventnor), who left office in July to take a position in the administration of Gov. Phil Murphy.
Senate President Steve Sweeney, however, is not expected to swear Polistina into the Senate until the legislature reconvenes, which won’t happen until after Election Day. Polistina is locked in a highly competitive contest for a full term against Assemblyman Vincent Mazzeo (D-Northfield).
Polistina said that even if he remains stuck as a senator-elect for months, he sees himself as a full-fledged state senator, and will offer the services his constituents expect from the seat’s district office, which will maintain the same staff and location it had under Brown.
“It is important to me to make sure the residents know that the office will continue in its mission of helping people,” he said in a statement. “As State Senator, I will be doing that job regardless of when the swearing in ceremony takes place.”
Polistina’s statement also hinted that he sees political undertones in the decision not to seat him until months after his election.
“My role as State Senator means more to me about the people than the politics — whenever Assemblyman Mazzeo’s party turns over the keys to the office to me is irrelevant,” he said. “I am committed to doing the necessary work as the Senator whether paid for it or not.”