Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Englewood) announced that she would seek the open State Senate seat being vacated by five-term incumbent Loretta Weinberg.
Assembly Speaker Pro-Tempore Gordon Johnson (D-Englewood) is also planning on running for the Senate, pitting the two running mates in a fight for the Bergen County Democratic organization line at the March county convention.
Vainieri Huttle made her announcement in a statement praising Weinberg, saying the outgoing Senate Majority Leader “has been a force for progress and change.”
“I am proud to have worked alongside Senator Weinberg to advance a progressive agenda. It has been an incredible honor to partner with my dear friend, colleague and mentor on legislation to improve access to reproductive healthcare, pay equity, paid family leave, Port Authority Reform, gun control, advance workers’ rights and to defend the rights of the LGBTQ community,” Vainieri Huttle said.
Vainieri Huttle credited Weinberg with opening barriers for women in politics, “myself included.”
“While I respect Senator Weinberg’s decision to retire, there is no question that her absence will leave a void that will be felt by both the legislature and the state,” she said. “With much more work still remaining to help advance true equality for women, I believe the 37th legislative district would be best served by someone with her same level of passion and commitment to this cause.”
After Weinberg was elected to the State Senate in 2005, Vainieri Huttle filled the open State Assembly seat.
I have looked up to Senator Weinberg throughout my career, I have learned from her and I am honored to have worked alongside her. I hope to preserve and advance her legacy,” the assemblywoman stated. “Therefore, I intend to run for Senate and I intend to serve as District 37’s Senator in a way that would make Senator Weinberg and the people of the 37th Legislative District proud.”
New Jersey Working Families state director Sue Altman endorsed Vainieri Huttle to fill the seat.
“New Jersey Working Families can think of no better person to carry on Senator Weinber’s legacy than Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle. Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle has a deep knowledge of her district as well as a strong commitment to progressive principles,” Altman said. “In her time in the Legislature, Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle led the charge against bullying in our schools, has fought for prison reform and has been at the forefront protecting LGBT and women’s rights. The people of the 37thLegislative District deserve a strong, progressive, woman legislator to serve them in the Senate, and we look forward to fighting for Valerie in the upcoming election.”