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Former Senate President Steve Sweeney. Photo by Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe.

Sweeney will take seat on legislative redistricting commission

Senate President notifies Currie of his decision

By David Wildstein, April 08 2020 8:52 am

Senate President Steve Sweeney has announced that he will take the South Jersey seat on the New Jersey Legislative Reapportionment Commission that will draw new legislative districts for the state for the next decade.

“My appointment will honor the agreement we made to keep our New Jersey Democratic Party unified with a continued focus on increasing the number of Democratic elected officials throughout the state,” Sweeney wrote in a letter to Democratic State Chairman John Currie.

Currie promised the five seats on the legislative redistricting panel as part of a deal last December for Essex County Democratic Chairman LeRoy Jones, Jr. to drop his bid for state chairman.

The pact gave seats to Hudson, Bergen, Essex, Middlesex and South Jersey.

The New Jersey Globe first reported last week that Sweeney was likely to take the South Jersey seat himself.

Jones is expected to take the Essex seat, and the Hudson seat is going to Cosmo Cirillo, a West New York town commissioner with closes ties to North Bergen Mayor/State Sen. Nicholas Sacco.  The Middlesex seat will likely go to Gary Taffet, a former chief of staff to Gov. James McGreevey, and the leading candidate for the Bergen seat appears to be former Paramus councilman Joseph Garcia, a law partner of State Sen. Joseph Lagana (D-Paramus) who has close ties to Bergen County Democratic Chairman Paul Juliano and to Democrats in Hudson.

Sweeney said that while it is “imperative as leaders in New Jersey that we address head on the realities of this pandemic, but at the same time continue to ensure that our democratic process is maintained.”

Last week, Republican State Chairman Doug Steinhardt filed the appointments of all five Republicans on the redistricting commission.

Al Barlas, the Essex County GOP Chairman, will chair the Republican side of the panel.

Senate Minority Leader Thomas Kean, Jr., Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick, former Republican State Chairman Michael Lavery, and Salem County Republican Chair Linda DuBois will round out the GOP side.

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