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Coughlin to fill vacancies caused by Green’s death

Committee chairmanship, Speaker Pro-Tem posts now open

By David Wildstein, April 20 2018 1:11 am

The death of fourteen-term Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-Plainfield) opens up several posts in the Assembly Democratic leadership that Speaker Craig Coughlin will get to fill.

Green was the chairman of the Housing and Community Development Committee.  Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro (D-Hoboken) is the current vice chair and could get the post if State Sen. Brian Stack (D-Union City) and Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla weigh in on her behalf.  The other two committee members are Mila Jasey (D-South Orange), who is unlikely to give up the chair of the Higher Education Committee, and Shanique Speight (D-Newark), who has been in the Assembly since January.

Another possible candidate to replace Green as committee chairman is Assemblyman Jamal Holley (D-Roselle).  Holley served on the panel in the last legislative session.

Coughlin will also need to pick a new Speaker Pro-Tempore, a post Green has held since 2008. Next in line is the Deputy Speaker Pro-Tempore, Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin (D-East Brunswick).  Coughlin will need to decide if he wants to elevate another Middlesex County Democrat, or pick Assemblywoman Joann Downey (D-Freehold), the Assembly Parliamentarian, who comes from a district that will likely be competitive in the 2019 election.

Either Pinkin or Downey would create a new opening in the Democratic leadership. To be clear, this is no big deal: 26 of the 51 Democrats in the Assembly hold some form of a leadership position.

Green’s death means that three Assembly seats are now vacant and awaiting a special election convention to fill them.  Joseph Lagana resigned upon his election to the State Senate, and Tim Eustace quit to become the deputy executive director of the North Jersey District Water Commission.

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