Jerry Green, the Dean of the New Jersey State Assembly, has not yet taken the oath of office for a 14th term in the State Assembly. The 78-year-old Green has been out for most of the last three months, recovering from an illness and infection.
It’s not clear whether Green is technically an Assemblyman today or not, and but that’s not really an issue at this point. An illness forced Green to miss the swearing in ceremonies a couple of years ago, and he took his oath in the Speaker’s office upon his return to Trenton.
Green is also the Union County Democratic Chairman, and his absence has created some disarray in the competitive race for the Democratic nomination for Congress in the 7th district. Insiders from both parties believe that if 2018 turns out to be a strong year for Democrats nationally, five-term GOP Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Hunterdon) can be beaten. A screening committee to award the Union County organization line — pivotal for a Democratic House candidate — is tentatively set for early March.
Surely all wish him the speediest of recoveries. There is some speculation that Green’s health issues might cause him to retire in 2019, when he’ll be 81. His terms as an Assemblyman and as County Chairman expire then.
Green has been feuding with Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr, the party vice chair. The fight started in 2015, when Green supported James Kennedy for Linda Stender’s open Assembly seat – a post that Mahr wanted. Mahr is aligned with State Sen. Joe Cryan’s faction of the Union County Democratic party – which includes Adrian Mapp, the mayor of Green’s hometown, Plainfield. Green is with State Sen. Nicholas Scutari. InsiderNJ pointed that out earlier today.
Open seats for Assembly and County Chairman in two years opens all sorts of issues for a solidly-Democratic County that hasn’t voted Republican at the county level in more than twenty years. there is some speculation that Kennedy might want to return to the more lucrative lobbying practice he gave up two years ago. With redistricting coming after the next election, the possibility of a primary challenge to Scutari is always a possibility.
Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin reappointed Green to serve as Chairman of the Assembly Housing Committee. There are no meetings scheduled, but if the panel needs to meet before Green is ready to come back, then Vice Chair Annette Chaparro (D-Hudson) will take over.