Senate President Steve Sweeney has removed Nicholas Sacco (D-Hudson) as Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee and replaced him with Bob Gordon (D-Bergen).
This comes as no surprise, since Sacco aligned himself with factions of the Democratic party that had opposed Sweeney in 2016. Sacco is also a political ally of now-deposed Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, the Hudson County Democratic Chairman.
Gordon, who has turned a competitive 38th district into a safe seat, can use the Transportation Committee to advance his own policy interestsin Port Authority and New Jersey Transit issues, as well as infrastructure projects at the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
Nia Gill (D-Essex) was replaced as Senate President Pro-Tempore by Theresa Ruiz (D-Essex). Ruiz will also chair the Senate Education Committee. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) remains as Majority Leader, where she has served since 2012.
State Sen. James Beach will become Chairman of the State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee. That was the committee chaired by the late James Whelan. Beach’s Military and Veterans’ Affairs chairmanship will go to Patrick Diegnan (D-Middlesex).
Nilsa Cruz-Perez (D-Camden) will assume the chairmanship of the Economic Growth Committee. She replaces Raymond Lesniak, who did not seek re-election.
The other Senate committee chairs will remain the same: Nicholas Scutari (D-Union), Judiciary; Education; Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen), Budget and Appropriations; Nellie Pou (D-Passaic), Commerce; Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May), Community and Urban Affairs; Bob Smith (D-Middlesex), Environment and Energy; Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens, Joe Vitale (D-Middlesex); Sandra Cunningham (D-Hudson), Higher Education; Fred Madden (D-Gloucester), Labor; and Linda Greenstein (D-Middlesex), Law and Public Safety.
Gordon, Greenstein and Beach will also continue to serve as part of the Senate Democratic leadership.
Sacco, 71, has been in the Senate since defeating incumbent Tom Cowan in the 1993 Democratic primary. He was elected to the North Bergen Board of Commissioners in 1985, and has been Mayor since 1991.