(TRENTON) – Former Newark Board of Education Member Shanique Speight received the oath of office from Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin on Tuesday to become a member of the New Jersey General Assembly.
Speight will represent the 29th Legislative District, which includes the city of Belleville and parts of Newark in Essex County. She replaces Blonnie Watson, who took the seat after Grace L. Spencer resigned in early 2016.
“This is a great opportunity to serve my community at the state level and to effect change where change is made – in Trenton,” said Speight, an Essex County Sheriff’s Officer. “I look forward to working with my Assembly colleagues as we tackle critical issues affecting the way New Jersey residents live and work. My district colleagues and I are here to ensure the voices of our constituents are heard and their concerns are raised in the capitol building.”
A lifelong Newark resident, Speight was elected to the Newark Advisory School Board in 2007 and was successfully re-elected in 2010. As a member of the board, she was chosen to serve as the Vice-Chair during her first term. As a member, she served on the Personnel and Finance Committees. Speight was appointed by Governor Corzine to serve on the Superintendent Search Committee in 2007 and 2008. She was also awarded the Rising Star Award by a community group as a result of her service on the school board.
Speight demonstrated her commitment to community service by working as a Legislative Aide to State Senator Teresa Ruiz. She is a District Leader in her community and has served as the Treasurer of the Central Ward Democratic Committee. In 2005, she participated in the Neighborhood Leadership Initiative and used the grant she earned to operate a summer enrichment program. Speight is also the Chairperson of the Central Democratic Committee. Community-driven, Speight continues to serve the seniors in the central ward coordinating weekly and monthly activities.
Underscoring her commitment to education, Speight completed the Director’s Academy in which she received instruction in how to operate a pre-school and served as director of the Childcare Center in Newark for many years. Shanique Speight also serves on the Rosalean Twitty Scholarship Committee which administers three scholarships to deserving high school graduates to assist them in realizing their collegiate dreams.
Speight, a graduate of Lincoln University, lives in Newark with her husband of 19 years, Andre Speight. They have four children: Deandre 18, Andrew 16, Joshua 15and Madison 11.