Will Preside Over Largest Democratic Majority since 1979 after Leading Tuesday Election Successes
Cites Transportation Funding Crisis, College Affordability,
Voting Rights & Secure Retirement Savings for Workers as Among Top Priorities
(TRENTON) – The incoming Assembly Democratic Majority on Thursday again chose Vincent Prieto to serve as the new Assembly Speaker.
Prieto, who became Assembly Speaker in January 2014, will continue as the 215th Assembly Speaker and the second Cuban American to serve in the leadership post. The Secaucus resident will preside over the 80-member General Assembly. Democrats have held the majority since 2002 and, according to unofficial results, could hold a 52-28 majority in the upcoming 2016-17 session, the largest Democratic majority since 1979.
“I am honored to again receive the support of this ever-stronger Assembly Democratic majority,” Prieto said. “My goals as Speaker have been to advocate for the middle-class and our most vulnerable, create jobs and decent wages, provide a quality education for all, protect our environment, ensure women’s health care, reform government and build a stronger future for our state. Clearly, the voters agree with those Democratic values.”
Prieto added, “We’ve made great progress, but we also have unfinished business. I look forward to working with everyone in the weeks ahead and into the next session as we tackle some of the major problems facing our state.”
Prieto (D-Hudson/Bergen) cited the need to resolve the state’s transportation funding crisis and complete ongoing work on key issues such as modernizing voting rights, providing secure retirement savings and earned sick leave for all workers in New Jersey, tax relief, college affordability and the future of gaming in New Jersey.
He also cited the impending override attempt on legislation to require local law enforcement be notified before the expungement of mental health records of prospective gun buyers.
“New Jersey is a great place to work and call home, but we have some very difficult decisions to make if we’re to build a stronger future for our state,” Prieto said. “We’re going to build a better New Jersey – one with a 21st century infrastructure, affordable college and middle-class families with decent jobs, good wages, modern benefits and secure retirement savings.”
Prieto, of Secaucus, was first sworn into the New Jersey General Assembly in 2004. Born in Cuba, he came to the United States when he was 10.
Prieto received his certification in construction code technology from Middlesex County College; and his certification in fire code technology from Bergen County Community College. He is a construction code official in Secaucus. He and his wife, Marlene, have two children.
Before becoming the Speaker, Prieto served as the Assembly Budget chairman in 2012 and 2013. He previously had chaired the Assembly Regulated Professions Committee and was Deputy Majority Whip from 2006 to 2011.
He represents the 32nd Legislative District, which includes the Bergen County municipalities of Edgewater and Fairview and the Hudson County municipalities of East Newark, Guttenberg, Harrison, Kearny, North Bergen, Secaucus and West New York.
Prieto is the second Cuban American to serve as Speaker, following current-U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-Hudson), who served as the Speaker from 2002 to 2005.
Prieto will be joined in leadership by Lou Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington), of Voorhees, who will return as Assembly Majority Leader; Jerry Green (D-Union/Middlesex/Somerset), who will return as Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore; Shavonda Sumter (D-Passaic/Bergen), who will return as Assembly Majority Conference Leader; and Gary Schaer (D-Passaic/Bergen), who will return as Assembly Budget Committee chairman.
“This is a strong leadership team that will build upon the great accomplishments of the Assembly Democratic majority and our run of success advocating for New Jersey’s middle-class,” Prieto said.
The Assembly’s reorganization is set for Jan. 12.