BY TOM HESTER SR.
Sen. Ron Rice (D-Essex) was re-elected chairman of the New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus for the 2012-14 term Thursday at the group’s reorganization meeting in Trenton.
Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Mercer) and Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-Union) were elected as the vice chairpersons.
Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter (D-Passaic) was elected secretary, Assemblyman Herb Conaway (D-Burlington) was re-elected treasurer, and Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen) was elected sergeant-at-arms.
Rice said the next order of business for the caucus will be to conduct the annual retreat, in which members discuss legislative issues and concerns impacting the African American constituency base and taxpayers in general. Following the retreat, the caucus will hold its annual chairman’s message, in which the priorities and policy ideas of the caucus are laid out for the legislative session.
“I’m honored to have the faith of my fellow caucus members, and look forward to the challenges that lay ahead in continuing to advocate on behalf of Black New Jersey,” Rice said. “It’s been a good year for African Americans in the New Jersey Legislature – we’ve made it through redistricting with 17 members, up from 15 in the previous year. I look forward to working with old friends and new faces to advance the caucus agenda and fight for a better quality of life for all New Jerseyans, regardless of their race.”
In addition to the officers, caucus members include: Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-Essex), Sen. Sandra Bolden Cunningham (D-Hudson), Sen. Nia H. Gill (D-Essex), Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-Essex), Assemblyman Charles Mainor (D-Hudson), Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D-Burlington), Assemblywoman L. Grace Spencer (D-Essex), Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker (D-Essex), Assemblyman Gilbert “Whip” Wilson (D-Camden), and Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly (D-Passaic).