TRENTON – Senator Byron M. Baer today announced he is resigning from the State Senate, effective this evening.
In a one-sentence letter addressed to Acting Governor Codey, Senator Baer stated, “I officially tender my resignation as State Senator, representing District 37 in the New Jersey Legislature, effective today, September 8, 2005, at 11:59 p.m.”
The letter also was sent to Secretary of State Regina Thomas as required by law.
Senator Baer, 75, has served in the Senate since 1994, and was first elected to the Assembly in 1971. He currently is Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“I’ve enjoyed serving the people of the 37th District, but I now must focus on personal health issues and on the needs of my loved ones,” said Senator Baer, of Englewood.
In recent years, Senator Baer has undergone several heart operations and also suffers from Parkinson’s which has steadily worsened over the last several months.
“This has been one of the most difficult decisions of my life,” Senator Baer said of his announced resignation. “But I have to deal with my life’s priorities.”
Despite maintaining a full public schedule, Senator Baer said he arrived at his decision “over the last few days” after being plagued by “significant loss of mobility” in recent weeks.
“I have spent my life trying to give 100 percent to the people I represent and it struck me that they deserve nothing less than that,” said Senator Baer.
Despite the abrupt announcement, Senator Baer said he was hopeful that his announcement would expedite a “smooth transition” for a successor who would represent the district with the same vigor and record of accomplishment.
Senator Baer said he understands the media interest in his announcement, but believes it is best to decline further comment at the present time.
Key legislation sponsored by Senator Baer was the Open Public Meetings Act, the Open Public Records Act, the Truth in Pricing Act, Ethnic Terrorism Act and the Toxic Catastrophe Prevention Act. He also sponsored the law creating the Office of the Child Advocate and the State’s new, identity theft protection act which will be a national leader in safeguards for consumers when it is signed into law.
To select a successor, the Bergen County Democratic Committee is required to select a temporary replacement for Senator Baer within the next 35 days. In the November general election, county political committees will put forth candidates in a special election to serve out the remainder of the term, according to the State Constitution.