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Huge Outporting of Support for Weinberg as She Begins Senate Carreer

TRENTON – Senator Loretta Weinberg began her Senate career today with cheers from more than 250 supporters and with a pledge from Governor-elect Jon Corzine that she would be his “conscience” once he takes office in January.

Senator Weinberg was sworn in by Acting Governor and Senate President Richard J. Codey in a Senate chamber packed with cheering supporters, her former Assembly friends and her new Senate colleagues.

“It’s a great honor to serve the people of the 37th District in the Senate and I am grateful for this outpouring of support,” said Senator Weinberg, as she held her two-year-old granddaughter, Shayna Graff.

Praising what she said was the “growing sense of Democratic unity in Bergen County,” Senator Weinberg thanked her many supporters and also singled out Bergen County Democratic Leader Joseph Ferriero for attending the swearing in ceremony.

Governor-Elect Corzine also attended the swearing in and at a reception later promised to work with Senator Weinberg to add more women to key government positions. He cited her help in getting a foothold in New Jersey politics when he first began to run for the U.S. Senate in 1999.

“She’s gonna be my conscience,” Governor-Elect Corzine said of Senator Weinberg.

The former 13-year Assemblywoman was elected in a landslide Tuesday to fill out the term vacated by the resignation of Senator Byron M. Baer who chose to step down for health reasons. She also was chosen to fill the Senate seat for the remainder of this Senate session and will serve on the Senate Judiciary, Commerce and State Government committees.

Also attending the swearing-in ceremonies were Senator Weinberg’s son, Daniel, of New York City; her daughter, Francine Graff and her son-in-law, John Graff, and her other grandchild, Jonah Graff, 9 months, all of Los Angeles.

The more than 250 supporters from Bergen County and around New Jersey included several groups advancing causes special to women, members of the Garden State Equality Coalition and the Health Professionals Allied Employees Union.

Senator Weinberg becomes the seventh woman in the 40-member Senate joining Senators Shirley K. Turner, Nia H. Gill, Barbara Buono, Ellen Karcher, Diane Allen and Martha Bark.

“My first request to Senate President Codey will be to expand and upgrade the ladies room for the Senators,” she said.

In her first public comments as a Senator, Senator Weinberg pledged to maintain her advocacy work for health care, women’s rights issues, housing issues and anti-discrimination laws.

Senator Weinberg, a full-time legislator and a resident of Teaneck, represents Bergenfield, Bogota, Englewood, Englewood Cliffs, Hackensack, Leonia, Maywood, Palisades Park, Ridgefield Park, Rochelle Park, Teaneck and Tenafly.