TRENTON – Senator Ronald L. Rice, D-Essex, who serves as Chairman of the New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus released the following statement today regarding the reorganization of the Legislature as it relates to the Caucus:
“I’d like to thank the membership of the Legislative Black Caucus for electing me to a second term as Chairman. I appreciate their continued support and belief in my leadership to carry the Caucus through another term, and the opportunity to complete the unfinished business based on the agenda we laid out in my first term as Chair. By acclamation, the membership of the Legislative Black Caucus has re-elected the following members to serve as our leadership : Senator Shirley K. Turner, D-Mercer, and Assemblyman Jerry Green, D-Plainfield, Vice-Chairs; Assemblyman Herbert Conaway, D-Delran, Treasurer; Assemblyman Alfred E. Steele, D-Paterson, Chaplain; Assemblymen Gordon M. Johnson, D- Englewood and William D. Payne, D-Newark. We also voted to appoint Assemblyman Craig Stanley, D-Irvington, as the Caucus’ Secretary.
“We’ve had a fruitful year as it relates to the reorganization of the Legislative Black Caucus and the goals we set out to accomplish. This session, we established a number of sub-committees within the Legislative Black Caucus, with various Chairs to look at issues that are important to us and the people we represent. In my second term, I am establishing an additional committee, known as the Faith Based-Cultural Affairs Committee, which will be chaired by the Honorable Rev. Alfred E. Steele – Assemblyman. The new committee will work with the faith-based community, Secretary of State and the community at large to work on issues pertinent to them.
“When I was first appointed Chair, one of my goals was to make certain that the Legislative Black Caucus was no longer a passive organization. I wanted it become an active and respected legislative body, and I wanted to make sure that all of its members would be respected individually for their experience, knowledge of government, communities and people in general.
“As required by the Legislative Black Caucus bylaws, I will be giving our ‘Annual Agenda Message’ after Governor-Elect Jon Corzine is sworn in, and delivers his Budget message. Prior to the message, I, along with the Legislative Black Caucus’ Government Affairs Committee, will meet with the Governor to try to gain an understanding of his agenda and to make certain that he and his cabinet understand our agenda. The Legislative Black Caucus’ agenda is the ‘People’s Agenda.’ We are striving to help those who have the least, who are low and middle class wage earners, small businesses, seniors and disabled residents – women and minorities in particular.
“Finally, we as a Caucus recognize that we are faced with challenges regarding the estimated $5 billion budget deficit, health care and the closing of health care institutions, affordable housing, crime, and the transportation issue, just to name a few. We want to work alongside our colleagues in both the Senate and Assembly to help remedy as many of these issues as we possibly can. I will highlight the Legislative Black Caucus’ goals for this new session when I deliver our ‘Annual Message’.”