TRENTON – Today, Senator Teresa Ruiz was officially sworn-in to serve as State Senator from the 29th Legislative District, and said she is looking forward to contributing a new voice to the issues affecting New Jersey.
“When a Legislative body becomes more inclusive, the quality of public discourse can only gain,” said Senator Ruiz, D-Essex and Union. “By injecting a healthy dose of diversity to the New Jersey Senate, I will help to ensure that we meet the needs of our State’s residents – no matter what race, creed or ethnic identity. By bringing together different perspectives and diverse ideas, we will achieve successful, tangible results for the people of New Jersey.”
Senator Ruiz grew up in Newark’s North Ward, and still resides in the City of Newark with her husband, Essex County Freeholder Samuel Gonzalez. A first generation Puerto-Rican, Senator Ruiz’s family settled in Newark during the 1950’s. She is the first Latina Senator to serve in New Jersey, and is the second Senator of Hispanic origin, following US Senator Bob Menendez’s service in that House during the early 1980’s and 1990’s.
“As the daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants, I know firsthand many of the challenges Hispanic families face in the Garden State,” said Senator Ruiz. “Whether it’s issues involving education, joblessness, immigration reform, or State aid, I will use the ideals instilled in me from my parents to create a better tomorrow for State residents of Latin descent.”
Following her graduation from Drew University, Senator Ruiz worked as a pre-K teacher. She got involved in local politics, working as deputy campaign manager for Joseph DiVincenzo’s successful run for Essex County Executive. For the last five years, she has served as Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Public Information for the Executive’s Office, and has worked as Vice Chair of the Essex County Democratic Party.
Senator Ruiz added that her unique perspective and diverse background will serve as a benefit to all of New Jersey in bringing a different dimension to public debate.
“It’s an honor to serve the people of Newark and Hillside, and I look forward to working with the Legislature to accomplish great things for my constituents and all of New Jersey,” said Senator Ruiz. “Today’s an exciting day, not just for myself and my family, but for the thousands of Latino families in New Jersey. I pledge to bring their concerns to the Statehouse, and be an advocate for a community which has, for so long, been voiceless in the Legislature’s Upper House.”