UNION COUNTY, NJ — Jerry Green, the third-highest ranking member in the state Assembly who died April 18, was remembered by his colleagues in the state Legislature as a leader, friend and mentor. He was 79.
Green, a Democrat, served in the Assembly since 1992 and resigned in January as chairman of the Union County Democratic Committee. He left his position in the county Democratic Party to “focus his energy on recovering from an illness,” a January press release from the UCDC said.
State Sen. Nicholas Scutari — who represents the parts of parts of Middlesex, Somerset and Union counties — recalled the former assemblyman as a champion of progressive policies. Green represented the 22nd Legislative District, which includes Clark, Fanwood, Linden and Plainfield, same as Scutari.
“He was so much more than just a colleague and mentor to succeeding generations of politicians — he was a true gentleman legislator who should be remembered for championing progressive policies aimed at helping those in need,” Scutari said in an April 19 statement.
Funeral services were private, according to release from the Union County Democratic Party, but a public memorial was being planned. No details were available. Green served as a county freeholder for two non-consecutive terms. In the Assembly, he chaired the Housing and Community Development Committee and was a member of the Health and Senior Services Committee.
Legislators on both sides of the aisle, including Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick, sent condolences to Green and his family.
Bramnick represents the 21st Legislative District, which includes parts of Morris, Somerset and Union counties.
“Jerry Green was a friend for 30 years,” Bramnick said in an April 19 statement. “We understood that talking to each other and treating each other with respect was very important. I will miss Jerry and thank him for his service to our state. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
LocalSource previously reported that Green had not attended any legislative or voting sessions since at least November, when he was re-elected to serve another term.
Other local lawmakers, including state Sen. Joseph Cryan and Assemblyman Jamel Holley also remembered Green. Both represent parts of Elizabeth, Hillside, Union and Roselle in the 20th Legislative District.
“Jerry Green was a champion of civil rights and was on the frontlines in our state in the fight to provide an affordable and accessible education for all of our children and to provide affordable housing for everyone,” Cryan said in a statement.
Holley, meanwhile, called the late assemblyman an inspiration in an April 19 statement. “Jerry was a hard-working man his entire life; he never retired,” Holley said. “He never stopped trying to help others get ahead. I will never forget his service to New Jersey, as he was focused on creating better policy and inspiring conversation on the issues that truly matter in our state.
“I will miss my friend, my mentor and the reason why I am committed to serving others.”