NJ Assembly speaker won't seek re-election

(AP) - New Jersey Assembly Speaker Joseph RobertsJr. will not seek re-election in November, ending a 22-year careerin the Legislature. The Camden County Democrat announced his pending retirement toSouth

News 12 Staff

Sep 2, 2009, 11:24 PM

Updated 5,439 days ago

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(AP) - New Jersey Assembly Speaker Joseph RobertsJr. will not seek re-election in November, ending a 22-year careerin the Legislature.
The Camden County Democrat announced his pending retirement toSouth Jersey lawmakers during a breakfast meeting in Cherry Hill.He's planning to hold a press conference at the Statehouse onWednesday afternoon.
Assemblyman John Burzichelli of Thorofare, who was at themeeting, says Roberts has decided to pull his name from theNovember ballot, ending months of speculation that he was preparingto step aside.
"There is a time to start and a time to finish, and a smartperson knows both," said Burzichelli.
The Star-Ledger of Newark reported the 57-year-old is expectedto be replaced on the ballot by Donald Norcross. Norcross isco-chairman of the Camden County Democratic Committee and brotherof South Jersey political boss George Norcross.
Roberts did not return calls for comment.
He has not indicated what he plans to do next.
Sen. President Richard Codey, D-West Orange, called Roberts "afierce advocate for his constituents, particularly those that areunderserved." He said Roberts' leadership would be missed.
In the Assembly, Roberts championed a package of laws targetingautism and developmental disabilities. New Jersey has the nation'shighest autism rate.
A proponent of public financing of elections, he led the passageof a legislative package strengthening campaign finance and ethicslaws.
Roberts also helped repeal the death penalty in New Jersey andwrote a law legalizing needle exchange programs to combatincreasing rates of HIV and AIDS in the state's cities.
Roberts was a Camden County freeholder in the 1980s and an aideto former Rep. Jim Florio before that.


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