With new session, no women among N.J. Assembly leaders

    When the new session of the New Jersey Legislature begins Tuesday, a woman will not hold a top leadership position in the Assembly.

    Assemblyman Vinnie Prieto will take over from Sheila Oliver as Assembly Speaker, while Lou Greenwald remains the Democratic Majority Leader.

    Change at the top could make a difference in the kinds of legislation that come up for a vote, said Jean Sinzdak with the Center For American Women in Politics at Rutgers.

    “If you don’t have women in top leadership positions, it can change the nature of the policy debates that are going on, the issues that are being addressed,” said Sinzdak. “It’s a real loss for the state.”

    Female lawmakers often bring up issues affecting women and families and disenfranchised groups that might not otherwise be considered, she said.

    Twenty-nine percent of the state lawmakers in New Jersey are women. Some are ready to take on leadership roles when they become available in the future.

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