PERTH AMBOY, NJ – Democratic leaders across the 19th Legislative District on Friday endorsed Sen. Joe Vitale as their candidate for State Senate and Assemblyman Craig Coughlin and Perth Amboy community leader Yvonne Lopez as their candidates for the General Assembly.

Vitale, a Woodbridge resident who has served in the State Senate since 1997, is chair of the Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee and vice chair of the Labor Committee.

Coughlin, of Fords, is serving his fourth term in the Legislature, where he chairs the Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee and sits on the Commerce and Economic Development and Labor Committees.

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Yvonne Lopez, of Perth Amboy, is a Democratic State Committeewoman and Executive Director/CEO of the Puerto Rican Association for Human Development, Inc. (PRAHD).  In her role, Lopez is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organization, raising money, building partnerships and overseeing a team of 75 employees and countless volunteers. She currently runs 10 community-based programs, including a full time preschool, servicing 17,000 clients annually.

Lopez is founder of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Perth Amboy, has served on the Perth Amboy Business Improvement District and serves on many local boards, such as the Middlesex County Human Services Advisory Council and the Local Advisory Committee for Hackensack Meridian Health, Raritan Bay Medical Center.

“I am honored to be running with Craig and Yvonne, who have worked so hard to improve the lives of so many people, not just in Middlesex County but across our state,” Vitale said. “Craig has a distinguished track record of success in Trenton. He will be a terrific partner in the Assembly with Yvonne, who has already made significant contributions throughout the district. Her community service will only grow by taking on this new role at the state level. I strongly urge the Democratic county committee to support Craig and Yvonne at its screening in February.

“I am incredibly pleased to partner with Yvonne Lopez in the General Assembly and with Joe Vitale in the Senate as we work to improve the quality of life for our neighbors,” Coughlin said. “This is a diverse ticket that is committed to moving New Jersey forward.”

“I am honored by the faith of my fellow Democrats, as well as blessed with the opportunity, to seek the party's line in the June primary election for the General Assembly,” Lopez added. “It is especially humbling for me, as I grew up in the 19th Legislative District and have raised my family here. It is a pleasure to now live in Perth Amboy, among so many lifelong friends.

Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz said she is pleased that a prominent leader in Perth Amboy is poised to take a seat in the state Legislature.

“Yvonne Lopez has proven her devotion to public service and I support her election as our next Assemblywoman,” Diaz said. “I trust that her knowledge and experience working in the City of Perth Amboy has prepared her to provide real change to Trenton. I look forward to working with her to continue improving the quality of life for all the constituents in the 19th Legislative District.”

“Perth Amboy is proud to be sending someone of Yvonne Lopez’s caliber and commitment to represent our city and our district in Trenton,” added Perth Amboy Democratic Municipal Chair Billy Delgado. “We have seen firsthand her tenacity and hard work on behalf of our community and look forward to her working alongside Senator Vitale and Assemblyman Coughlin next year.”

Vitale, Coughlin and Lopez also received the endorsements from Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac, Carteret Mayor Dan Reiman, South Amboy Mayor Fred Henry and the Democratic municipal chairs of Woodbridge, Sayreville, Carteret and South Amboy. The full 19th Legislative District Democratic county committee will vote on their nominations in February.