TRENTON, NJ - Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, D-16th, and Assemlyman Roy Freiman D-16th were sworn in to represent residents of Hillsborough and several other central New Jersey communities during ceremonies at the Statehouse Tuesday.
Zwicker, an incumbent, and Freiman, a newcomer to politics, defeated Republicans Donna Simon, a former member of the Assembly who also lost by a narrow margin to Zwicker in the 2015 election, and Somerset County Freeholder Mark Caliguire.
Republican incumbent Sen. Christoper “Kip” Bateman, R-Somerset, Middlesex, Mercer, Hunterdon defeated Democrat challenger Lauire Poppe, a Hillsborough resident, in November. He was also sworn into office Tuesday.
The 16th legislative district includes Hillsborough and other towns in Somerset, Middlesex, Mercer and Hunterdon counties.
The two Democrats join the 54-26 Democratic majority in the state Assembly, and will greet Democratic Governor-elect Phil Murphy for his inaugural at the Statehouse Jan. 16th.
“It is an honor to represent the 16th Legislative District as members of the 218th NJ General Assembly along with Senator Kip Bateman,” the Democratic assemblymen said in a joint statement. “There is much work to be done during the next two years and we look forward to tackling the challenges that lie ahead in a thoughtful, comprehensive and bipartisan manner.”
Freiman's local legislative office is located in a storefront at 66 West Main St. in Somerville.
Freiman, a Hillsborough resident for 30 years and former Prudential Financial executive, said he is “thrilled and very eager to get started.”
He has been appointed to the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee; Transportation Committee and the Commerce and Economic Development Committee.
Those appointments, Freiman said, will enable him to focus on the priorities he listed on his Facebook page during the 2017 campaign:
“In the Assembly, Roy will use his business and analytics skills to make sure the best decisions are being made for our families. He will push for relief from the tax burden we face, he’ll create new jobs by attracting new business through policies that support economic development and equal pay legislation that fits our needs, and he’ll restore the funding for women’s health care that offers critical services to our neighbors.
“Roy understands the challenges that our families face and what needs to be done to solve them. In the Assembly, Roy will put our interests first.”
Freiman has already been able to make a difference, following up on a call he had received late last year from a constituent, who like many, took advantage of prepaying 2018 state property taxes by the end of 2017.
Gov. Chris Christie issued an executive order in late December that allowed homeowners to prepay their 2018 property taxes by Dec. 31, hoping to blunt the impact of the tax reform package signed by President Trump which will cap the amount of local and state taxes that homeowners can deduct from their federal income taxes at $10,000.
New Jersey has the highest property taxes in the nation; property taxes for most homeowners in the Garden State far exceed that limit.
Prepaying allowed property owners to take advantage of full deductions still in effect, but according to Freiman, many banks planned to delay making adjustments to mortgage payers’ escrow accounts until November, which would have forced property owners to make double escrow payments.
He reached out to the NJ Bankers Association and had some discussions. On Wednesday, he said that the association will ask its members to step up and provide relief to homeowners.
“We avoided having to do anything with legislation because of a good partnership,” Freiman said. “That’s the way I’d like us to operate - how do we create a win-win scenario and try to force action in the best possible way.”
Zwicker and Freiman encourage residents to reach out with problems.
They can be reached online at firstname.lastname@example.org or mailto:email@example.com.