PLAINFIELD, NJ - Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-22) has died at age 79, according to a statement issued by Union County Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados on behalf of the Freeholder board and the Union County Government.
"Jerry Green was an innovator, a trailblazer and the most influential African American leader ever to come from Union County. As a former Freeholder in the '80s and early '90s, and as an Assemblyman in the 22 district for the past 26 years, his efforts helped fuel Union County 's amazing economic growth and success, including the ongoing renaissance of his hometown of Plainfield," said Granados. "As a mentor to myself and so many other elected officials in Union County, Jerry set the example on how to live a life in politics and government with dignity, humility, and grace."
On Jan. 24, Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-22) resigned as Chairman of the Union County Democratic Committee "to focus his energy on recovering from an illness." At the time, the press release attributed to the veteran politician from Plainfield said that he planned to continue representing the 22 District.
Green's resignation led to a contested election between State Senator Nick Scutari and Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr for control of the County's Democratic organization.
Many statements have been released around Union County and the state recognizing Green for his work and contributions. “Jerry Green’s legacy will be defined by his public service, his dedication to advancing our Party’s values and, most importantly, his love for his family. I worked with Jerry for many years and I always came away impressed by his determined efforts as our Chairman and his attention to detail as a legislator.," said Senator Joe Cryan. "Jerry Green was a champion of civil rights and was on the frontline 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. My family and I would like to extend our prayers and best wishes to the Green family in this difficult time. Jerry was a Union County institution, and he will be missed.”
Reelected to his Assembly seat last November, Green had not been seen in public for many months. He was not sworn in his new term and had not participated in any legislative voting sessions or committee meetings this year.
Green served on the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders from 1989-91 and was the Board's Chair in 1990. He also served on the County Planning Board, the Parks & Recreation Committee, Human Services and Economic Development Committees, the Private Industry Council, and the Municipal Utilities Authority. Elected to the New Jersey General Assembly in 1992, Green was the governing body's longest-serving Assemblyman.
Green was a vocal proponent of affordable housing and a supporter of COAH mandates.
"Policies for housing are not moving in the right direction under this governor. Affordable housing must follow Council of Affordable Housing (COAH) guidelines so that no one feels that we are forcing housing in a community," Green explained in his 2015 TAPintoSPF interview. "Affordable housing does not mean just people in need, but families with children and public servants, such as teachers and police officers, who cannot afford to live in the communities they serve. People deserve decent homes that are secure, comfortable and safe."