PLAINFIELD, NJ - Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-22) has died at age 79, according to an email to TAPinto Plainfield from Councilwoman-at-Large Rebecca Williams. (Williams also shared the information on her Facebook page.)
On Jan. 24, Green 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 District 22.
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.
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.
"Politics is Business"
In 2015, Green granted TAPintoSPF an exclusive interview that covered his long career in politics. The veteran assemblyman grew up in Roselle and was a star basketball player in high school. He attended Montclair State University and originally wanted to be a teacher but found out that he could earn more money in business. He began working as a butcher in a supermarket because it was the position that paid the highest amount. Green was opening stores by age 27 and went to management classes where he learned how to interact with people.
"I learned people skills: how to listen and how to communicate... The voter is a customer of mine that I have to satisfy if I want to stay in this business." - Jerry Green.
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."